Best Day Trips and Picnic Sites

Banff:


Johnson Lake, Lake Minnewanka Loop (swimming, beach, walking path, picnic sites, fire pits)

Cascade ponds, Lake Minnewanka Loop (swimming, fire pits, and walking paths)

Cascade Ponds

Sundance Canyon, Banff town site (8km return hike on a paved trail plus loop through the canyon possible, picnic tables and outhouse at the entrance of the canyon)

Kananaskis:


Ribbon Creek, Spray Valley Provincial Park (hiking and biking trails, access for Troll Falls hike, fire pits, close to Kananaskis Village. 

Ribbon Creek

Kananaskis Village, Spray Valley Provincial Park (If you want fire pits your best bet is Ribbon Creek below the Village but there is a picnic area at the Village.  You'll also find a playground, coffee shop, ice cream, pond area for the kids to play at, and a paved walking trail called the Terrace Rim Trail that is lined with wild flowers and benches for enjoying views across the valley.  The Bill Milne paved bike trail connects the Village to Ribbon Creek below as do a variety of other hiking trails)

Village Rim Trail, Kananaskis Village


Wedge Pond, Spray Valley Provincial Park (no fire pits but lovely picnic site on a pond that's great for a quick dip on a hot day.  Lots of picnic tables up above the pond and two tables right at the pond on a small beach area.  There's also a walking loop around the pond.)

Wedge Pond

Kovach pond, Spray Valley Provincial Park (no fire pits but nice picnic site beside the pond with a path that loops it)

Allen Bill Pond, Elbow River Provincial Recreation Area (access point for the Fullerton trail hike, hike around the pond on a paved trail, fishing, play beside the lake, secluded picnic sites located around the lake)

Allen Bill Pond Day Use Area

Forget-me-not Pond, Little Elbow Provincial Recreation Area (hiking trails, bike trails, play by the river, fishing, picnic tables but no fire pits)

Elbow Falls day use area, Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area (Picnic tables, fire pits, waterfalls and short little trails)

Elbow River at Elbow Falls Day Use Area
 Beaver Lodge day use area, Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area (Simple area with walk-in picnic tables and a great little hiking trail along a creek and beaver ponds.  This day use area sees less traffic than most and lots of fun can be had along the creek)

Beaver Lodge Trail

Quarry Lake, Canmore (bring everything for a day at the beach.  Plan to swim on hot days.  No fire pits and few tables so bring a blanket for an old fashioned picnic)


Quarry Lake

White Fish day use area, Bow Valley Provincial Park (access point for the Many Springs trail, hiking along the Bow River, picnic tables and fire pits beside the river)

White Fish Day Use Area on the Bow River

Boulton Creek Bridge day use area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (fire pits, hiking along Boulton Creek Interpretive Trail, ice cream at the Boulton Creek Trading Post)

Lower Lake day use area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (another lovely spot right on the Lower Lake with fire pits.  Alternately, park at William Watson Lodge and follow the paved trail down to a very scenic spot right on the lake where kids can play on the boulders leading down to the beach and throw rocks in the water.  There are a few benches here but no tables.  This is also the access point for the Lower Lake Trail which follows the lake to Canyon Day use area)


Lower Lake below William Watson Lodge

Upper Kananaskis Lake day use area, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (access point for Rawson Lake, hiking possible towards Interlakes along the lake, picnic tables and fire pits beside the lake, canoeing)

Upper Kananaskis Lake

Cat Creek day use area, Cat Creek Provincial Recreation Area (access point for the lovely Cat Creek waterfall hike, fire pits beside the Highwood River, great place for kids to throw rocks in the river)

Cat Creek Falls

Cataract Creek day use area, Cataract Creek Provincial Recreation Area (access point for the Cataract Creek hiking trail, fire pits)

Sheep Falls day use area, Sheep River Provincial Park (waterfalls are a short walk from the day use area and are much bigger than Elbow Falls.  Lovely picnic site with fire pits)

Sheep Falls

Sandy McNabb day use area, Sheep River Provincial Park (interpretive hiking trail with views over the Sheep River, tables and fire pits right beside the Sheep River)

Sibbald Lake day use area, Sibbald Lake Provincial Recreation Area (access point for Deer Ridge, interpretive trail, fire pits and tables beside the lake)

 

For directions and more information, please visit  the official  Kananaskis Website here.  There is information on day use areas as well as all hiking trails in the park.  

 

For Banff, visit the Parks Canada website here.   

Note:  Because of recent flooding in Banff and Kananaskis, some of these day use areas are currently inaccessible or not recommended. To find current conditions, please visit the Kananaskis parks website.  For current conditions in Banff, visit the Parks Canada website


5 comments:

  1. Great list, Tanya. We might just use one of those suggestions this weekend!

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    1. Great Christine, glad to hear.

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    2. Wow, the pictures have me drooling over these sites. Wish they were closer to home for me.

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