So far, we have highlighted Grey Goose Notable places for a variety of occasions, from the weekend country escape, to the refined ski vacation and the ultimate glamorous camping experience. Now, why not tap into your inner Western spirit with a scenic adventure in the stunning Canadian Rockies? A year-round outdoor playground, Kananaskis Country is Alberta’s hidden gem. Situated just west of Calgary and southeast of Banff, surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, the region provides a memorable trip for everything from a camping adventure of a lifetime to a luxury vacation at a top-notch hotel. Picture something-out-of-a-painting towering mountains, clear pristine lakes and rivers, evergreen valleys, and glacial streams. Kananaskis Country is a breathtaking location that oozes with western hospitality and offers outdoor adventures during any season.
For the outdoor enthusiasts, the region offers whitewater rafting on the Kananaskis River and over 150 kilometres of summer hiking, biking and interpretive trails, as well as extensive cross-country trails. Certain hiking trails also provide access to Banff National Park and Elk Lakes Provincial Park in British Columbia. A necessity for most YP vacations, the 36-hole Kananaskis Country Golf Course is set among a scenic backdrop and challenges all levels of golfers. There is fun to be had in the winter as well, like cross country skiing, downhill skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing and horse-drawn sleigh adventures below the snow-covered mountains. For the adventurous, helicopter tours are conducted over the Rocky Mountains and operate year-round. To make things easy (because nobody wants to spend their vacation planning), The Park Visitor Centre provides information on facilities and recreation opportunities.
An assortment of quaint restaurants is found in Kananaskis Village, from fine dining places with a view to a sports bar and cute cafes. There are also accommodations to suit each type of vacation, from rustic to luxurious. For those YPs with a “spa mandatory” policy on vacations, in Kananaskis Village you will find Delta Lodge at Kananaskis. “Grade A” enough to attract the G8 world leaders, Delta Lodge at Kananaskis offers a luxurious stay, complete with feather-soft pillows, plush duvets, terry cloth bathrobes and a revitalizing spa. Unwind in the tranquil Signature Club Lounge with a dirty Grey Goose martini from the honour bar, or enjoy the day-long offerings at the Fireweed Grill. Restaurant choices range from a deli to an upscale steakhouse and an Italian restaurant, as well as pub fare. The Summit Spa & Fitness (complete with the 17-metre indoor, saltwater pool) has all of your pampering and stress-relieving needs covered. All that physical activity can leave your muscles aching, after all, and a massage or body wrap is the perfect way to end the day.
For quite a different experience, Sundance Lodges offers tipis and comfortable trapper’s tents, each with a wooden floor, wood frame beds with foam mattresses, a small heater and lantern inside. A personal fire pit and picnic table are outside each site. It’s not quite glamping, but a far cry from typically damp tarps and airmatresses. If traditional “roughing it” camping is indeed your thing, Sundance Lodges also offers un-serviced secluded campsites. Guests can either bring their own bedding and camping supplies or rent supplies from the Trading Post. Much like your typical campground, guests can enjoy badminton, volleyball, soccer, bocce ball and horseshoes. If you’re going to camp, you may as well do it properly, set among the best of the Canadian wilderness.
For a truly western experience, don your cowboy boots, cowboy hats and plaid and hit Kananaskis Guest Ranch. With a long history of providing western hospitality, it offers some of the most authentic western Canadian events in the Rockies. Located at the entrance to Canada’s Rocky Mountains, they offer things like horseback rides (including overnight horse trips), large-scale western-style barbeques, whitewater rafting, Wild West rodeos, canoe trips, fishing and even an 18-hole golf course. The best part is the rodeos, which may accommodate groups of up to 1000, and are perfect for a team-building business trip or even an unforgettable destination wedding.
The Kananaskis Guest Ranch Rodeo is held at the foot of Yamnuska Mountain in the Canadian Rockies, and is an hour of entertainment produced exclusively for groups. The Rodeo entertainment package includes the Five Event, hour-long Rodeo, Saddle Bronc Riding, Ladies Barrel Racing, Break-Away Calf Roping, Ladies Trick Riding, and, one of the most exciting Rodeo Events, Bull Riding. The western experience is complete with gunfighter shows, live Western bands and native dancers. To let loose and enjoy, the Ranch offers a full bar service for the audience and a Western barbecue tops off the Rodeo Evening. Two and four-day horse trips depart the Ranch June to September and offer rustic log cabin accommodations. All-inclusive packages include: Weddings, Reunions, Private Rodeos and, the family specialty, Western Barbecues.
When planning your 2013 vacation schedule, be sure to check out options in Kananaskis Country for a memorable trip for all tastes that will make you rediscover the beauty in your own backyard.
There are a variety of packages available to explore the region.
Photos courtesy Delta Lodge at Kananaskis