Monday, June 11, 2018

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

Continuing with my "Gotta do THIS" seasonal series, here is my "BEST of Summer Guide" for the Canadian Rockies (and beyond.) I encourage you to save this post because I will be updating it every time we find something new and awesome that I want to share with you.

Summer at Sunshine Village, Banff

Summer Guide Disclaimer: Please check local trail reports before heading out on any hike or consult visitor centres before planning your trip. I update this guide annually, but things change quickly, and the trail or destination you want to visit might be closed for construction, wildlife danger, or for reasons related to Covid-19 this year.

Also, please recognize that I started this guide before Covid-19 became our new reality. If you don't feel comfortable traveling out of province this summer, please just skip over those suggestions and look for ones that your family feels would be safe at this time.

Beach Time at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, BC


The BEST of Summer in the Canadian Rockies 



1. Go camping! Bonus points if it's somewhere new. 


- Read my Camping Super Guide here with campground reviews across Alberta and BC and guides on "family camping made easy."


Camping at Red Streak Campground, Radium Hot Springs, BC

2. Take a family road trip (and find a new favourite family beach.)


Read: 5 Destinations to Explore on your Summer Road Trip

Read: The Importance of Summer Vacations (and the BEST of the Okanagan Valley)

Read: The Best of the Columbia Valley (Radium Hot Springs to Invermere - and beyond)

Read: Family Touring around Nelson and the West Kootenays, British Columbia 

Read: Five Reasons you need to Visit Fairmont Hot Springs Resort with your Family


Beach time in the Okanagan, Peachland, BC 

3. Find a new favourite bike trail! 


Read: 5 Steps to Crushing Local Mountain Bike Trails as a Family (with links to all of my popular biking stories)

Biking in the Columbia Valley near Invermere, BC

4. Visit a mountain bike skills park with the kids 


Read: Kids on Wheels: Pump Tracks and Mountain Bike Parks - with information on all of the mountain bike skills parks we've visited across Alberta and BC.

Bike Park in Blackfalds, Central Alberta

5. Try downhill mountain biking at WinSport's Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. 


WinSport has also created an awesome skills park that you can pay to use separately if you don't want to do lift-accessed riding. (There is information on the skills park in my story above, number 4, on pump tracks and bike parks.)

*** 2020 Summer Alert: The chairlift will not be operating this summer for lift accessed mountain biking. Please contact WinSport for more information on trails that will be open for riding. News on the skills park also hasn't been released yet.

All information on biking at WinSport can be found here.

Mountain biking at WinSport's Canada Olympic Park in Calgary

6. Bike a rail trail as a family 


Converted railway lines make excellent bike trails!

Read: Biking the Kettle Valley Railway from Kelowna to Osoyoos


Biking on the Kettle Valley Railway, above Naramata, BC

7. Climb a mountain as a family (Or try a gondola-accessed hiking!!)


Read: First Summits for Families in the Canadian Rockies - a resource guide with links to all of my family's first summits.


Climb a mountain as a family and get views like this!

8. Conquer five summits in one day - with the kids! 


Yes, it is possible! And you'll only do one big climb - with five summits accessible from the same pass.

Read: 5 Summit Day in Canmore (Kid-friendly)

5 Summit Day in Canmore with a group of Mighty Kids!

9. Explore the BEST of the Canadian Rockies - as a local


Enjoy the best hikes, take a boat tour, ride a gondola or walk on a glacier!

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

Read: Family Guide to Banff National Park - Top Ten Places to Explore with the Kids 

Read: Our Top Ten Favourite Things to do in Jasper 

Read: A Family Guide to the BEST Adventures on the Icefields Parkway (Lake Louise to Jasper) 



Premier scenery in Jasper National Park on top of Whistlers Mountain


10. Enjoy a picnic or a short day hike in the mountains


Read: Best Day Trips and Picnic Sites with links to all of my best picks for picnic sites and short day trips near Calgary.

