Promises of a waterfall, a creek, a canyon, and candy are the things that get my kids hiking. Here are 11 family-friendly waterfall hikes so, Mamas load up your playlist with TLC and start the car. Read more
Did You Know: You Can Hike To a Cold War Bunker in Alberta!
Hiking with kids is always… interesting. I find that if I can entice mine with an end goal to hike to they do MUCH better. Usually we try to find a hike with water (lakes, rivers, waterfalls, etc) to get to, but this time we wanted something different so we tried the Heart Creek Cold War Bunker Hike just east of Canmore.
When you tell the kids there is an old, abandoned cave to explore at the end of the hike they move FAST!
The weather outside is getting colder and mountains are slowly being capped by snow. The cold weather and extra layers to go outside and explore with kids can be a daunting task. It is not always easy convincing toddlers and preschoolers to keep their mitts on. However, it is worth the struggle. Trust me. The trails turn into a beautiful winter wonderland. For children, this means entering the land of “Frozen”. Hot chocolate by the fireplace is also so much more enjoyable after a day of exploring in the cold. These 4 hikes, located in the Born to be Adventurous “Hiking Guide for Families”, are perfect winter hikes for everyone to enjoy. They are rated for little kids and range from easy to difficult for little feet. This means that toddlers and their grandparents can find a hike to enjoy together this winter.
3 Winter Hiking Tips:
Bring along Ice Cleats in the backpack in case the trail gets slippery.
Plan to take a little longer finishing the trail as hiking in the snow can be a little more challenging for kids.
4 Beautiful Winter Hikes for Families around Calgary
Troll Falls is an easy 2.4 km hike with minimal elevation located in the stunning Kananaskis area. In the winter, Troll Falls turns into a natural frozen masterpiece. Use caution when exploring the falls as it is very slippery, and pieces of ice can break off from above. Park at the Troll Falls Day Use area. The trail starts passed the end of the parking lot on the left side.
If the trail is packed down with snow in the winter, then consider bringing a sled to pull the kids when they get tired of hiking. Even though the downhills are not too long or steep, it is best to get off the sled during the downhills to avoid accidently hitting a tree or another hiker.
One of the things we wanted to do more this summer was to explore different hiking trails. Our kids are getting a bit older (7&11) so going on adventure walks by the campsite isn’t cutting it anymore.
We were in Kananaskis and one of the very helpful park staff members suggested Elbow Lake. If you’re ever in Kananaskis we highly recommend you stop by the information center. It has a pretty good little (FREE) museum and the staff there are fantastic at suggesting things that suit your family.
This past weekend I took the family about 30 minutes west of Edmonton for a day hike to Chickakoo Lake. (Okay so maybe it was more of a walk). We went for a short trail and a little play before we had to make it back for my husband to work on some stuff.
But before I get into the details of this place and our trip I want to take you down my memory lane a little bit. When I was about 6 my parents divorced. Since my father was a long distance truck driver we got to see him about every second weekend. I feel so lucky though that he sure made those weekends count and we created memories. One of my fond memories is him taking us to Chickakoo Lake. We went summers for bike rides and winters for cross country skiing.
Last week I decided our family needed to get out of the house and into some nature, away from work and screens and other distractions. I called up my Dad too and as we were walking this weekend we shared stories with my husband and girls from our trips when I was a kid. *Insert big AWWWWWWWW’s here*
Since this destination is a short drive from Highway 16 (1228 Township Road 535) it makes it a great stopping point for anyone travelling through Edmonton to head onto somewhere else that needs to give the kids a bit of run around time.
There are three trail ratings of Novice, Intermediate and Advanced with a few different options for both. You can branch off from one trail to another to make it shorter/longer or easier/harder. Luckily they are pretty well marked so you don’t get lost!
Off the dock or from a side shore you can do some fishing for some trout as well. It’s sport fishing of catch and release only though, so no keeping the fish!
Additionally there are many picnic benches (even a large covered section for big family gatherings) and a small park for the kids to play, making this a great day adventure as well. So pack a lunch, the tackle box and some water and spend the day outside!
Lots of people ask me what the difference is between Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Besides location, there are quite a few differences. And don’t forget about cruises and their Hawaiian escape – Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa.
For someone who doesn’t really hike I have more than my share of trail guides. Some are better than others, and I’ve developed a serious appreciation for a well researched guide book. “Stoked on Waterfalls” is up there with the best.
Stoked on Waterfalls: Volume I by Jason Walchuck is an exhaustive reference of waterfalls within a half kilometer of a public road in Alberta. Some are visible from a major highway, a few require driving down rough back roads and doing some serious bushwhacking, but they all meet the requirement of being within 500m of a non-private road.
Going to Banff is a fun experience for the whole family but sometimes it can be hard occupying the kids all of the time. This is especially true if you’re not familiar with what there is to see and do. We’ve got 10 kid-approved ideas on how to keep busy with the kids while visiting Banff!
Kid-approved activities to do with kids when visiting Banff
This mix of cheap and free things to do in Banff should give you a wide range of activities in the National Park that your kids will love and talk about for years to come!
1. Kid-Friendly Hikes
Go on a kid-friendly hike at Tunnel Mountain or Fenland Trail.
2. Visit Downtown Banff
Take a walk on Banff Avenue and stop off at the iconic Banff Sweet Shoppe for some of your favourite (and even hard to find) treats.
3. Go on a Pony Ride
Kids 3-7yrs can get up close and learn the basics of horseback riding on a 15-minute Pony Lead. The cost is $20, and worth the splurge.
4. Try Bowling
Check out High Rollers Banff and bowl a couple of games! There are 6 lanes, one with bumpers, a full menu, billiards and arcade games.
5. Biking at the Banff Pump Track
Bring your bikes and check out the Banff Bike Park at Sundance Road and Cave Ave! There are elements for all skill levels! (The pump track is being renovated in 2023 and may not be available this summer.)
Are there other activities that we didn’t include in this list that you like to do when you are visiting Banff with the family? Join the conversation on Instagram or Facebook and tell us what are some of the kid-approved activities that you do with your family.
Where to get your Charcuterie Boards and Charcuterie Boxes In Alberta
It’s going to be the summer of the picnic, and there’s no better (or fancier) way to picnic than a charcuterie in Alberta. Picture yourself on a hike in the mountains, your favourite hill, in a botanical garden, or even on a pasture (see Open Farm Days in August). Here’s where you can grab a charcuterie “to go” across the province.
Bow Valley (Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise, Exshaw, and Kananaskis)
Banff Graze Co.
Banff Graze Co. is great for those that live in the area, but also a terrific idea if you’re travelling to the Bow Valley and want to have something special for your lunch hike, or try a charcuterie board instead of eating at a restaurant while you’re in town.
A friend and I went on a Saturday morning, met at 530AM in the parking lot, and by golly, nary a soul in sight. We didn’t run into one person on the path and upon returning to our vehicle, there were just a few fellas fishing under the bridge.
There are a few fire pits with picnic tables along the river that would just be amazing with the fam jam and the “beachy” part we came across would entertain my kids for HOURS just throwing rocks in. Didn’t bring them this time – mama needed a break but next time!