Monday, June 11, 2018

The BEST of Summer in the Canadian Rockies - updated 2024

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

This guide has been checked for 2023 and is updated annually. I also add new suggestions regularly.

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 Adventure Bucket List for Revelstoke, BC 

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. 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

6. 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.

This story gets updated every time we climb a new mountain.

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

7. 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!

8. 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: Hike Moraine Lake to Lake Louise (via Sentinel and Saddleback Pass)

Premier scenery in Jasper National Park on top of Whistlers Mountain

9. Explore the Icefields Parkway and Walk on a Glacier!

Explore the incredible Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper this summer and even take a tour on the Athabasca Glacier! 

Hiking across the Athabasca Glacier 

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 an awesome day hike with the family

Read: Best Toddler and Preschool Hikes near Calgary

Read: Troll Falls and The Upper Falls, Family Hiking in Kananaskis

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 

Easy scenic hiking in Sunshine Meadows, Sunshine Village Resort

13. Try a guided Via Ferrata experience with your family at Mt. Norquay

Mount Norquay Via Ferrata, Banff 

14. Ride a rollercoaster down a mountain!

Read: Summer Fun at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC 

An awesome way to get down a mountain! 

15. 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 

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

Backcountry Cabin Adventure in Yoho National Park, BC 

17. Try comfort camping or glamping 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 

Read: Backcountry Glamping at Shadow Lake Lodge, Banff National Park

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: SUP Calgary The Best Places to try Stand Up Paddleboarding In and Around Calgary 

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: Easy Family Day Trip on the Columbia River (Invermere to Radium Hot Springs)

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

Know before you go! New and recent changes for 2024

Visiting Lake Louise

Parking fees are now in effect if you want to visit Lake Louise. Visit the Banff National Park website for more information on parking, shuttle bus service, or Roam Transit access.

Visiting Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake Road is now closed to personal vehicles year round. Parks Canada shuttles, Roam Public Transit, and commercial buses are permitted from June to mid-October. Visit the Banff National Park website for more information on shuttle service and reservations for shuttle busses. 

Restriction on the use of non-motorized watercraft, fishing equipment and aquatic recreational equipment in the National Parks

A self-certification permit is now required if you want to canoe, kayak, stand up paddle, fish, or play in any of the lakes or rivers in Banff, Yoho, or Kootenay National Park. Basically the permit states that you have cleaned and dried your vessel and equipment before heading to the water. For more information visit the Banff National Park website 

Also read the frequently asked questions about the self-certification permit and download the permit to fill out at this link

No Paddling allowed in Yoho National Park for the 2024 summer season - Read more on the Parks Canada website. 

And there are restrictions against use of personal boats in Waterton as well.

All non-motorized watercraft from outside of the park are prohibited from entering water bodies in Waterton Lakes National Park for the 2024 summer season.  Read more on the Waterton Lakes National Park website.

The New Kananaskis Conservation Pass

A day pass or annual pass is now required if you want to visit Kananaskis for a day or for an overnight trip. You can find more information on the conservation pass here

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