The Best Summer Tourist Destinations Near Calgary

Monday, July 13, 2015

climbing hiking

Southern Alberta is one of Canada's most popular tourist destinations. With the Rocky Mountains rising majestically from the west, a multitude of crystal-clear lakes and rivers, and historical sites that harken back to the wild west, it’s no surprise that tourists from around the world flock to this recreational paradise.

Here is a collection of must-do activities in and around the Rockies to complete your adventure:


Kananaskis Country - Featuring more than ten provincial parks with popular hiking trails, several mountain peaks to climb, and clear waters that are perfect for sailing and rowing, this is a wilderness wonderland in the Canadian Rockies.

  • Grassi Lakes Trail in the Canmore area is a great hike for the whole family. Two trails wind their way across the terrain to a picturesque waterfall, and surround you by views of Canmore that you must see to believe.
  • Rat's Nest Cave at Canmore Caverns is one of the wildest adventures in the area. Left completely unaltered by human hands, this natural formation offers a unique look into the world below our feet. With a variety of tours tailored to suit every level of explorer, this is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Banff National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Alberta. The town of Banff is home to the historic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, numerous restaurants and shops, and world-class golf courses.

  • Take the gondola to the peak of Sulphur Mountain and experience the mountains like never before. From 7,486 feet up, you will have an unforgettable view of all the natural beauty this park has to offer.
  • Come sit and relax in the world famous Banff Hot Springs as the warm mineral waters envelope and rejuvenate your tired limbs and re-energize your body.
  • Walk along Johnson Canyon and enjoy the sights and sounds of its breathtaking waterfalls. Follow the trail up to the Ink Pots where you will see some of the most unique waters in the park.
  • Lake Louise is famous for the glacial lake after which it is named. The summer gondola allows tourists some of the best grizzly bear viewings in the Banff National Park and the crystal blue lake is surrounded by trails ideal for hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers.

Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Rocky Mountains, offering spectacular glacier views and an ideal environment for deer, elk, moose, wolves, and bear sightings.

  • The Icefields Parkway is the northern link between Lake Louise and Jasper. Along the way, there are multiple glaciers and waterfalls to watch for, as well as a number of lookout points where you can relax and take in the spectacular views at your own pace.
  • Get your adrenaline flowing on the Glacier Skywalk. The walkway is suspended 918 feet in the air where it provides visitors with a unique look into our planet’s past and an ecosystem that is in constant evolution right before your eyes.
  • Take a breathtaking journey on the Jasper Skytram where you will get a view of the Rockies that you thought only existed on postcards. With experienced flight attendants to guide you through the sights, you won’t miss a single thing.

Waterton Lakes National Park is known for its beautiful lakes and canyons. Its unhurried pace and serene setting make Waterton Lakes the perfect place to get away from it all.

  • Cross international waters on the M.V. International from Upper Waterton Lake across to Goat Haunt, Montana and back during this two-hour scenic tour.
  • Red Rock Canyon is one of Waterton’s most striking and unique rock formations. Surround yourself in layers of red and green bedrock as you take the short hike around the canyon and along the river.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump – Located near Fort Macleod, this is one of the most well-preserved buffalo jumps in the world and an important part of Canadian heritage. Take a walk through the past, and peek over the cliff side used as one of the most effective hunting tools by the native people. By leading herds of bison over the edge, they were able to feed and clothe their people for almost 6,000 years.

Bar-U-Ranch is a 35-building heritage site dedicated to the importance of ranching in Western Canada. Located south of Calgary, this living history display spans 100 years, from its very foundation in 1882 to the modernisation that we know today. With daily tours and special events, there is no better way to discover the true heart and soul of Alberta.

Frank Slide - The deadliest rockslide in Canada took place in 1903 when 82 million tonnes of limestone fell from the summit of Turtle Mountain and buried the sleeping community of Frank. Overlooking the famous Crowsnest Pass, the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre lets you feel the impact of this devastating event, hear the tales of tragedy and triumph, discover why Turtle Mountain crumbled, and whether or not it could happen again.

With so much to see and experience, and the summer stretching before you, start planning your Alberta road trip today!

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