For a mountain getaway without the crowds, Kananaskis is the place to be. Rolling foothills, lush grasslands and of course the imposing Rocky Mountains provide endless hiking, biking and outdoor entertainment, yet you are still just an hour from the city amenities of Calgary.
Whether you visit for stunning turquoise lakes and flower-filled meadows or a snowy winter wonderland, you will find plenty to do here in this untouched wilderness. Perhaps most accessible is the huge network of hiking trails, from paved trails around Kanaskis Village to rugged canyon scrambles. With the towering Rocky Mountains to the west, lush meadows to the east, and creeks, valleys, streams and lakes between the two, the varied landscapes provide endless opportunities for exploring. And as well as thrilling downhill mountain bike trails, many of the trails are also suitable for less hair-raising bike rides.
During the winter months the trails are perfect for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or even dog-sledding through the beautiful snow-covered forests. Nakiska Ski Resort near the village is a good family ski hill, with plenty of runs for beginners as well as more advanced slopes, and a restaurant to warm up in. Nearby Fortress Mountain offers private group tours using a Snowcat truck to transport you to and between some challenging slopes.
There are two hotels in the Kananaskis Village region offering excellent amenities that are also available to day visitors. The Delta in Kananaskis Village boasts a good spa and fitness centre, as well as a golf course, shops and restaurants, while Stoney Nakoda Resort has its own casino. If you are looking for a real wilderness adventure, there are all kinds of lodges, serviced campsites and backcountry campsites available – some sites are open year-round for the more hardy winter campers!
Activities in Kananaskis are not limited to hiking and biking however: the many lakes and rivers are ideal for exploring by canoe, spending peaceful hours fishing, or trying out the hair-raising sport of white-water rafting. For a real taste of Canada, head off on a scenic horseback trail through woods, across meadows and beside ponds.
Wildlife is bountiful in Kananaskis. The landscapes are busy with small creatures such as chipmunks and squirrels, many species of birds, and larger mammals such as deer, moose and bears. Take a wildlife tour along the river or through the backcountry with an expert guide who will help you spot some of the more elusive animals.
Kananaskis is an outdoor lover’s paradise with endless stunning vistas and activities of all kinds for those who like to keep busy. And if it’s your first adventure in Canada’s wilderness, there’s no better place to start – you’ll be hooked in no time.
Things to do
Top tips for visiting Kananaskis Village
Top Tip 1
• If you prefer the comforts of home, the hotel in Kananaskis village has some excellent amenities including a fitness centre and spa, but a for a real wilderness adventure head to Sundance Lodges and stay in a traditional tipi or trapper’s tent.
Top Tip 2
• There are many beautiful hikes in the area, from gentle, family-friendly walks around the pretty Bow Valley to strenuous mountain hikes such as the Prairie View Trail which boasts some lovely views from the ridge. For a great combination of the two visit Ribbon Creek, which has a pleasant walk along the creek to Ribbon Falls, suitable for all abilities (and bikes) followed by a more challenging scramble up several cliffs leading to Ribbon Lake, for those who wish to go further.
Top Tip 3
• Kananaskis was home to a prisoner of war camp in World War Two. Believed to be a comparatively pleasant place to be - with a movie theatre, exercise and painting classes, one of the remaining buildings now houses an interesting collection of photographs and artefacts which you can browse.
Top Tip 4
• If you are visiting in the winter months, downhill skiing can be found at Nakiska Resort which is a great family resort especially for beginners and improvers. For the more advanced, cat skiing tours can be arranged on nearby Fortress Mountain.
Top Tip 5
• There are endless cross-country ski and snowshoe trails as well as many winter activities to try, such as snowmobiling and dog-sledding. Take a guided icewalk through Grotto Canyon and see the frozen waterfalls and unusual rock formations.
Top Tip 6
• During the summer there are plenty of activities to delight, from horse riding and mountain biking to canoeing and rafting. For breath-taking views of the spectacular scenery, take a helicopter tour and soar over the mountains and prairies.
Top Tip 7
• Visitors to the Rocky Mountains may expect to see bears - and there are many grizzlies, black and brown bears in residence - but that’s not all; you will probably encounter deer, sheep, goats, squirrels and a wide variety of birds during your stay too.