Having talked about day trips to the south and the west of Calgary earlier in the summer, today we'll touch on some places to the west.
It goes without saying that a drive to the mountains makes for a great day trip. Banff National Park, with the townsites of Banff and beautiful Lake Louise, are only a few hours away. This coming Sunday, August 19th, Doors Open Banff offers an opportunity to look inside some heritage homes and buildings.
Of course, there are a host of good hikes in the park. Going up to the tea house at Lake Louise is a perennial favorite. One of my personal favorites is the walk up Johnston Canyon, though I have never gone as far as the Inkpots.
Banff from Sulphur Mountain
Be sure not to bypass Canmore, an interesting destination with lots to see and do any time of year. Below, several of our staff members share hikes starting near Canmore that they have enjoyed.
1. Somewhere I love going for a day trip is the Canmore Nordic Centre. They have a number of paved paths as well as some gravel and dirt paths. During the summer it is completely free (and dog friendly) and is really good for rollerblading, bike riding and walking. I am often up there training for Biathlon and it is a very popular spot for bikers. It is nice because it is only about an hour drive from NW Calgary and is beautiful! Also, you don’t have to pay the Banff park pass and you still get to be in the mountains!
Thought I would share my favorite place!
2. My vote for my favourite place to visit is a day trip to Grassi Lakes which is up behind the town of Canmore on the road leading to the Nordic Centre. The hike is doable for a wide range of ages and abilities and offers more reward:effort than just about any hike I know locally. It features scenic outlooks including a cascading waterfall, 2 very showy species of orchids (Calypso and Ladyslipper) and the most beautifully coloured ponds (2) at the top. Of further interest are some petroglyphs reportedly `1,000 years old, up above the higher of the two lakes. You can also take in Canmore which is a bit touristy but still features some good eating/coffee stops. Best of all, it’s only an hour from downtown Calgary!
Going a little further afield, Carole shares a favorite destination.
3. Marble Canyon is about 6 kms into BC, if you take the Hwy 1/93 turnoff heading towards Radium. It only takes about 30 minutes to reach the summit and is breathtaking. An easy climb for most people, including children and seniors. The trail is an interpretive one. There’s a picnic site and washrooms at the base, so it’s a lovely destination for a picnic followed by a brief excursion. One of my favourite places for visitors who are of varying ages and have limited energy.
To find more about the history along the highway between Calgary and Lake Louise, check out Kathryn Manry's West on one : the stories behind the scenery : fascinating facts, stories and pictures along the Trans-Canada Highway from Calgary to Lake Louise.
Find out more about visiting and hiking in the Rockies through these great guidebooks;