Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The BEST of Spring in the Canadian Rockies - updated 2024

It's starting to feel like spring in Calgary, and the warm sun has me dreaming about first hikes, camping trips, and dry bike trails.

Spring returns and the bikes come out! (Pictured: Biking the Canmore Town Trails)

The list below is in no particular order.

All links go to stories I've already written on the subject, or to other websites that will help you.

This story is checked annually and has been updated for spring 2024.

1. Enjoy a spring hike with your family in Kananaskis

There are so many great spring hikes across Kananaskis. Check out all of my recommended favourites in my Spring Hiking Super Guide below:

Other recommended reading:

Go for a spring hike with your family

2. Tag your First Summit for the Season with Prairie Mountain

This is our annual first summit (most years in March,) and the trail has been newly rebuilt to make the climb less steep and more family-friendly.

Note this trail has been re-built as of 2023 and will be closed early spring when it's muddy. See trail closures here.

Spring hiking on Prairie Mountain

3. Go Biking on Highway 66

This is an annual tradition for us as soon as the snow melts! This highway doesn't open until May 15th for the spring, and until then, we get to enjoy biking it with no vehicles!

And in some years it melts out as early as mid-March! 

We love biking Highway 66 before it opens to cars each spring

4. Bike and Hike around Bow Valley Provincial Park 

This is another early season favourite, bike to the Many Springs Trailhead for a short hike in the Bow Valley Campground. Roads are closed to traffic until the campground opens late April most years.

Read: The Best Spring Bike Rides in Kananaskis 

Biking the campground roads through Bow Valley Provincial Park 

5. Bike the Paved Bill Milne Trail at Kananaskis Village

This trail is free of ice and snow by mid May most years.

Read: The Best Family Bike Trails in Kananaskis, Alberta

Biking the Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis

6. Plan a Day Trip to Canmore

The bike trails around town are always dry by mid April .

Biking around Canmore is a great activity for a sunny spring day!

7. Go Camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park

The Bow Valley Campground opens late April and is ideal for a spring camping trip close to Calgary.

Read: April Camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park

Read: 5 Reasons to Love Camping at the Bow Valley Campground, Kananaskis 

April camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park

8. Plan a Day Trip to Banff 

Read: Epic Family Bike Rides: The Best Spring Rides near Calgary (including biking to Moraine Lake when the road is closed)

Biking the Legacy Trail in Banff

9. Take a Day Trip to Drumheller and Bike to a Ghost Town 

We love biking to the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller where you'll bike across 11 one-lane bridges.

Read more about our adventures biking in Drumheller here. 

Biking in Drumheller on the road to Wayne

10. Take a Spring Road Trip to the Columbia Valley

Mountain bike trails are good to go by mid April in this sunny valley, and we love camping in Radium Hot Springs for Mother's Day.

Spring biking in the Columbia Valley

11.  Plan a Spring Picnic in the Mountains

- the link goes to my complete resource guide on the best day trips and picnic sites.

Head out for a spring picnic in the mountains with the family

12. Bike to the Cat Creek Falls Day Use Area on Highway 40

The highway doesn't open until June 15th so you'll have the whole highway to yourself without cars.

Read: Biking to Cat Creek Falls, Kananaskis 

Biking Highway 40 to Cat Creek Falls 

13. Bike to the Sheep River Falls on Highway 546 in Southern Kananaskis

Park at the closed gate by the Sandy McNabb Campground and ride as far as you want towards the Bluerock Campground. Most people go as far as the Sheep River Falls (a distance of 32 km return with 500 total metres of climbing.)

While it's not an easy bike ride, you'll be rewarded with great views, two sets of waterfalls, and other scenic lookouts for rest breaks. It's our favourite spring highway ride. 

The highway opens on May 15th to traffic so plan your ride before then.

An epic bike ride to the Sheep River Falls 

14. Go Camping for Mother's Day Weekend

We personally love camping at Redstreak in Radium Hot Springs.

Read: 25 Ways to Glamp up the Mother's Day Weekend Camping Experience

There's no other way I'd rather spend the Mother's Day weekend

15.  Go Camping in the Alberta Badlands

Before it gets too hot and while the bugs are still sleeping.

Hiking in Dinosaur Provincial Park 

16. Plan a Spring Biking Weekend at Nipika Mountain Resort near Radium, BC

This is ideal for the Mother's Day weekend.

Read: Kids on Wheels - Nipika Mountain Resort 

Stay and play at Nipika Mountain Resort this spring 

17. Get the Boats out for the Season 

We paddled on the Kananaskis River one year in April, and we love floating down the Red Deer River late May. The Bow River in Banff is also an annual favourite early June.

April paddling on the Kananaskis River

18. Try Geocaching this spring (without even leaving the city!) 

Geocaching is a fun spring activity for the whole family (in or out of the city)

More adventures to be added as we continue to explore, travel, and discover new awesome ways to have fun in the months of March, April, and May.

Other Recommended Reading:

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