Family fun in Alberta in 48 hours or less

Family fun in Alberta in 48 hours or less

Discover the Joys of Hiking and Walking

Credit: EEDC

Exploring Alberta with your family on foot is an incredible way to create lasting memories, improve your health, and discover the natural beauty of our province. Whether you’re trekking through the Rockies, wandering the trails of central Alberta, or taking a leisurely stroll in the city, hiking and walking offer numerous benefits for families. Here’s why you should lace up your boots and hit the trails, along with some tips to get started and family-friendly trails from various regions of Alberta.

Health Benefits of Hiking and Walking

1. Physical Fitness: Hiking and walking are excellent cardiovascular exercises that help improve heart health, increase stamina, and strengthen muscles. They’re also great for maintaining a healthy weight.

2. Mental Well-being: Spending time in nature reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. The rhythmic nature of walking can be meditative, helping to clear the mind and improve mood.

3. Family Bonding: Hiking together fosters communication, teamwork, and a sense of adventure. It’s a perfect way to disconnect from digital distractions and reconnect with each other.

4. Educational Opportunities: Trails offer a hands-on learning experience about Alberta’s diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and history. Kids can develop an appreciation for the environment and learn about conservation.

5. Vitamin D Exposure: Being outdoors exposes you to natural sunlight, which is essential for Vitamin D production. This vitamin is crucial for bone health and immune function.

Tips for Getting Started

1. Choose Appropriate Trails: Start with easy, well-marked trails that match your family’s fitness level. Gradually work up to more challenging hikes.

2. Pack Essentials: Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, a first-aid kit, and appropriate clothing. Don’t forget hats and sunglasses for sun protection.

3. Wear Proper Footwear: Good quality hiking shoes or boots provide support and comfort, reducing the risk of injury.

4. Plan and Research: Check the weather forecast, trail conditions, and any potential wildlife warnings. Always let someone know your hiking plans.

5. Take Breaks and Enjoy the Journey: Allow time for rest, play, and exploring. The goal is to enjoy the experience, not just reach the destination.

See More of the World Around You

Hiking and walking allow you to experience Alberta’s landscapes in a way that driving never can. You’ll notice the subtle changes in flora and fauna, hear the sounds of nature, and find hidden gems that are off the beaten path. It’s an immersive experience that fosters a deeper connection to the environment.

Johnston Canyon Trail. Credit: Travel Alberta / ROAM Creative

Family-Friendly Beginner Trails in Alberta

Northern Alberta:

Muskeg Creek Trail (Athabasca)

  • Description: This 7.1 km loop trail is perfect for families, offering gentle terrain through a mixed forest with plenty of opportunities for bird watching and enjoying nature.
  • Website: Muskeg Creek Trail
  • Location: Athabasca

Southern Alberta:

Waterton Lakes National Park – Linnet Lake Trail

  • Description: This easy 1 km loop around Linnet Lake provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is suitable for young children.
  • Website: Waterton Lakes National Park Trails
  • Location: Waterton Park, AB

The Rockies:

Johnston Canyon Trail (Banff National Park)

  • Description: This popular 5.2 km round trip hike features scenic waterfalls, catwalks anchored to limestone cliffs, and a relatively easy path for families.
  • Website: Johnston Canyon
  • Location: Bow Valley Parkway, Banff, AB

Central Alberta:

Bower Ponds Loop (Red Deer)

  • Description: A 2.7 km loop trail that circles Bower Ponds, offering paved paths suitable for strollers and young children, with playgrounds and picnic areas along the way.
  • Website: Bower Ponds
  • Location: 4715 Fountain Drive, Red Deer, AB

Edmonton Area:

Terwillegar Park Loop

  • Description: This 3.9 km loop trail in Terwillegar Park is perfect for families and dogs, featuring river views, open fields, and forested areas.
  • Website: Terwillegar Park
  • Location: 10 Rabbit Hill Road NW, Edmonton, AB

Calgary Area:

Bow River Pathway

  • Description: This scenic trail network runs along the Bow River, connecting numerous parks and attractions in Calgary.
  • Highlights: Enjoy Eau Claire Park, Prince’s Island Park, the iconic Peace Bridge, and St. Patrick’s Island.
  • Distance: An easy 3.5 km.
  • Difficulty: Easy, with paved paths perfect for strollers and young children.
  • Website: Bow River Pathway
  • Location: 8900 48 Avene NW, Calgary, AB T3B 2B2

Time to hit the trail.

Hiking and walking are fantastic ways for families to explore Alberta, offering numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. With the right preparation and a spirit of adventure, you can create unforgettable experiences and foster a lifelong love for nature in your children. Whether you’re traversing the majestic Rockies, exploring vibrant urban parks, or wandering through serene forest trails, Alberta’s diverse landscapes await your discovery. So, get out there and start your family hiking adventure today!