Friday, July 13, 2012

Canadian Rockies Family Super Guide

I get a lot of e-mail requests from tourists, new Calgarians, and even local families looking for trail suggestions, hiking ideas for their family, Chariot-friendly trails, backpacking ideas, and general travel information for the Canadian Rockies.  I don't mind answering the e-mails I get and I love connecting with my readers but I thought, wouldn't it be cool if there was somewhere on my website where all of that information could be found in one easy spot?

Now there is.  I've created three separate pages on my blog that should help you make the most out of your summer in Calgary, Kananaskis and the surrounding National Parks. The pages are located at the top of my website and appear as tabs.  You can go to them anytime you want for quick information.  You can also click on the titles below that are linked to the pages.

The Best Day Trips and Picnic Sites

On this page you will find my top 20 favourite places to have a picnic in Kananaskis as well as information on Kananaskis Village, which in my opinion is the one of the best places to visit on a day trip from Calgary.  The Village has it all including a playground and ice cream for the kids, coffee for Mom and Dad (and Grandma), a central pond with toddler climbing wall, paved stroller-friendly walking trails, paved bike trails and multi-use natural trails for mountain biking, hiking or cross country skiing in winter.  In winter there's also a skating rink and toboggan hill. 

You'll also find my top three recommended spots to take a dip or at least pull out the sand toys.  Quarry Lake, Cascade Ponds, and Johnston Lake are all great destinations on hot days for a picnic and some beach time.  You'll find kids floating around in inflatable boats, toddlers with their sand toys playing beside the water, and locals sunbathing in bikinis.  (Something for everybody)

Cascade Ponds, Banff

The Best Toddler and Preschooler Hikes

It should be no surprise to those who follow our family adventures that we are passionate about baby, toddler and preschool adventures.  That's just where we are in life right now.  Most of the inquiries I get are also from families wanting information on hikes appropriate for small feet.  This new page on my blog will give you all the information you need to get the 5 and under crowd active, engaged, and exploring this summer.  Parents of school-aged kids will still find useful information on this page too.  Many of the hikes I've recommended for small children will be challenging and several of them will require parental assistance if you want to complete the full hike.  Older children will obviously find these trips enjoyable and much easier.  Many of the hikes are classics that every child, young or old, must have on their bucket list.  In fact, adults will want several of them on their list too even if they don't have kids.

You'll also find information on Chariot-Hiking and Backpacking, sports where I've often felt like I've been a pioneer here.  I've taken our Chariot places where I'm positive few other Chariots have ever been and it has been pushed to its limits.  When I started taking our Chariot out to the mountains, I had no book or reference guide.  I just forged my way on trails I figured would work.  Sometimes they did and other times they did not.  Rest assured, I've only mentioned hikes that have worked and that were fun.

Cat Creek Falls, Kananaskis

Calgary Urban Hikes

This third page lists many of our favourite hikes that you can do with your family without even leaving the city limits.  Many of them are so pristine, natural, and quiet that you would never know you were still in the city.  I'm still adding to the page so if I've missed your favourite urban hike, please let me know and I'll make sure to include it.

I included photos of each hike and tried to capture as many different seasons as I could for each one because it is quite feasible to hike year round in Calgary.  The hikes look so different in each season as well that you'll want to repeat them often. 

Twelve Mile Coulee Hike, Tuscany, NW Calgary


Not stand-alone pages, these posts I've written on camping are full of practical information for that first or twentieth camping trip with your family.  I'm especially proud of the story on backcountry adventures because it provides you with all the information necessary to get off the beaten path with your family in the Canadian Rockies.  I've given you ways to camp using a Chariot, bike, canoe or horse.  I've given suggestions for backcountry cabins, hostels, and my favourite campgrounds.  Every one of the backcountry campgrounds listed is one I plan to visit with my own son. 

Family Camping Made Easy - Warm Sleepers and Happy Sleepers 


Family Camping Made Easy - Baby Adventures 


Family Camping Made Easy - Preschool Adventures


Family Camping Made Easy - Bathing in the Woods


Family Camping Made Easy - Siestas for the Junior Camper


Family Camping Made Easy - Backcountry Adventures



  1. Just a question Tanya, did you take off the spring hikes because it's out of season, or is it the same as the summer hikes?

    1. Sorry, I did take it off. But I can put it back on. Will take just a few seconds.

    2. Ok, Kathy - it's back. Wasn't sure people were still using it. But, in the Rockies, it's always good to know some good hikes close to home with little elevation gain. The Spring hikes are awesome for this.

    3. It's all immensly useful, many thanks, Tanya! And, yes, spring hikes were useful too!

    4. Thanks Ksenia. The Spring page is back up.