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Exciting Escapades 16 Best Day Trips from Calgary

Exciting Escapades: 16 Best Day Trips from Calgary

Here for another exciting adventure? Brace yourself because we’re about to venture beyond the confines of Calgary for this one! 

We’ll dive headfirst into Banff, a paradise of a town so enthralling it might even keep you captive. Then we’ll stop over at the Dinosaur Provincial Park where you’ll feel like a character straight out of an Indiana Jones movie.

And if that’s not enough to tickle your fancy, we’ll also stop by the Cowboy Trail to embrace our inner Clint Eastwood and have a taste of the Wild West!

And the best part about these destinations? They’re just a day trip away from our city! 

1. Banff

Distance from Calgary: 1 hour and 20 minutes, 126 km/78 mi 

Banff is home to dreamy landscapes known to attract 4.13 million people annually, according to Statista

Here, you can indulge in the town’s generous viewpoints of the Rocky Mountains as well as its surrounding lakes. Other popular things to do here are riding the Banff Gondola, checking out the Bow Falls, trying out the Banff Upper Hot Springs, and taking photos on the Vermillion Lakes.

Don’t miss out on Lake Louise too, which is a majestic blue green lake known for its captivating beauty.  

This lovely town is just a quick day trip from Calgary. However, we highly recommend staying here for a few days if possible because there’s simply too many things to explore. 

2. Canmore

Distance from Calgary: 1 hour and 10 minutes, 104.3km/64 mi

Another place that’s extremely easy to go to from Calgary is Canmore. It’s a small town with only 14,530 residents in 2022 according to Alberta Regional Dashboard

Though small, this place is mighty when it comes to outdoor activities. In fact, it’s a popular destination among outdoor enthusiasts who are particularly fond of ice climbing, cross country skiing, mountain biking, and boating. 

It’s also a famous tourist destination because of its beautiful nature views. Actually, Canmore is home to the Three Sisters (trio mountain peaks) and Ha Ling Peak!

Plenty of visitors also go here to join Canmore cave tours, which we ourselves enjoyed. Without spoiling the experience, we got the chance to explore the part of Grotto Mountain people usually don’t see. 

Book a tour here if this interests you! 

3. Cochrane 

Distance from Calgary: 29 minutes, 34 km/21 mi

Cochrane is a popular destination among Calgarians looking to go out of the city and explore. This is because Cochrane is extremely close to Calgary. 

It’s considered one of Alberta’s largest towns, which means there’s plenty of things to do here. A few examples of popular attractions in Cochrane are the Riverfront Park, Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, Art Evolution Gallery, and more. 

By the way, there are also plenty of bike trails in the area, so feel free to bring your bicycle with you when you go to Cochrane. Otherwise, you can always rent a bike while you’re here. 

Our favorite bike rental shops are Big Hill Cycle and Bike Bros

4. Dinosaur Provincial Park 

Distance from Calgary: 2 hours and 27 minutes, 221.5 km/137.63372 mi
Contact number: +14033784342

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dinosaur Provincial Park is the perfect destination for anyone who wants a taste of the geological wonders of Alberta. 

As you would expect, it got its name from its collection of dinosaur fossil beds, which are free for anyone to see. The fossils found here have been recognized to be from about 65 million years ago (and possibly even up to a 100 million) and from different dinosaur species. 

Aside from these interesting findings, other people also visit the park for its walking trails, picnic area, and camping grounds. 

By the way, this place is pretty dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your fur babies here! 

5. Columbia Icefield Skywalk 

Address: Highway 93, Icefields Pkwy, Improvement District No. 12, AB T1L 1J3, Canada
Contact number: +1 866-606-6700
Distance from Calgary: 3 hours and 23 minutes, 315 km/196 mi

The Columbia Icefield Skywalk is a walkway made of glass that stretches up to 1km. It offers exciting views of the dreamlike glaciers from 910 ft/280 m high. 

