If you love to hike, then you are spoiled for choices in beautiful Alberta. There are so many lovely hiking trails you can explore, parks to walk through, forests to wander and even downtown hiking to enjoy. Let’s look at some of the best hiking areas in Alberta and talk about where you should and shouldn’t be hiking.
What to Watch out for
There are some areas of Alberta where wildlife roam free, and that’s part of the joy of hiking. You never know what kind of animal you will come across when you are out and about.
The number one tip we can give you about animals while hiking is to not interact with them. Don’t try to feed them, don’t disturb their homes, and don’t try to pet them. Smaller animals can be aggressive when disturbed, and even harmless looking animals can hurt you if they feel threatened.
You especially want to be careful about staying clear of moose and bears. You may find small ones out in the wild and be tempted to interact with them, but their parents can be close by and may attack if they feel their young ones are in danger.
If you want to keep yourself safe from wild animals while hiking, try to stay in groups and stay on designated hiking trails. Animals are used to people walking there and will likely stay away from those areas. Also bring bear spray to help deal with bears, and follow advice from your hiking guide, if you have one.
Roads don’t make good hiking trails. You will constantly need to watch for cars, but if you have to hike in the road, try to make sure that you wear bright coloured clothing. Also, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic so that you can see cars coming.
Where Are the Best Places to Hike in Alberta?
The Canadian Rockies are a great place to hike, full of winding trails through nature’s prettiest locations and breathtaking views. There is more than just hiking on offer here, as you can find opportunities to canoe, swim, camp, mountain bike, and walk. Some of the hiking trails in the Rockies are very challenging, taking you up the sides of mountains. Others are easier to handle, and you will want to choose trails that are suitable for your skill level and ability.
Check out the glacial lakes around the Rockies, as well as mountaintop trails that are great for photo opportunities and high-altitude camping. Some places are high enough that you’ll want to watch your oxygen intake, though. If you know where to look, you can even find some waterfalls.
There are a few really challenging hiking trails for those who want to push themselves and see what they are capable of. For these brave souls, there is the Devil’s Thumb that can be found off of the Lake Agnes trail. Ha Ling Peak is another challenging trek, as well as East End of Rundle.
There are some great moderately challenging trails as well that are more suitable for those who hike frequently but don’t engage the tougher trails too often. We would recommend Big Beehive Trail for them, as well as Yates Mountain, which has a few high-altitude areas but doesn’t require any special climbing gear at all. You can do this one if you have plenty of energy and are able to commit a few hours to your hike. Another good moderate hiking trail in Alberta is to take Galatea Creek to Lilian lake, and the space between the two is about 25 minutes of walking at a moderate pace and over varied terrain.
There are some lovely low level hiking trails as well that are easy enough for anyone to do, even if you only hike a few times a year. For someone who would not consider themselves a hiker but who would like to do some hiking, we recommend trying the Johnston Canyon Trail all the way to Upper Falls. You could also do the Tunnel Mountain Trail or give the Upper Grassi Lake Trail Loop a go.
How to Prepare
What do you need to do before your hike and what should you wear on your hike? Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Calgary or wider Alberta hiking excursions.
Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before, and then eat a hearty breakfast in the morning. You want to have lots of energy for the hike ahead, especially if you are doing a challenging hiking trail or you haven’t done much hiking recently. Your body will likely tire out quickly if you are putting it through more exertion than what it is used to. Try to eat a lot of carbohydrates if you can, as these give you long term energy.
Keep in mind that hiking can take longer than the suggested time. You will need time to get to the trail, walk the trail and then return back from the hike. You may not feel like you have energy left to do anything afterwards, so it’s a good idea to clear your schedule. Hannah with House Cleaner NYC says “You may even want to hire a cleaning service to do some tidying up for you so that you can take it easy after your hike”.
It’s important to wear the right clothes and bring the right gear for your hike. Wear clothes at allow you to breathe and that provide protection from bugs, branches, and brush. Wear appropriate shoes for the hike as well, like sneakers, hiking boots, or something else that will give you good traction and offer support on the uneven ground.
You may want to bring some snacks with you to keep your energy up and plenty of water to keep from becoming dehydrated. Always bring more water than you think you will need, just so you don’t run into any problems.