Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The BEST of Spring in the Canadian Rockies (Gotta do THIS!)

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, but I did start out with the "snowy spring stuff" at the beginning. Scroll down if you're totally DONE with snow.

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

I also plan to add to this story as we discover new and awesome things to do in or near Calgary between March and May (so save it to reference often.)

Our annual first hike on Prairie Mountain in the Elbow Valley 



The BEST of Spring in the Canadian Rockies 



Early Spring / Say Yes to More Snow 



1. Ski into April at Nakiska Ski Area in Kananaskis - Visit the Nakiska website for full info. on spring events, Easter skiing, and this year's closing date.


2. Ski into May at the Lake Louise Ski Resortwith spring skiing passes valid from March 1st until closing (they pay for themselves in as few as 3 visits)


3. Ski through May at Sunshine Village Resort - With skiing until May 20th, 2019 (Spring skiing passes available, and moms usually ski for free on Mother's Day!)

Read: Sunshine Village Ski Resort and Mountain Lodge Experience 


There's still lots of great snow for spring skiing!

4. Spend Spring Break at Lake Louise - Book affordable accommodations at the HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre and enjoy good snow through April.

Read: Affordable Ski Weekends at the Lake Louise Alpine Centre

Read: 5 Reasons to Visit Lake Louise this Spring 

Spring Break at Lake Louise


5. Spend a Weekend at a Wilderness Hostel - HI Kananaskis, HI Castle Mountain, and HI Mosquito Creek are all situated close to ski resorts, cross-country ski trails, and hiking trails.

Read: Affordable Ski Vacations in the Canadian Rockies (HI Kananaskis Hostel)

Read: Spring Adventures on the Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park (HI Mosquito Creek)

Read: Family Spring Touring Weekend in Banff (Hi Castle Mountain)

Mosquito Creek is a magical place to explore!

6. Enjoy the Last of Winter on the Icefields Parkway - We love spring snowshoeing while staying at the HI Hilda Creek Wilderness Hostel. And HI Rampart Creek is another great hostel along the Parkway as well. You'll find snow well into May if you travel out past Lake Louise towards the Columbia Icefields.

Read: Easter at the Best Wilderness Hostel in the Canadian Rockies - HI Hilda Creek

Read: Rampart Creek: Our New Favourite Wilderness Hostel 

Read: Spring Adventures on the Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park - HI Mosquito Creek

Spring Visit to Peyto Lake, Icefields Parkway 


7. Enjoy one final winter hike, one last snowshoe outing, or one more cross-country ski day

Read: The BEST of Winter in the Canadian Rockies (Gotta do THIS!)

Spring on the Icefields Parkway aat Hilda Creek

8. Go Snowshoeing - When snow is too warm for skiing, it's still great for a winter hike!

Read: Family Snowshoeing Super Guide  

Snowshoeing on the Icefields Parkway

9. Visit the Canmore Nordic Centre for a day - With daily fresh grooming, this is a great place to enjoy some spring cross-country skiing.

Skiing to the Meadow Hut at the Canmore Nordic Centre

10. Enjoy those frozen waterfalls and canyons before they melt!

Read: 5 Reasons families Love Visiting Troll Falls in the Winter

Read: Chasing Frozen Waterfalls in Kananaskis! Troll Falls and beyond to the Upper Falls

Read: The Most Popular Hike in Banff - without the crowds (Johnston Canyon)

Read: Grotto Canyon Ice Walk - 5 Reasons we Love this Hike 

Read: The Wildest Winter Canyon Hike in Kananaskis (Jura Creek)

Read:  Spring Adventures on the Icefields Parkway, Banff  (Mosquito Creek Icefalls)


Troll Falls, Kananaskis


Late Spring / NO More Snow Please!! 



1. Hike Prairie Mountain in the Elbow Valley - our annual first summit (most years in March)

Read: First Summits: Prairie Mountain, Kananaskis

March hiking on Prairie Mountain, Kananaskis

2. Go Biking on Highway 66 in the Elbow Valley - An annual tradition for us as soon as the snow melts off the highway (in some years, as early as mid-March!) Bike on the closed highway which doesn't open to traffic until May 15th.


3. Bike and Hike around Bow Valley Provincial Park - 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 on May 3, 2019


Read: The Best Spring Bike Rides in Kananaskis 

Biking the campground roads through Bow Valley Provincial Park 

4. Bike the Paved Bill Milne Trail at Kananaskis Village - Free of ice and snow by mid to late April


5. Plan a Day Trip to Canmore - the bike trails around town are always dry by mid April 


6. Go Camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park - the Bow Valley Campground opens late April to early May (this year it opens May 3rd for 2019)

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

7. Plan a Day Trip to Banff 



8. Enjoy one of our TOP TEN FAVOURITE SPRING FAMILY HIKES in Kananaskis 

Spring Hiking in Bow Valley Provincial Park

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

Read about the adventure in this Gotta do THIS April Story (paragraph 3)


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 April in this sunny valley, and we love camping in Radium Hot Springs for Mother's Day.





Spring biking in the Columbia Valley


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


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 


Family Road Ride on Highway 40 to Cat Creek Falls

13. 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



14. Go Camping in the Alberta Badlands - Before it gets too hot and while the bugs are still sleeping.





Hiking in Dinosaur Provincial Park 

15. Plan a Spring Biking Weekend at Nipika Mountain Resort in BC - Ideal for the Mother's Day weekend.

Read: Kids on Wheels - Nipika Mountain Resort 


16. 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.


April paddling on the Kananaskis River

17. Take a Spring Glacier Adventure on the Icefields Parkway! - Ride an ice explorer bus onto the Athabasca Glacier, walk around on the glacier, and then explore the Glacier Skywalk, a cliff-edged glass sidewalk. The season opens in April each year - And you know it'll be a lot less busy in April!

Read: Local's Guide to Exploring the Best of Banff and Jasper

Read: Day Trip to the Columbia Icefields Centre to Walk on a Glacier 

Glacier Adventure on the Icefields Parkway

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:


Hello Wheels! Success Strategies for Pedaling into another Bike Season 

5 Steps to Crushing Local Mountain Bike Trails as a Family 

First Summits for Families in the Canadian Rockies

The Best Spring and Fall Hikes near Calgary 

The Best of Summer in the Canadian Rockies

Camping Super Guide


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