This park is part of Kananaskis, but sometimes gets looked over for the beautiful scenery south to it. The most striking thing about the park is the fortress-like Mt. Yamnuska (as it is commonly known as; it's proper name is Mt. Laurie), which you can see to your right if going west on the Trans-Canada.
When heading west on the Trans-Canada,
the exit will be on your right, right after the Kananaskis turn-off.
Fondest memory: There is a campsite there, and pleasant picnic areas near the Bow River, with paths to stroll down. If you go in early July, look for the various wildflowers -- especially beautiful orange wood lillies. DO NOT PICK THEM -- This will kill the bulb, and destroy the plant. Leave them for others to enjoy.
If you don't have that much time to spend in Kananaskis, at least take a drive down Highway 40, which is one of the main access roads. It starts at the Trans-Canada, then makes it's way south to Highwood House, then east to Longview.
You can drive a loop starting at the Trans-Canada, southeast to Longview, then north again, going through the historic communities of Black Diamond, Turner Valley, Millarville, and Bragg Creek. Stop for an ice cream at the Millarville General Store (est. 1892), and sit on their front porch for a while before heading back to Calgary on scenic Highway 762. This highway winds through forested hills and ranchland with gorgeous views of the foothills and mountains.
Fondest memory: As you drive south, you will come to a high point on the highway, near the Galatea hiking trail. Pull over the first opportunity you get and take in the breathtaking view.
This is a favorite destination for picnickers and families -- it's a scenic area with various waterfalls and whirlpools (young children must be supervised). There is a paved walking path for strolling with interpretive signs explaining the formation of the falls.
Go south on Highway 1, then turn off on Highway 22. Follow the highway through to Bragg Creek and then turn off on Highway 66. Drive down Highway 66 until you see the sign for the Elbow Falls parking lot.
Favorite thing: Overall the Kananaskis experience may not equal the grandeur of its northern neighbors Banff and Jasper National Parks, but in certain places it is hard to think of a landscape that surpasses the view in front (or behind) you. At this spot along highway 40 I happened to look in the rearview mirror and concluded that I had to pulloff the road to get a photo of the triangular stratifications of the mountain immediately behind me.
Favorite thing: The Kananaskis Trail (Highway 40) cuts through the Kananaskis Valley and climbs to the top of Highwood Pass, the highest paved road in Canada. Along the way there are fantastic views of the Kananaskis Range, the Fisher Range and the Opal Range. A stop at the Kananaskis Lakes and a walk to the shore is almost obligatory.
Kananaskis Country is a multiple use area located 90 kilometres west of Calgary, Alberta. It includes over 4,000 square kilometres of spectacular mountain and foothill terrain and offers you year-around recreational opportunities.
Fondest memory: Visitor centres located throughout the area can provide you with a variety of brochures, area maps and other information.
Drive Highway 40 through the entire park, you will be blown away by the views. Just like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the pictures show here just won't do Kananaskis justice.
Fondest memory: Barking at a cow and having it look right into the vehicle so that we coud get an awesome picture.