Bow Valley Provincial Park in Kananaskis has many beautiful picnic areas

11. Enjoy a short day hike with the family


Read: Best Toddler and Preschool Hikes near Calgary

Hiking the Many Springs Trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park, Kananaskis

12. Visit a ski resort for lift-accessed day hiking 


Read: Sunshine Village in Summer! (Premier Lift Accessed Hiking in Banff National Park)

Read: Memorable Hiking and Sightseeing at the Lake Louise Gondola

Read: First Summits - Polar Peak, Fernie Alpine Resort 

Read: High on Adventure at Fernie and Kicking Horse Mountain Resorts 


*** 2020 Summer Alert: Sunshine Village will not be operating their sightseeing services this summer. There will be no gondola or bus access to the village for hiking.

Please visit the other resorts' websites for more information on how Covid-19 will affect their summer operations.


Easy scenic hiking in Sunshine Meadows, Sunshine Village Resort

13. Ride a rollercoaster down a mountain!


Read: Summer Fun at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC 

An awesome way to get down a mountain! 

14. Plan an adventure weekend away in Golden, BC 


Read: Epic Climbing on the Kicking Horse Via Ferrata in Golden, BC 

And for the kids, ride the gondola at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, take a hike, and visit Boo, the resident grizzly bear at his wildlife refuge.

Read: Family Adventure Bucket List for Golden, BC 

Adventure awaits on the Kicking Horse Via Ferrata in Golden 

15. Travel north to Edmonton to check out Alberta's coolest aerial park!


Read: Family Review of Edmonton's Snow Valley Aerial Park


Snow Valley Aerial Park, Edmonton


16. Try backcountry cabin camping


Read: Family Backcountry Cabin Camping in the Canadian Rockies

Read: Backcountry Cabin Camping with Kids - Stanley Mitchell Hut, BC

Read: Backpacking in the Bugaboos, Conrad Kain Hut (and our first family glacier traverse)

Read: Summer Backpacking Trip to the Asulkan Cabin, Rogers Pass

Read: Backcountry Cabin Camping with Kids - Elk Lakes Cabin, BC


*** 2020 Summer Alert: As of June 2020, all backcountry hut bookings have been cancelled. The Alpine Club hopes to open up huts at reduced capacity. Follow their website for more information as it is released.

Backcountry Cabin Adventure in Yoho National Park, BC 

17. Try comfort camping with the kids


Read: Moms' Comfort Camping Adventure at Sundance Lodges

Read: Alberta Comfort Camping Destination Guide 

Read: Mount Engadine Lodge Glamping Experience (expect decadence)

Read: Yurt Camping on top of a Mountain at Radius Retreat 


*** 2020 Summer Alert: Alberta Parks will not be offering comfort camping this summer. We are all waiting to see when Parks Canada will open their campgrounds so follow their website directly for more informtion.

Private campgrounds and resorts are open for comfort camping.

Comfort camping at Sundance Lodges, Kananaskis 


18. Try outdoor rock climbing as a family 


Read: Gym to Crag: How to Transition to Outdoor Rock Climbing


Outdoor rock climbing in Kananaskis


19. Try stand up paddle boarding as a family


Read: Touring the Canadian Rockies on a Stand up Paddle Board 

Read: 5 Reasons to Introduce Stand up Paddleboarding to the Family 





20. Spend a day (or a weekend) floating down a river with the family


Read: Campsite to River! Camping and Floating across Southern Alberta

Read: Find us in the River - Camp Life at Writing on Stone Provincial Park 

Read: Paddling and Camping on the Columbia River with Kids 

Read: Paddling the Alberta Badlands 

Read: Easy Overnight Paddling Trips for the Whole Family

Read: Easy Family Paddling Day Trip on the Bow River through Banff 

Read: Family Canoeing and Kayaking in the Canadian Rockies 


Paddling down the Milk River in Southern Alberta



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