Kananaskis Country is a 4,000 sq. km network of three provincial parks and multi-use areas within the Canadian Rockies. The town of Canmore sits at the "gateway" to K-Country, and you'll find it full of great shops, galleries, restaurants and pubs.
You'll also find Peter Lougheed Provincial Park at the heart of the Kananaskis, with numerous campgrounds and enough mountain trails, meadows, lakes and streams to keep any outdoor adventurer happy.
And if you're a golfer, don't forget your clubs. You'll find two world-class courses, designed by Robert Trent Jones, right in the Kananaskis Valley. Watch for wildlife while you're playing – it's not unusual to see grizzlies from the fourth tee at the Mount Kidd course.
From Calgary, head west on the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy. 1) to Kananaskis Trail (Hwy. 40).
Stops Along the Way
You'll find accommodation in the Village, as well as shops, restaurants and pubs. In the summer, you can hike the pathway system, and in the winter you can strap on your snowshoes or slip on your cross-country skis and explore the same routes. Skate on the ice rink in winter, or enjoy the waterfalls during summer.
Once you get to Longview, you understand the name: you can almost see forever from here. The village is famous for its beef jerky, and nearby, at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site, you'll find even more cowboy culture, with original buildings and interpretive tours. You'll also find sightseeing, fishing, hiking, and dining.
Turner Valley and Black Diamond
A visit to these two towns, just a few kilometers apart, gives you a glimpse of Alberta's rich past – in the early years, Turner Valley was the world's greatest oil producer. A drive in this direction puts you in the middle of stunning scenery, too, with rolling hills and wide-open spaces.
Head south from Calgary on the Cowboy Trail (Hwy 22) to Millarville, a quiet agricultural community. The Millarville Farmers' Market is open every Saturday during the summer, and is famous for its fresh produce and interesting goods from local vendors. Like the ponies? The Millarville Racetrack is Canada's oldest, established in 1905.
This cozy artisans' community, south and west of Calgary on Hwy. 22, is a great place to shop for native and western art, local pottery, jewellery and unique gifts.