One of Calgary's main attractions is that you can have the city nightlife and also take advantage of the chance of a lifetime to visit the Canadian Rocky Mountains. These mountains are actually visible from the city, complete with snow-capped peaks when we were there. In only a little over an hour, you can be in one of Canada's 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the combination of National Parks in Alberta and British Columbia that you will first enter via Banff National Park.
Take it from me, I've been around the world and seen a lot of sights - this one should not be missed! For the sake of a few dollars, it is a memory that you will always carry with you!
This is Cougar Creek trail in Canmore. The "Three Sisters" peaks can be seen in the back ground. Canmore is a great place for nature lovers and mountain bikers, with many trails in the area. I also highly recommend the Cougar Creek Cafe for a Latte or something healthy to eat. It's a neughborhood cafe with spectacular mountain views. There are other great pubs and restaurants downtown Canmore and a Nordic Centre for cross country sking, mountain biking. Also a great location for dog sledding in the winter.
It is well worth your time to head out to the mountains! What ever the season, there is much beauty to see and adventure to be had!
In the summer, my highlights are camping at Two Jack Lake and mountain hiking in Kanaskis. Johnson's Canyon (west of Banff) is a very scenic walk for those not interested in a big hike. Mt. Indefatigable in Upper Kananaskis provides one with exhilerating views and great excersize!
In winter, of course there is great skiing! My favourite slopes are at Lake Louise. Approximately 40 minutes from Banff. There are also a few trails for a pleasant scenic walk. My favourite is just outside of Canmore ( approx. 15 minutes east of Banff) by the Marriott Residence Hotel - a nice, but pricey place to stay. Check out the Crazy Weed Kitchen in Canmore for lunch! They make great soups and unique sandwiches.
There is so much to see and do in the Kananaskis, Banff, Lake Louise & Jasper areas. You can easily make it out for a day trip from Calgary, but if you have the opportunity to stay longer, it really is worth it!!
Here are some activities to consider:
Soaking in the Hot Springs
White water rafting
Horse back riding
Shopping in Banff
Checking out some history at Banff Springs Hotel & Lake Louise Chateau
Banff National Park
Canada's first national park where you inhabit the same territory as grizzly and black bears, wolves, elk, deer, moose, and mountain goats. The Rocky Mountains create a magnificent backdrop when visiting.
Banff is a wonderful national park and is truly a Canadian treasure. No matter what the season, the park offers amazing scenery. Banff townsite can get awfully crowded, especially in the summer time. Its shopping and restaurants attract tourists from near and far. Hotel prices double and triple in the summer season - camping is an option, but reservations are rare so you take your chances. There is a lot of hiking to do in the summer and skiing to do in the winter. Both are fantastic.
Ok just like SUPER COOL!!
A must if you are travelling between Banff and Jasper - you can't miss it. It is a gigantic slab of ice that stays frozen all year round (ok not the most scientific description...check out the website listed below for that). My Japanese friends have marvelled at the glacier and loved the Sno-Coach tours.
Calgary is next to (well 1 1/4 hours away from) Banff National Park. The scenery in Canada's mountain parks is outstanding, as can be verified by visiting VT member's Banff pages.
This picture is of Crowfoot Glacier on the way from Lake Louise up to Peyto Lake. The crow's foot used to have three toes, but the bottom one melted, so he's limping on two now.
Calgary is approx 40 minutes from some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Kananaskis Provincial Park ( 40 min), Banff National Park (60 min), Yoho National Park (2 hours) and Kootenay National Park (2 hours) are all easily accessible from Calgary. Even if you have only a couple of hours, you can still drive out into the mountains and breathe in the fresh air and take in the scenery.
Wapiti's in Jasper. I leave now the Calgary page and go to the Edmonton page. So i do the rest of the pictures of the Rocky Mountains on my.
It is great to be with a motorhome in the Rocky Mountains. There are very good campgrounds with a lot of space.
If you fly to Calgary for business, try to get in a day early or stay a day later, and give yourself enough time to take the 90 minute drive into Banff in the mountains West of the city of Calgary. Banff is a quant little town surrounded by majestic mountains and great views everywhere. There are a number of lodges and hotels in the mountains that could make for a relxing night away from the bustling cities or madness of the metropolitan.
In Banff you can do lots of things from skiing in the winter to hiking in the summer.
The hot springs can sooth your tired bones in the evening.
Then on to Pubs or the night life of your choice.
If you like camping, you should try visiting Banff National Park. It's located in the Rockies of Alberta. If the weather is brisk, camping should be fun and not hot and sweaty like all my other camping experiences. When I went, a few of my friends and I went white water rafting and that was alot of fun even though the water was really cold.
The area is very peaceful. Canada still has most of it's natural beauty that hasn't been destroyed by man.
Getting out to the Rockies and seeing the mountains. I really enjoyed taking the Gondola ride to the top of a mountain just above Banff. Breathtaking view.
Still a bit of a climb to get to the summit but it makes it all the more sweet.
Get out of the city and see the Rockies!!! I do not want to take anything away from Calgary, it is a nice (looks brandnew to me...) and very friendly city, but hey... with the Rocky Mountains (and Kananaskis Country, Canmore, Banff Ntl Pk, Lake Louise etc.) next door, why would you want to stick around Calgary during a beautiful, sunny day?
You can always do that on a poor day! Unless you have lots of time to spend...
I am an outdoors person, and i love HIKING! (even got officially certified...hehe) The canadian rockies are just perfect for hiking, plus you get rewarded with amazing views from points that cannot be reached other than by foot!!! Of course, if time is short, there is still so much to see, that you can do a scenic drive to all the places! But I wouldn´t recommend just going for 'a weekend' or so... you will regret it! Take 2 weeks minimum or 3... better are 4 or more... or stay forever (wish I could... ;-) )
For impressions (pictures), view my travelogues...