Even though it sounds exciting, people afraid of heights might want to skip this one. However, if they can conquer their fears, it’s sure to be a rewarding once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

6. Waterton Lakes National Park 

Address: Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0, Canada
Contact number: +1 403-859-5133
Distance from Calgary: 2 hours and 36 minutes, 259 km/161 mi

Waterton Lakes National Park is known for its natural beauty – cascading waterfalls, striking clear lakes, and mountain sights. 

A lot of Calgarians who visit this area usually indulge in outdoor activities including bird watching, fishing, climbing, hiking, stargazing, and more. 

Places like the Cameron Lake and Red Rock Canyon are also popular, especially during summer, late spring, and early fall. If you want to avoid crowds, it’s best to avoid those periods.

7. Yoho National Park 

Distance from Calgary: 2 hours, 192 km/119 mi

Yoho, which means awe and wonder in Creek, is a fitting name for this Alberta gem. Located in the Rocky Mountains, Yoho National Park is a hunting ground to those looking for endless exploration opportunities. 

It’s well-known for its beautiful waterfall views in Takakkaw Falls, Wapta Falls, and Kicking Horse River. Additionally, the Emerald Lake and Paget Peak are also worth visiting. 

Needless to say, this national park is perfect for sightseeing activities if you’re also interested in doing other outdoor activities such as hiking and a bit of mountain climbing. 

While you’re here, we also suggest trying out the famous dining spot – Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lodge. You won’t regret ordering their bulgogi pork belly nachos and mussels maras

8. Lundbreck Falls 

Address: Range Rd 24B, Lundbreck, AB T0K 1H0, Canada
Distance from Calgary: 1 hour and 58 minutes, 200 km/ 124 mi

Located in the Crowsnest River, Lundbreck Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Alberta. It has a majestic drop of 39 ft/12 m, which proves to be a jaw dropping sight. 

To appreciate this magnificent view, people can check out the observation platform to see the falls in its full glory. You heard that right – there’s no need to hike, which also might be one of the many reasons why it’s popular. 

However, if a hiking adventure is what you’re looking for, don’t be so quick to scroll away. There are also plenty of hiking trails in the area that offer great opportunities to view the falls. 

Additionally, a lot of people go camping here at a spot that offers generous viewpoints of Lundbreck Falls. If this is something you’d like to do too, you can head over to the Alberta Park’s website to book a spot. 

9. Kananaskis

Distance from Calgary: 1 hour and 2 minutes, 81.5 km/50.6 mi

Kananaskis is another popular destination just a little outside Calgary. However, since there are plenty of other popular towns nearby like Banff, Kananaskis is often forgotten. With this article, we hope to change that!

Anyway, the popular activities here vary depending on the season. For example, during the winter, this place attracts a lot of people for their ice fishing, ice skating, fat biking, ice climbing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skijoring opportunities. 

Meanwhile, during the summer, a lot of people visit here to go kayaking, biking, fishing, golfing, hunting, hiking, and more. 

If you want to relax, make sure to visit the Kananaskis Nordic Spa, which offers some nice facilities like hot outdoor pools and barrel saunas. 

10. Bragg Creek Provincial Park 

Address: Bragg Creek, AB T0L 0K0, Canada
Contact number: +1 403-678-0760
Distance from Calgary: 41 minutes, 48.4 km/30 mi

Located at the edge of Kannaskis is the Bragg Creek Provincial Park. This is perfect for Calgarians who like outdoor activities but are tired of the same open green spaces in the city. 

It’s a great place to walk, explore the outdoors, and enjoy what nature has to offer overall. You can also bring your family here along with your dogs. 

Since it’s situated near the Elbow River, one can also go here to fish. It’s also known for its large picnic area. In fact, there are about 84 picnic sites here! 

During winter, this provincial park becomes a popular spot for cross country skiing. 

11. Cowboy Trail 

Distance from Calgary: 1 hour and 20 minutes, 118 km/ 73 mi

Officially known as Highway 22, the Cowboy Trail will surely appeal to those who are particularly keen on having a western-style adventure. 

