10 Great Day Trips From Calgary on One Tank of Gas
Want to make the most of your next trip to Calgary? Fill up the gas tank and get ready to hit the road—these day trips from Calgary are worth adding to your bucket list.
1. Mahican Trails Indigenous medicine walk, Canmore, Alberta
We tend to regard the great outdoors as a playground; somewhere we can indulge in a bit of hiking, biking and camping. But to the local Indigenous people, the outdoors is a pantry, pharmacy and place of worship. On a Mahican Trails Indigenous medicine walking tour in Canmore, Alberta, you’ll get a proper taste of what the Rocky Mountains really mean to these people. Every plant and animal you’ll encounter on the walk has a role in Indigenous culture and medicine, and your fascinating guide will explain the significance of each as you wander through the truly breathtaking landscape.
2. Kananaskis Nordic Spa, Kananaskis Country, Alberta
Alberta’s first—and to date, only—Nordic spa is now open for business at the newly renovated Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. Although it’s just an hour’s drive from Calgary’s city limits, the lodge itself delivers that authentic backcountry feel, and endless options in terms of Rocky Mountain outdoor adventures. Boasting a full range of services, the spa offers a welcome chance to recuperate after a day of hiking and biking. Soothe sore muscles in the cycle of hydrotherapy pools (they range from a 40-degree hot pool to a bone-chilling five-degree plunge pool), your choice of four saunas (banya, Finnish, and barrels), and—get this—heated hammocks!
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3. Dinner at Azuridge Estate Hotel, Priddis, Alberta
Before the mountains come the foothills, and there’s no better place to admire them than Azuridge Estate Hotel in Priddis, Alberta. The best kept secret in the region (it’s barely even on the radar of locals, despite being a mere 20-minute drive from Calgary), Azuridge offers a stunning backdrop of rolling green hills and mountains. Dinner at the hotel’s Opal Dining Room is a great way to enjoy the property—and its award-winning cuisine.
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4. Winsport at Canada Olympic Park, Calgary
It will forever be associated with winter sports (it served as the grounds for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, after all), but Winsport at Canada Olympic Park makes a great Calgary day trip year-round. Each summer, the athletic training facility transforms into an adventure hub for the whole family, boasting a skyline luge, summer bobsled run and North America’s fastest zip line. Not an adrenaline junkie? There’s still plenty of fun to be had playing mini-putt and taking a ride on the scenic chairlift.
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5. Royal Tyrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta
Paying tribute to the greatest discoveries of dinosaur fossils on the planet, the Royal Tyrell Museum is home to the world’s largest display of dinosaur bones. Located in Drumheller, an hour-and-a-half drive east of Calgary, the facility brings Alberta’s rich paleontological history to life through interactive exhibits and innovative programs. After you’ve browsed the displays, it’s worth exploring Drumheller and the surrounding badlands, which feel prehistoric in themselves and make an ideal setting for hikes and other outdoor adventures.
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6. Bar U Ranch National Historic Site, Longview, Alberta
There’s no better place to explore Alberta’s ranching roots than the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site near Longview, Alberta, just over an hour’s drive south of Calgary. This beautifully preserved ranch in the rolling foothills was one of Canada’s leading ranching operations for more than 70 years. Now a historic site, the facility hosts reenactments and tours to give modern-day city slickers a taste of the old wild west. Don’t miss these other essential experiences for the Canadian history buff.
7. Eau Clair Distillery, Turner Valley, Alberta
Around 45-minutes southwest of Calgary in the town of Turner Valley, you’ll find one of Alberta’s finest distilleries. Here, in a building that used to be the village movie theatre, Eau Clair Distillery produces and serves its award-winning spirits, including the not-to-be-missed Parlour Gin. A true farm-to-glass operation, the distillery actually sources some of its wheat and barley from Bar U Ranch—harvested in the old-fashioned style, of course.
8. Bow Lake and Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, Banff National Park, Alberta
A visit to Calgary isn’t complete without a day trip to Canada’s first National Park. If you’re not keen on crowds, consider Bow Lake—an off-the-beaten-path alternative to busy Lake Louise. There, you can grab lunch or a snack at the historic lakeside Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. You can always hit up Lake Louise on the way back to Calgary in the evening when the crowds have thinned.
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9. Mt. Norquay scenic sightseeing lift, Banff, Alberta
Banff and Lake Louise are certainly not short on scenery, and the best way to take in their legendary views is by sightseeing lift. Popular among locals and tourists alike, Mt. Norquay’s sightseeing chairlift whisks riders 7,000 feet above sea level to the Cliffhouse Bistro. There, you can enjoy unbeatable views of Mount Rundle and Banff over a pint of Banff Avenue Brewing Company beer and Rocky Mountain inspired cuisine.
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10. Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, Cochrane, Alberta
A not-for-profit that focuses on rescue and rehabilitation of displaced wolfdogs, the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary has also served as a filming location for Game of Thrones. The sanctuary, located 45 minutes northwest of Calgary, provides an adoption program, as well as guided tours that allow guests to get up close and personal with the majestic animals.
Next, check out 40 awesome things to do in Calgary on your next vacation.