Are you looking up new things to go see, new places to explore for when the weather warms up?
The need to go camping soon is getting stronger?
Well, then you're just like me! And you're in luck because I have the perfect place to go exploring and I am sharing it with you.
If you're not from western Canada or have never visited, you may not know about a hidden gem located in the Alberta Rockies, called Kananaskis Country.
Kananaskis is a park system located west of the city of Calgary and stretches along the border of British Columbia, from Canmore to Longview in Alberta. It's in my top 5 places to go see in Alberta. Beautiful, filled with provincial parks and an ecological reserve, it's home for some pretty cool wildlife.
Here you'll find animals like grizzly bears, black bears, cougars, wolves, moose, big horn sheep, coyotes, foxes, deer, elks and many species of birds including bald eagles, hawks and owls.
I've been lucky enough to see some wildlife, but I have yet to spot any bears! It's probably due to the fact that I don't go hiking often because I have two "mini-me" with me so we stick to roads a lot, including back-country roads. There's plenty of those too in Kananaskis, my favorite two are:
1) Highway 940-Forest Trunk Road
2) The Smith Dorrien Spray Trail .
The Forest Trunk road can be accessed from Highway 40 south and it will lead you to Coleman, Alberta which is located in the Crowsnest Pass.
Note: This road is closed from December to May for wildlife reasons. Please always respect the wildlife. To access Kananaskis in the winter, you have to go through in the northern parts, by Calgary and Canmore.
It is a dirt road but I drive a minivan and it was a pretty awesome drive! Along the way, you'll run into Plateau Mountain, you can't miss it, it bares a striking resemblance to it's name.
People pull up just about anywhere and set up camp, for free. Sure there's no amenities but if you're resourceful it's the best way to go camping. The air is so fresh and clean, the peaceful sounds of nature relaxing and soothing you, it's soul healing. But please, if you do decide to do this kind of camping, the environment and the wildlife need to be respected. Please clean up your area and never leave food out. You would be surprised at the stuff I find in the middle of nowhere. This road was the first place I saw a loon and this is where I ran into this camping trailer, which seems to have been mangled by a bear, my guess.
The Smith Dorrien Trail is a stunning scenic drive along the Spray Lake Reservoir and the Spray Valley Provincial Park. It can be accessed inside the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park or Canmore.
The Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is just awesome, especially for families. In the summer they have really cool events happening all summer for kids of all ages. There's some really fantastic campgrounds like Boulton Creek, Canyon, Elkwood, Inter-lakes, Lower Lake and the William Watson Lodge to name a few, along with a bunch of back-country tenting areas. What I really loved about this park is that there's a paved path that navigates through the park and along the lakes. The views are breathtaking.
Kananaskis Country is so much more than I could write in one blog post, it is definitely a place to get lost in and explore, go hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, rock climbing, golfing, alpine skiing or cross country skiing. There are horse trails, a ranch, a hotel, two ski resorts, and yes, a golf course. It is definitely worth a visit. I like it so much because there's usually not too many people compared to the Banff and Canmore area.
There you have it, my little recommendation for an adventure! As an added bonus, I've included a free printable of my favorite places in Kananaskis. Click the button below to download via email!
--> Where's your favorite place to go explore? Let me know in the comments, I would love to discover new places!
Make sure you download my list of Parks and campgrounds in the Kananaskis Area, in which I've included phone numbers for more info!