Day Trips are one of those ways that you can get out and experience summer, without actually having to leave for an entire weekend, footing the cost of a hotel bill and more. Packing snacks and getting in the car to explore can sometimes be cheaper than spending the day in-town. Here are some of our favorite ideas to road trip from Calgary.
Hike at Grassi Lakes
How Far: 109 km
The perfect family hike! The trail winds past a waterfall where it eventually leads you to two majestic turquoise lakes. You can’t miss the panoramic views of Canmore that surround you every step of the hike. The trail has two routes. The easy route takes you up a gravel access road with a gentle rising slope to the lake. The difficult route takes you through the wooded trail out to the Grassi Lakes Waterfall before a steep ascent to the lake. The easy route is stroller friendly.
Explore the Natural Preserve at Dinosaur Provincial Park
How Far: 218 km
Bus tours of Dinosaur Provincial Park Natural Preserve are relatively inexpensive (think $40 for the entire family) and are a two hour excursion back in time. Best for kids 4+ (we brought our mature three year old) there’s a great combination of on the bus, off the bus time, and a chance to explore and touch fossils, seeing them in the natural found areas.
Tube Down Discovery Canyon
How far: 157 km
This seasonal water park is located along the Red Deer River 3.5 km north of 30 Avenue from 67 Street, within the Waskasoo Park system. Bring your own tube to avoid the rental fee + deposit, and pack a lunch to enjoy the shallow pond and tubing course that’s perfect for kids 4+ to go it alone.
Throw Rocks in Troll Falls
How Far: 99 km
Pictured above, Troll Falls, Kananaskis is a 1.7 mile loop trail located near Alberta, Alberta that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and is accessible from March until November. Great for kids!
Wade in Cat Creek Falls
How Far: 132 km
This is an easy hike – signs describe the natural history of the area; trail ends at a beautiful 6-metre waterfall. At the end, the kids can wade in the bottom. Bring along a picnic (make sure to bring it home with you) and enjoy the bounty of finishing the hike. It’s a great way to cool off, and a kid-friendly first hike and adventure.
Walk under a Mountain at Johnston Canyon
How Far: 167 km
The trail to the waterfalls of Johnston Canyon has to be the busiest in the Canadian Rockies. Nearly every day throughout the summer, hundreds of hikers follow its canyon-clinging catwalks and cliff-mounting staircases to the gorge’s Lower and Upper Falls. While the canyon and its unique trail are certainly worthy of a visit, you’ll have to do the hike in the evening or very early in the morning to avoid the hordes of people. The lower canyon can be easily completed with toddlers, but isn’t stroller friendly.
See 54 Stuffed Gophers in Torrington
How Far:118 km
A trip to the museum only cost two dollars and it involves some 54 stuffed gophers captured forever on display in different tableaus. Some of the scenes depict the gophers as townsfolk attending church, casting their lines at the fishing hole and checking into a hotel. Be sure to visit Clem T. Gofur, the mascot of the town of 192.
Explore an Abandoned War Bunker at Heart Creek
How Far: 88 km
From the parking lot of the Heart Creek day use area take the path leading west. It’s washed out a short way down the trail so make your way around it and carry on until you come to a marker post for the Trans Canada Trail. Take a left here and continue until you come to an intersection and another TCT marker, take the left path here as well. The trail gradually switchbacks from here to the entrance of the bunker. Bring a decent flashlight if you plan on exploring.
Johnson Lake Trail and Rope Swing
How Far: 65 km
Spend the day hiking the Johnson Lake trail, at only 3 km, it’s a kid-friendly length. After the hike, you can cool off and picnic at Johnson Lake and find the rope swing that big kids (or brave little ones) will thoroughly enjoy. It’s a fun way to cool off, after you’ve explored the area. When you’re finished, head into town for some ice cream before you head back home.
Swim in a Quarry in Canmore
How Far: 104 km
Quarry Lake in Canmore is one of those gems that are worth the hour-long drive outside of the city. Pack a cooler with lunch and spend the day at one of the best beaches an hour away from Calgary can get you. Stop for snacks on the way
photo credit www.dgrin.com