BEST HIKES AROUND CALGARY, ALBERTA
Choosing the best hikes around Calgary isn’t easy. Whether you’re new to hiking or have hiked before, there is something in the area that will suit your needs. There are plenty of day hikes around Calgary that range from an easy 1 kilometre walk to a more challenging 10-kilometre hike. The best part is that all of these hikes have something unique and interesting to offer, whether it’s a beautiful view at the top or a peaceful forest filled with wildlife.
Elbow Falls and Ridge is located near Kananaskis Improvement, Alberta. This is a great hike for those just getting into hiking, as the entire trail is under 3 kilometres round trip. The best part about this hike though is that it includes a beautiful view of the Elbow River and an up-close view of the falls. It is best to go in the spring when the falls are at their fullest.
Next on our list of best hikes around Calgary is Prairie Mountain. This hike is best for the summer and early fall months, as it gets quite cold and snowy during winter. At just under 7 kilometres round trip, this hike offers a lot of beautiful views from the top. It has a fairly steep initial climb but it’s worth the workout when you reach the summit to see the 360-degree panorama. Hikers get to enjoy traversing through lush forest and alongside a river on their hike up Prairie Mountain.
This hike is unique in that it includes an opportunity to get tea and scones at the end of the hike. Accessible to hikers of all abilities, the best part is the hike isn’t very long. It is a 3.6-kilometre hike to the teahouse and although it’s best to do in the summer months, the best views are seen in autumn. Hikers get to see Mirror Lake and a waterfall jetting out of Lake Agnes on the way to the teahouse. The combination of scenery with the tea makes this one of the best hikes around Calgary.
The Larch Valley and Sentenial Pass hike is a great way to escape the city and enjoy nature all at once. Hikers get to climb above Moraine Lake and enter a breathtaking Larch forest, giving them the opportunity to see all kinds of wildlife. With views overlooking Larch Valley and Paradise Valley, this hike makes for amazing scenery. This is more difficult and is over 11 kilometres in total, but it is rewarding for those that are looking for a longer hike.
This is one of the most popular hikes in Kananaskis Country. It is a very strenuous hike, but the view from the top of the three lakes makes it all worthwhile. The length of the hike is nearly 19 kilometres in total, so you’ll definitely get a workout at the end of it. Luckily, the lakes are great for swimming in during the warmer months. There is also the option to do some backcountry camping on this hike.
Another best hike around Calgary that offers a lot of different things is the Johnston Canyon trail. This waterfall-filled hike provides a variety of scenery from crossing bridges and passing through tunnels, to seeing other smaller falls along the way to the main fall at the end. The best time to do this hike is in early summer when there’s still some snowmelt to see the falls at their best. This hike is best done in the daytime to avoid having to use a headlamp, but it can also be done as an overnight trip if you’re willing to stay until dawn for the best viewing.
This moderate hike is a great one to do in the summer months. The trail takes hikers along Chester Lake and offers beautiful views of it as well as the surrounding mountains. This hike is best done in the late afternoon to take advantage of the sun reflecting off of the lake and surrounding mountains. After reaching the lake, hikers can go for a swim in it before heading back.
Another one of the best hikes around Calgary is the Lusk Pass Trail. Located in Bow Valley Provincial Park, it features a lot of opportunities for wildlife spotting and beautiful views. At 7.9 kilometres in length, it is a moderate hike that can be completed in an afternoon. This trail is accessible year-round but is best in the summer
One of the lengthier trails on our list of best hikes around Calgary is Plain of Six Glacier. It’s known as one of the most notable hikes in Banff National Park. There are various paths to choose from, but all allow for amazing views of multiple iconic mountains. Summer is the best time to head out for this hike so that you can avoid excess snowfall.
Little Lougheed is another great place to explore outside the city. From tiny waterfalls to boulder fields, this best hike around Calgary is sure to satisfy any outdoor enthusiast. Like other hikes on our list, you’ll have to drive a bit out from the city to access this trail. It’s located in Kananaskis Country and is just under two hours away from Calgary.
Grotto Canyon is a nice short hike for beginners, but it’s still an excellent way to experience nature without having to travel too far from Calgary. It’s just over an hour away, making it the perfect day trip for beginners looking for a chance to get outside. There are multiple trails in Grotto Canyon so be sure to reference a map before taking on this best hike around Calgary.
If you’re into hiking, you’ll love living in Calgary. There are so many places to explore here, and you can see some of the most beautiful natural sceneries in Alberta. When going on a hike remember to take a map, some food and water, a few layers of clothing that can be easily added or removed, and sturdy boots for extra traction. Whether you’re hiking the trails close to Calgary or visiting a national park, you’re sure to have a great time.