When it comes to ideas and activities to do while exploring our backyard – it can be difficult to narrow it down – too much to do and too little time! With this in mind, for this post we’ve instead tried to share some of our favourite spots that can be often overlooked in several different parts of western Alberta.
- Take in Calgary’s downtown river valley, Fish Creek Provincial Park or Nose Hill Park. To finish things off take a moment to stop in at one of the many craft breweries, cafes or restaurants that Calgary has to offer such as Cold Garden. We especially enjoy that this particular brewery allows you to order food delivered to their location and provides a relaxed environment to try some of their different brews in the company of friends, on your own or even with your well behaved pup!
- Feed your inner foodie by checking out one of the sweet farmer’s markets (ie. Calgary Farmers’ Market) and stock up on some locally grown/produced groceries for your road trip.
- Travel south of Calgary and check out one of the Provincial Parks such as Sheep River or Castle Provincial Park. If you’re passing by Black Diamond it could be just the thing to stop in at the Westwood Restaurant for some yummy food or doughnuts and take a stroll through town.
- Head west of Calgary to Kananaskis and do one of the numerous hikes in this area (Wasootch Ridge is one of our favourites). Also located along Highway 40 is the Kananaskis River which facilitates different water sports like river surfing and kayaking. If you park at the Barrier Lake Visitor Information Centre you can walk one of the rough trails down to the river to take in the gorgeous views and river activities.
Between Calgary and Edmonton
- Visit Abraham Lake and area for some random camping, hiking, or paddling. We love this part of the world and it is extra awesome as its easily accessed from the Icefields Parkway, Edmonton or Calgary and tends to be quieter if you’re needing a break from the hustle of Banff and Jasper in the High Season. Some of the hikes we would recommend would be Kinglet Lake (difficult), Siffleur Falls (easy) and Crescent Falls (easy).
- Stop in at Drumheller or the Dinosaur Provincial Park. They put a whole different twist on beauty and if you enjoy hikes, dinosaurs and fossils – they’ve got you covered!
- Visit Elk Island Park for a chance to view some wildlife, take a paddle or enjoy some big prairie skies. This is also a great location for stargazing and watching for Northern Lights.
- Consider making a stop in the Alberta Capital – Edmonton – with your compact campervan. There are a number of campsites inside and on the outskirts of the city. While here check out a yummy brunch spot like Under the Highwheel in Edmonton and then walk it off on one of the gorgeous river valley or ravine walks. If the weather is poor you can take a walk through the Muttart Conservatory or go for a surf at with the Surf Club at West Edmonton Mall. This city is actually the birth place of North Campervans and both owners have a lot of love for it and what it has to offer.
- Visit Miette Hot Springs and hike the Sulphur Skyline Trail as a pre-soak workout. This is one of our favourite hikes where you get massive views for a bit of huff and then can finish it off with a nice soak. Also worth keeping in mind is the access to showers if the campervan road trip has had you a day or two without J The road into Miette closes for the season around Thanksgiving so be sure to check its status if you’re travelling in October.
- Jasper National Park is the world’s second largest accessible Dark Sky Preserve. Stargazing (year around) and watching for the Northern Lights (September-April) can be done pretty much anywhere outside of the town of Jasper. Just whip up some hot chocolate, grab your blanket and camp chairs and you’re set! If you’re needing some ideas on where to go you can try the beach at Lake Annette, the bridge to Pyramid Island, or if you’re willing to drive a bit farther – Maligne Lake. In October you can also check out the Dark Sky Festival which has all sorts of events and activities ranging from photography classes to Symphony Under the Stars.