Are you and your sweatheart tired of binge-watching the latest Netflix hit? Seeking more adventure in your weekends? You’re in luck! Alberta has adventure around every bend in the road.
1. Sunshine Meadows
Alberta is home to Canada’s one of the best hiking location — Sunshine Meadows, a stunning alpine setting in the Canadian Rockies. Nestled among some of the Rockies’ highest mountain peaks, the panoramic views are beyond any other. Ride the gondola and take the Standish chairlift to access the Meadows for some of the best hiking the Rockies has to offer. There are guided hikes available with pickup from the Banff town site, but you can also hike on your own to explore fields of wildflowers or a forest of larch trees turned a vivid yellow in autumn. The trail between Sunshine Village and Mt. Shark trailheads is a favourite for many backpackers who continue on to Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park. End your day at Sunshine Mountain Lodge, the ski-in, ski-out lodge of Sunshine Village (Sunshine Meadows is Sunshine Village Ski Resort in winter).
2. Via Ferrata
See Banff from a whole new angle by climbing Mount Norquay’s Via Ferrata. This unique climbing experience takes hiking to a whole new level! Ride up to the site on an open chairlift, watching for wildlife below. Experienced guides at the top provide all the gear you need (and an in-depth safety orientation), then using an anchoring system of cables and ladders, you’ll conquer pitches and cross a suspension bridge up the mountain. Choose from a 2.5 hour intro climb or the longer 4, 5, or 6 hour routes. When you finish, you’ll literally be on top of the world!
3. Ski Vacations
Bundle up and hit the slopes for winter adventure! The Canadian Rockies are an obvious choice with the legendary, airy powder revered by skiers worldwide. Sunshine Village, Jasper National Park’s Marmot Basin and The Lake Louise Ski Resort and Gondola are definite favourites in the heart of the Rockies, with acres of skiable terrain that speaks for itself. For more the thrill-seeking couples, try heli-skiing in the backcountry, where pure virgin runs await. But you don’t have to take a trip to the mountains to hit the slopes. Elkwater’s Hidden Valley Ski Resort, Red Deer’s Canyon Ski Resort (Alberta’s largest non-mountain resort), and Leduc’s Rabbit Hill Snow Resort (the largest in the Edmonton area) are all great choices for staying closer to home this weekend.
4. Backcountry Backpacking
One-on-one time in the wilderness? Sounds perfect. Head off the beaten path and backpack through some backcountry trails to discover Mother Nature at her finest. There are backcountry huts and campgrounds throughout the province for overnight stays to make it a weekend getaway. Stargaze at dark sky preserves in Elk Island and Jasper National Park, watching for Northern Lights to brighten up the night. Head deep into the parks to see budding trees in spring, fields of wildflowers in the summer, and the riot of colours as autumn comes alive. Keep an eye out for bears, moose, elk, deer, and many more wild animals that call Alberta home.
Canoeing in Alberta’s lakes and rivers is experiencing nature at its finest – the sound of lapping water against your canoe, fish jumping, the call of a loon… You’ll get lost in the moment and each other as you explore the water. Find the best experience whether you are new to canoeing or are a paddling pro. There are several access points to the North Saskatchewan River in Devon and in Edmonton’s River Valley. Head up north to the Peace River, where unlimited take out possibilities allow for chilling on the banks or exploring islands.
6. Ranch Vacations
Unleash your inner cowboy and get home on the range with a getaway on a working ranch. Practice your roping skills, help bring in the herd, and view the land from atop a horse. Indulge in down-home cooking, then tell stories and sing songs around the campfire. Several ranches in the province have rooms – or even cabins – designed for two people, such as Sierra West Cabins and Ranch Vacations, whose cabins are set along the banks of Todd Creek for fishing at its finest. With your loved one by your side, the Old West never looked so good.
7. Golf Tour
Pack up the clubs and ready your swing to see who will come ahead on the course! Golf tours make for fantastic weekends away for couples who like to stay active – and have a competitive streak. Imagine a golf course among the mountain peaks of the Rockies or surrounded by the stark setting of the Canadian Badlands. There are more than 250 courses spread across the province. Tee off at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge course, continually ranked one of the world, line up the shot among prehistoric bonebeds at the Dinosaur Trail Golf and Country Club where the back nine give sweeping views of hoodoos, or the Northern Bear Golf Club outside of Edmonton, the only Jack Nicklaus signature club in Alberta.
8. Ice Climbing
Adventure is in no way limited to months when the snow’s off the ground! Lodge your ice axe firmly into the frozen wall as you make your way up the glacier’s edge, and before long you’ll be scaling the ice like a pro. The Canadian Rockies offer some of the best ice climbing in the world with beginner crags up to long and challenging multi-pitch routes. Feel the freedom as you scale glaciers, frozen waterfalls, and ice walls. Several operations offer guides and lessons, such as COE and Yamnuska Mountain Adventures out of Canmore. This is a great way to learn the ropes – and rent the ropes as part of your gear.
