Photo: Travel Alberta / Sean Thonson
The mountains in Kananaskis Country
seem a bit less imposing than those in nearby Banff National Park – not quite as high, trees farther up the slopes, but every bit as beautiful. A scenic driving loop
through these front ranges of the Rockies provides ample opportunity to view wildlife from the comfort of a vehicle or while hiking, biking or riding horseback along spectacular trails.
Where to Begin
Visitors begin this journey at Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
where there are more than 100 km of trails for roller skiing, running, hiking and mountain biking with onsite equipment rentals. One of the best hikes in the park is the 1- 2 hour Grassi Lakes Interpretive Trail
, which leads to views of a waterfall and two lakes. Bears, cougars, wolves, lynx, elk and other wildlife frequent the area.
The Smith-Dorrien Trail (Hwy 742) through Kananaskis Country
is a well-maintained gravel highway with spectacular mountain scenery and great hiking trails. Visitors may see moose, coyotes, deer, elk and the odd bear along the way. Mount Engadine Lodge
makes a refreshing stop for a hearty afternoon tea and visitors can often watch moose in the meadow while they dine.
Highway 40 leads to Kananaskis Village and there are many great trails
to explore along the way. In the village, visitors can rent mountain bikes
and explore the many bike trails in the area. To experience Kananaskis on horseback, visitors can make a stop at Boundary Ranch
before heading back to Canmore, west on the Trans-Canada (Hwy 1).