This highway is known for its scenic views and exciting activities it offers most especially horseback riding. Additionally, it also has interesting historical sites as well as western themed attractions and shopping areas. 

We highly suggest joining horseback riding tours by Anchor D if you need expert guidance to show you the coolest spots. 

12. Aspen Crossing

Distance from Calgary: 1 hour, 90.2 km/56 mi 

Aspen Crossing is an enchanting destination every Calgarian has most likely heard of. Picture a place where the grand prairies meet captivating experiences at every turn.

It’s popular among visitors for its RV camping experience and unique railway expeditions. They have a variety of 12 themes available for their train trips including dinner theatre, high tea, and champagne brunch

Consider it as an outdoor playground that aims to satisfy the thirst of every adventurer along with lovely little additions.  

Foodies will also enjoy their time riding the Aspen Crossing Dining Car, which offers an extensive menu crafted with the freshest local ingredients. 

13. Jasper National Park 

Distance from Calgary: 3 hours and 20 minutes, 306 km 

Though the place is a bit far from Calgary, a lot of Calgarians still do day trips to Jasper National Park. We make up for it by leaving the city early so we have enough time to explore this dreamy location. 

With it being 13,000 sq km wide, there’s plenty to do here. During summer, visitors (and Jasper locals) like to enjoy hiking, staying in a cabin, rafting, swimming, and mountain biking. 

During winter, on the other hand, you’ll see plenty of people indulging in activities like ice climbing, exploring the Maligne Canyon, and skiing at Marmot Basin. 

Our favorite activity, however, and one that we most recommend is admiring the aurora borealis. You can even book a tour with the Jasper Planetarium to watch the night skies through a telescope.   

14. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site

Distance from Calgary: 1 hour and 52 minutes, 184 km/114 mi 

The Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site is as attention grabbing as its name. 

As you can probably tell, this location is recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage, which means that it’s quite known for its geological wonders. This interesting destination also offers the incredible story of ancient hunting techniques used by Indigenous people for over 6,000 years.

But what really is this place? It’s a cliff where buffalo hunters used to take their prey to drive them to their fate, making this spot the strategic bison trap. 

After that, the feast starts among the Indigenous people. 

To know more about this site during your visit, we suggest signing up for tours on their website. 

15. Nanton

Distance from Calgary: 58 minutes, 92.1 km/57 mi

Another interesting town to visit near Calgary is Nanton. Even though it’s just an hour away from the city, a lot of Calgarians leave this place undiscovered. 

However, we found that there are plenty of interesting attractions in this town like the Bomber Command Museum of Canada and Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Center. 

Additionally, there’s an extremely popular candy store in the heart of the town: The Candy Store in Nanton. It’s 2,000 sq ft of goodies such as chocolates, ice creams, classic toys, and surprisingly, antiques. 

There’s also a cool espresso bar that we personally love called Because I Said So. Aside from delicious cups, they have a used bookstore and a quirky gift shop with items from local craftsmen. It’s not that popular among visitors so consider this a hidden gem! You heard it here first, folks. 

16. Calaway Park 

Address: 245033 Range Rd 33, Calgary, AB T3Z 2E9, Canada
Distance from Calgary: 26 minutes, 25.1 km/15.6 mi

Ending this list is the closest exciting destination to Calgary called Calaway Park. It’s considered West Canada’s biggest amusement park that offers a variety of exciting rides, each offering different levels of thrills. 

If you’re a thrill seeker, we highly recommend Free Fallin’ and Sky Wynder. Both rides take you to the top before you take a plunge filled with screams and… a few tears. 

You can always take the Ocean Motion instead if you’re looking for something thrilling without feeling like you just had a near death experience.

It’s simply a large boat that rocks back and forth. If we’re being honest, we felt our stomachs drop once or twice during this ride, but that’s what made it so fun! 

Anyway, some people also camp at Calaway Park for the mountain views and the night sky. To book an RV, just simply go to their website

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