Fall in Alberta is pretty much the best.
There, we said it.
If you need proof, you might have to get out of the city to stretch out your legs a little – but we promise you won’t be sorry you did. Here are three day trips to lead you down the right path, all within a two-hour drive.
Views to Make Your Jaw Drop: Lake Louise
There really is no prettier time of year to get out into the Rockies, with the leaves changing from green to gold literally right before your eyes. It’s also a great time to hike without looking like you jumped into the glacial lake, as cooler mountain breezes keep temperatures just moderate enough for a light sweater.
Some of the best hikes around are actually super easy to find if you only know they’re there. Starting from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, you can do the popular (for a reason) Lake Agnes Tea House Trail. Bring cash and try something from their extensive tea list. After your break, do yourself and your heart a favour and keep going around the lake and up to the Big Beehive for stellar photo-ops and a great workout. You’ll be begging to stop halfway up, but push yourself. As usual, the reward is worth it.
And if that’s not enough of a reward, the cocktails at the Lakeview Lounge inside the Chateau should do the trick.
The Real-Life Land Before Time: Drumheller
If you feel like you’re the only person on Facebook who hasn’t been to see the dinosaurs, there’s a reason for that. The Royal Tyrell Museum is the world’s largest display of dinosaur fossils, so trust us when we say it really is a must-see. Checking out what this region looked like when it was under water 375 million years ago is pretty cool if you ask us, and so is getting up-close-and-personal with a T-Rex. If you can borrow some kids to justify it – that works, too.
When you’ve had enough Jurassic Park jokes for the day, head outside and check out the Hoodoos. If you haven’t been here before, we promise you’ve never seen anything like them. Explore these sandstone rock formations from an observation ramp on Highway 10 (Hoodoo Trail), or pick up a map at the museum for an interpretive tour of the Midlands Provincial Park to plan your own route. Jeff Goldblum would be proud.
Backyard Bliss: Bragg Creek
Only a 45-minute drive west from Calgary is the adorable hamlet of Bragg Creek. For a town this small, there are a surprising number of things to do depending on your mood.
If you’re feeling ambitious, take on Nihahi Ridge, a steep three to four-hour hike where you’ll gain over 800 metres and some serious bragging rights.
For a more relaxing day out, head to the Diamond T Loop and wander around for an hour or two before heading back in for the best dinner you’ve had in a while.
The Italian Farmhouse may look smalltown from the outside, but the service, menu and interior design are so amazing they’ll fight for top spot on your all-time favourites list. It’s the kind of place you’ll trust your server to recommend a perfect wine pairing and won’t want to leave without having dessert. That’s a promise.