Two wheels can take you places four wheels never could – so strap on a helmet and straddle the mountain bike for a new adventure. Pedal through alpine meadows, boreal forests, or the paved shoulder of the highway under the prairie sky. Challenge each other by mountain biking up alpine slopes – the Icefields Parkway is considered one of the most scenic rides in the world. Cold Lake’s Beaver River Trestle is a highlight along the Iron Horse Trail at one kilometre long and 60 m high. Hinton Bike Park provides trails and terrain to perfect your skills on the mountain bike with the thrills you won’t find on paved roads.
Alberta’s lakes, rivers, and streams number in the thousands, and those bodies of water are teeming with fish. Take your loved one to the water and bait the hook for a day under the sun waiting for the line to tug. Experience world-class trout fishing, book a float plane to a secluded lake up north, and spend the night in a shoreline cottage dreaming of pike. Wabamun’s Get Hooked Fishing Adventure can help you lure in a pike, learn to fly fish in Kananaskis with one-on-one guides, or fish in a whole new way as you catch a sturgeon on the North Saskatchewan River.
Exploration by foot doesn’t have to stop when the snow falls – strap on some snowshoes and hit the trails. Beat the snowdrifts and have a winter adventure. Straddle the Great Divide in the Canadian Rockies and get your picture taken as you kiss with one snowshoe in Alberta and the other in British Columbia. Helicopter into the backcountry in the Slave Lake Region and snowshoe to an island on a frozen lake for a winter picnic. Explore Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park on the Mitchell Creek Trail or Ridgetop Trail. It doesn’t matter where you go – all you need is snow!
12. Atlas Coal Mine
Surrounded by the Canadian Badlands, Drumheller’s Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site is famous for its fascinating and rich tours. Take a surface tour and climb the last wooden tipple in Canada; walk the gantry up 125 feet to the top to learn about the dangers of the mine. Then, follow in the footsteps of the miner, put on a cap lamp, and hike up the inclined conveyor tunnel to the mine entry to see what it’s like underground. “Mine and Dine” finishes the day with unwinding and breaking bread with the locals while savouring a hearty family-style meal.
13. Hang Gliding
Take to the skies and soar like an eagle! Tandem Discovery Flights, located between Calgary and Edmonton in Innisfail, lets you enjoy the gift of flight. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the majestic mountains and the endless Alberta prairies. The local red tail hawks soar beside you as you take a brisk morning flight or a sunset soar – it doesn’t get any better than that. Hang gliders can stay in the air for hours and fly hundreds of kilometres in a single flight as they ride the air currents. Make some unforgettable memories beside your loved one.
14. White Water Rafting
Get to Jasper to enjoy the thrill of White Water Rafting amongst soaring mountain peaks and canyons.Athabasca River and Sunwapta River situated in Jasper National Park providee excellent opportunities for rafting in class II and III whitewater through incredible scenery and abundant wildlife for both beginners and experienced river-runners. If you want to have a go at a location closer to big cities of Alberta, visit Sundre to speed things up on Upper Red Deer River — a class 3 river which offers adventure with a wide variety of white water rapids that will constantly challenge and thrill.
15. Calgary Olympic Park
Could you and your sweetheart be the next Olympians? Test your skills and get in on the action at Winsport – Canada Olympic Park – home of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games! Zip down North America’s fastest zipline, reaching speeds of more than 100 km/h off the iconic 90 m ski jump tower. Luge and bobsleigh down the hill, in either winter or summer. Then, take a breather and slow things down (but keep it competitive!) by playing the 18-hole mini golf. In the winter, go skiing, and the ice rinks open up for skating and hockey on an Olympic-sized rink. Who will be the next to represent Canada?
16. West Edmonton Mall
West Edmonton Mall has all the adventure you can imagine all under one roof! Galaxyland is the world’s largest amusement park, featuring more than 27 spectacular rides and attractions. Galaxy Quest 7D Expereince allows you to have the thrill of a roller coaster and an interactive shooting gallery – all without leaving your seat in the digital theatre. Swim with the sea lions at Marine Life’s Sea Lion Rock, then continue the water theme at the World Waterpark, a tropical paradise boasting the world’s largest indoor wave pool and more than 21 unique waterslides. See who can get the best score at Ed’s Bowling and Professor Wem’s Adventure Golf, then book a room at the world-class Fantasyland Hotel for a night just the two of you.
There’s too much to do to stay at home this weekend – or next! Where you will two go next?