Day Trips Around Calgary
The mention of Alberta likely brings to mind thoughts of prairies, beef, cowboys and the Calgary Stampede. It, therefore, surprises most people to learn that there are glaciers, quick sandpits, and dinosaur fossils as well as the most picturesque scenes you will see east of the Rocky Mountains.
The locals love to travel and enjoy vacationing in their large backyard. Mountains are situated to the west and Badlands are to the east, making this location an excellent stopover for any outdoor adventurer.There are some day trips to enjoy in Alberta, exploring the Wild Rose Country. Below are the top ten spots that you must see. It is advised that for any day trip you pack an emergency medical kit, food and water, charged camera and batteries, bug spray, good hiking or walking boots, a hat and sunscreen. Depending on where you go, you may want to bring some bear repellent too.
This lake is situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and is a popular destination. Be aware of heavy travel seasons because it does get crowded and parking can be difficult. Traffic may force you to walk a little further than expected but once you get to the lake, the breathtaking views will make have made the trek worthwhile.
Apart from taking in the scenery, there are some trails to hike. Additionally, you can check out the Lake Agnes or Plain of Six Glaciers and tea house. Take a ride on a gondola and look for bears below or rent a canoe and see the lake at its best. You can expect travel time to this location to be close to two hours one way. Allow for a full day to account for the 4 hours travel time and adequate exploration time.
Hoodoos and Horseshoe Canyon
This is where the Badlands meet the prairies, and you can see this if you take a trip to Drumheller via Highway 9. The enormous canyon awaits you as you pull in with an opening that began over 70 million years ago. This is the official entry to the Badlands. The landscape of Horseshoe Canyon supports three unique habitats; the prairies, the badlands and the wooded coulee slopes. Trails will guide you through each of these as you explore the canyon.
On your way to Drumheller, which is 1.5 hours from Calgary, be sure to look out for dinosaurs. Your destination features the world’s largest one in the form of an 82-foot replica of the king himself, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. For an additional small fee, you can even climb the beast, peek out from his mouth and capture a priceless photo. Be sure to stop into the Fossil World Discovery Center and dig up your fossils.
The Dinosaur Trail will take you to the Star Mine suspension bridge, which is a real treat. The bridge was built in 1931 and spans the Red Deer River. Originally constructed for the coal workers of the Star Mine, there are now trails on both sides for you to explore. It is not uncommon to find your nuggets of coal along the way. Be warned that if you have a fear of heights, it is best not to look down, but the views from the bridge are truly spectacular.
The Royal Tyrell Museum
This museum is one of the world’s premiere palaeontological locations and research facilities. Kids can take part in dinosaur digs, and there are daily tours of the entire facility. You should make a reservation because the museum does get busy and programs are known to fill up quickly. There is an awesome lookout point if you have the energy to climb a ton of stairs or you can also take a hike on the Badlands Trail.
Visiting the museum should be a full day trip, so you have time to travel and explore at a decent pace. Travel time from Drumheller and the museum from Calgary is close to 1.5 hours one way. There is a spot to grab lunch there and an outdoor patio for relaxing and eating. Of course, at the end of your Calgary tour, you are delivered to a gift shop, which may prove dangerous for your wallet.