Kananaskis Country


Kananaskis Country Itineraries

Kananaskis Country itineraries can be designed for a variety of interests and budgets, but you should always plan in advance and make hotel or camping reservations as soon as possible.

I love planning a camping getaway to Kananaskis Country, especially in summer, when the crowds in Banff can be unbearable — but this is about planning your trip. If you’re based in Canmore, Banff, or even Calgary, you can easily visit Kananaskis Country in a day, spending your time sightseeing and hiking along Highway 40, then looping back to the TransCanada Highway via Spray Valley Provincial Park.

But you should plan to stay longer than a day. If you’re camping, you’ll be amazed at the number of options (2,300 auto-accessible campsites in 31 campgrounds) and the lack of crowds compared to the national parks. Be warned, though; Calgarians are well aware of this mountain wilderness. Therefore, make Kananaskis Country camping reservations well in advance. For creature comforts, book a two-night stay at the hotel in KANANASKIS VILLAGE, and you’ll have time to combine the very best hikes with a round of golf or an extended bike ride.

Kananaskis Country in One Day

The best way to see the highlights of Kananaskis Country in a single day is to travel in a loop along Highway 40, Smith-Dorrien/Spray Trail, and the Trans-Canada Highway. Distance is around 200 km, but there are so many worthwhile stops that your day will fill quickly.

Starting from KANANASKIS VILLAGE (the Market Café has lunches to go), head south to HIGHWOOD PASS, the highest highway pass in the Canadian Rockies.

Continue on foot from the pass into PTARMIGAN CIRQUE, which is high above the treeline and filled with alpine wildflowers in late July.

Ptarmigan Cirque.

Ptarmigan Cirque.

UPPER AND LOWER KANANASKIS LAKES are accessible by road from the valley floor and have extensive shorelines to explore, as well as good fishing.

From here, head north to SPRAY VALLEY PROVINCIAL PARK, which protects a massive reservoir, the perfect place for a lakeside stroll.

Continue north to Canmore and then head east toward Calgary; next, go south on Highway 40 to CANOE MEADOWS, where you can watch kayakers and surfers try their skills on river waves.

Return to Kananaskis Village to enjoy a casual meal at Woody’s Pub or an intimate dining experience at the Cedar Room.