While we’re sticking close to home for the time-being, if spring has you planning ahead for your next visit to Calgary, be sure to leave time to indulge in a few daytrips.
Tourism Calgary notes that the city is well known as the “Basecamp to Adventure,” and with the mountains to the west and the Badlands to the south, it’s easy to see why. In fact, no matter which direction you turn, you’re likely to find a destination or activity to pique your passion for adventure!
North – Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site. From Calgary, head north towards Sylvan Lake – perhaps stopping for a picnic lunch and a dip – before heading west on Highway 11 to the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site.
Located on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, the historic site offers a glimpse into the history of Indigenous Peoples, explorers and fur trade posts. Stroll the archaeological remains of the four forts, get hands-on experience with Métis skills and lock eyes with a bison, all amid the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain foothills.
To get there: Calgary to Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, about 2 1/2 hours north along AB-2N and AB-11 W.
East – Drumheller and the Canadian Badlands. Welcome to the Badlands! Just 90 minutes’ drive east, the Canadian Badlands were once home to dinosaurs big and small. Discover their legacy today at the renowned Royal Tyrell Museum set amid distinctive geographical formations called hoodoos and natural beauty. (You can even get inspired for a future visit with RTMP at Home activities!). This vast area is also home to some of the largest dark sky preserves, letting you see millions of stars and the chance of Northern Lights.
To get there: Calgary to Drumheller, about 90 minutes, heading north on Highway 2, before connecting to AB-9 east via AB-567.
South – The Cowboy Trail. Heading south from Calgary, Highway 22 winds through incredible ranchland, where you can spend a few days working on a ranch, explore on horseback, and enjoy the warm hospitality of the region’s small ranching towns. And while a cowboy hat and boots aren’t mandatory, they will help you feel right at home!
To get there: Taking Highway 1A West from Calgary, connect with AB-22 South at Cochrane.
West – to the Rockies. With the Rocky Mountains just 40 minutes west of the city, and Kananaskis Country, Banff and Lake Louise all within a few hours’ drive, a little mountain magic is a must for your Calgary visit. Stop first in Banff for a ride up the gondola before overnighting in one of Canada’s prettiest mountain towns – don’t miss a mountain photo down Banff Avenue. If you can stretch your daytrip overnight, head north to Lake Louise and take in a picturesque hike to the seasonal Lake Agnes tea house, originally built in 1901 by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a refuge for hikers.
To get there: Calgary to Banff, about 90 minutes west along the Trans Canada (Highway 1); Banff to lake Louise, about 45 minutes north along Highway 1.
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