12 National Parks & Historic Sites near Calgary

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Adventures in the Great Outdoors

12 National Parks & Historic Sites near Calgary

Experience incredible National Parks and National Historic Sites with a day trip from Calgary.

Get out there and explore Canada with the best natural wonders in the country. Make Calgary your basecamp to adventure for a day trip to incredible National Parks and National Historic Sites that will take you into the heart of Canadian history and have you back in time for dinner in the heart of the city. Tuck yourself into affordable hotels in Calgary after hiking in the great outdoors for the ultimate Canadian adventure.

Here’s 12 National Parks and Historic Sites you can visit with a day trip from Calgary.

 

1. Waterton National Park

 

How to get there: Waterton National Park is approximately 2.5 hours from Calgary in southwest Alberta along Highway 

Where to stay: Stay in the south of Calgary, at a hotel like Wingate by Wyndham Calgary, so you can spend more time exploring Waterton National Park.

Seasonality: Open year round

Insider tip: Get to the trailhead of Cameron Lake or Red Rock Canyon early when the park is quieter and you may see more wildlife and have the trail to yourself.

Waterton National Park

Waterton National Park  (Photo Credit: Stevin Tuchiwsky)

Bar U Ranch National Historic Site

Bar U Ranch National Historic Site (Photo Credit: Andrew Penner)

2. Bar U Ranch National Historic Site

 

How to get there: Bar U Ranch is approximately 1 hour and 100 kilometres southwest of Calgary along Highway 22, also known as The Cowboy Trail, and only accessible by car.

Seasonality: May 15 – September 30

Insider tip: Nearby Pekisko Creek is an important trout spawning stream and home to some renowned fly fishing rivers.

 

3. First Oil Well in Western Canada National Historic Site

 

How to get there: The First Oil Well in Western Canada is approximately 2.5 hours from Calgary in southwest Alberta along Highway 2.

Seasonality: Open year round

Insider tip: Visiting the First Oil Well in Western Canada is the perfect complement to a trip to Waterton National Park or exploring nearby Cameron Lake for boating, fishing, and cross-country skiing.

 

4. Banff National Park

Seasonality: Open year round

Insider tip: Visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake on weekdays when it is not as busy for the perfect Instagram shot.

Banff National Park

Banff National Park (Photo Credit: Paul Zizka)

Banff Park Museum National Historic Site

Banff Park Museum National Historic Site (Photo Credit: Ian Holmes)

5. Banff Park Museum National Historic Site

 

How to get there: Banff National Park is approximately 1 hour from Calgary along the TransCanada Highway. The museum is located on Banff Avenue in Banff National Park.

Seasonality: May 15 – October 15

Insider tip: Admission to the museum is free with your Parks Canada Discovery Pass and can take as little as 30 minutes to explore, making it a great addition to any visit to Banff National Park.

 

6. Cave and Basin National Historic Site

 

How to get there: The Cave and Basin is on the edge of the town of Banff, approximately 1.5 hours from Calgary along the TransCanada highway.

Seasonality: May 15 – October 15

Cave and Basin National Historic Site

Cave and Basin National Historic Site (Photo Credit: Parks Canada)

Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site

Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site (Photo Credit: Paul Zizka)

7. Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site

Seasonality: Open year round

Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park (Photo Credit: Parks Canada)

Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site (Photo Credit: The Prairie Creek Inn)

10. Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

Take your pick from a First Nations tipi or a Métis trapper’s tent for an authentic camping experience at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site. Hear the music of an indigenous drummer, create a dream catcher, taste traditional food, and hear how the fur trade shaped Canada’s history. The Enhanced Heritage Camping Kit will complete your night under the stars as you light a fire with flint and cook a traditional bannock supper.

 

How to get there: Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site is approximately 2.5 hours from Calgary and located 6 kilometres west of Rocky Mountain House along Highway 11A.

Where to stay: You can arrive at Acclaim Hotel Calgary Airport minutes after you touchdown in Calgary and be on the road to Rocky Mountain House in no time when you stay on the northern side of the city.

Seasonality: May 10 – September 30

Insider tip: Plan to spend at least a half day at this National Historic Site and book in advance to reserve an overnight stay in an authentic tipi.

 

11. Howse Pass National Historic Site

 

How to get there: The Icefields Parkway is approximately 3.5 hours from Calgary and the pass can be reached by hiking 26 kilometres west to the border of British Columbia and Alberta.

Seasonality: Open year round but may be inaccessible due to snow in the winter.

Insider tip: Be sure to check trail and road conditions before trekking to Howse Pass and be prepared with sufficient food and materials as there are no facilities or services available on the trail.

Howse Pass National Historic Site

Howse Pass National Historic Site (Photo Credit: Parks Canada)

Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park (Photo Credit: Parks Canada/Ryan Bray)

12. Jasper National Park

 

How to get there: Jasper National Park is approximately 3.5 hours from Calgary along the TransCanada Highway.

Seasonality: Open year round

Insider tip: Get an early start from Calgary and be sure to check ahead for road conditions to make this long, but beautiful day trip a part of your Calgary adventure.