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Our Favourite Weekend Road Trips from Calgary

Kayla Young February 1, 2019
Family Winter Road Trips

Sometimes, the hardest part of taking a road trip is deciding where to go. As it turns out, there’s an incredibly long list of amazing road trip destinations to explore that are less than 500 km from Calgary. If you’re feeling the itch to get out of the city, why not check out one of these weekend road trip ideas?

6 of the Best Weekend Road Trips from Calgary

Kootenay National Park, AB – 166 km drive

Photo: invermerepanorama.com

Take a drive through Kootenay National Park and stop at the Lake Windermere Whiteway,  which at 34 km is the longest Skating Path in the World. Whether skating, cross country skiing, or skate skiing is your thing, there’s plenty of room to try any or all three. Panorama Nordic Centre is close by and has more than 20 km of trails available for skiing, snowboarding, and skate skiing as well. After you’ve spent the day in the snow, take a short drive to  Radium Hot Springs, where you can warm up in the hot pool and play a game of eye-spy as you look for bighorn sheep scaling the nearby cliffs. Radium has restaurants that everyone in the family will enjoy, including Helna’s Stube Restaurant, Don Agave Cantina, and Citadella Restaurant.

Lake Louise, AB – 193 km drive

There’s no doubt that you’ve seen stunning photos of a beautiful lake (whether thawed or frozen over) surrounded by majestic mountain peaks at least once on your social media feed. That’s Lake Louise. It’s one of Alberta’s most gorgeous gems, and there’s no shortage of things to do if you decide to visit here. Take a gondola 6850 feet to the top for a sightseeing expedition, and visit the Tube Park when you get back to the bottom! Go on a scenic winter hike, or try cross-country skiing or snowboarding! Whether you decide to stay there or not, be sure to make a stop at the beautiful Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for ice skating and sleigh rides. There are tons of popular places for families to grab a bite to eat, including Baker Creek Bistro, the iconic Lakeview LoungeThe Station Restaurant and Lake Agnes Tea House (this one you have to earn at the end of a 3.5 km hike!)

Golden, BC – 275 km drive

 

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If you’ve never been to Golden, British Columbia, it’s time to make the trip! Although Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has incredible snow, it’s a bit of a hidden gem and has fewer tourists than a lot of other Rocky Mountain resorts, meaning shorter lift lines. There are lots of other great outdoor activities to check out aside from skiing, including ice climbing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, fat biking and snowshoeing. The town of Golden is full of great places to eat, including the Double Black Café, Cedar House Restaurant, The Island and ELEVEN22 Restaurant. Years ago, a group of our friends decided to go together and rent a house to stay in Golden for the weekend, and we loved every relaxing minute of exploring the town, trying out the food, and taking in the beautiful scenery!

Edmonton, AB – 316 km drive

 

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Edmontonians have embraced the phrase, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” when it comes to making the most out of winter. There are so many fun things to do in this chilly city that make it well worth the 3-hour drive. First, there are the incredible Ice Castles in Hawrelak Park that will make you feel like you’ve transported yourself straight into Narnia. The Ice on Whyte Festival, which features ice carving, food and beverages runs from January 24-February 3; we used to love checking this festival out every year when we lived in E-Town! There’s also the Silver Skate Festival from February 8-18 which includes ice sculptures, winter sports, horse-drawn sleighs, a Cree Winter Camp, live music and more. If festivals aren’t your thing, there’s still so much to see and do in Edmonton, whether it’s visiting the world famous West Edmonton Mall, or checking out some of the amazing venues in the Ice District like Royal Alberta Museum, or the Art Gallery of Alberta. Don’t forget to take in a hockey game or concert at Rogers Place! There are so many amazing places to eat in Edmonton, but some of our favourites are Oodle Noodle (an Edmonton staple), Bul Go Gi House, The Next Act Pub, Tres Carnales Taqueria, and the Sugar Bowl.

Jasper, AB – 424 km drive

 

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On your way to Jasper, be sure to take the route that includes the Icefields Parkway – a drive that passes through the Columbia Icefield and provides incredible views of the Athabasca Glacier, which is the most visited glacier in North America. If you’re feeling brave, step out onto the Glacier Skywalk – a one-kilometre walkway that features views of waterfalls and wildlife, 918 feet above ground. As you continue on to Jasper, take a detour to Abraham Lake. You won’t regret it. The beauty of this man-made lake will take your breath away as you stand on the surface and admire the frozen ice bubbles trapped under your feet.

If you don’t know where to start exploring Jasper? Why not book yourself a tour? Whether you want to check out wildlife, hop on a train, snap the perfect photo, or munch your way through downtown, there’s a tour that everyone in the family will love. Since 2011, Jasper National Park has been a designated Dark Sky Preserve, which means you will have incredible views of the night sky since almost no artificial light is visible at night. Check out the Jasper Planetarium, which includes a 50 seat domed theatre, live space experts, and the largest telescope in the Rockies!

Whitefish, MT – 432 km drive

 

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Although this one is a bit of a jaunt from Calgary and involves a border crossing, I’ve been told by multiple sources that Whitefish, Montana, could not be left off of this list. Whitefish Mountain is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding, and the town’s proximity to Glacier National Park, Bigfork and Kalispell make it the perfect base to explore everything nearby. The Great Northern Brewing Company and Bonsai Brewing Project are two popular breweries that have received rave reviews on Trip Advisor, and visitors swear by local restaurants like Loula’s, Buffalo Café and Whitefish Lake Restaurant.

Will you be taking a road trip to visit any of these incredible destinations? Do you have a favourite weekend road trip that we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

 

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