Go Outside + Play In Banff | By Kim Fuller

Last Updated: July 27, 2021By

If you love outdoor adventure in Colorado, go to Banff. The Canadian province of Alberta has one of the most precious gems in the world, Banff National Park, where more than 1,000 miles of trail are maintained and available to explore, all surrounded by stunning views of tall and mighty peaks.

Here’s the other exciting part: fly from Denver to Calgary and it’s only a 90-minute drive to find your way into the heart of the Canadian Rockies — much like the commute from Denver to the mountains west of it.

Stay in the alpine town of Banff or in a surrounding area like Canmore or Kananaskis Country, and spend your days adventuring in these most magnificent areas. Stop by the Banff Visitor Information Centre for great resources on how to explore. Here are some recommended highlights of easy-to-access activities in the area:


Right in the town of Banff, Tunnel Mountain is well maintained, easy to access and ideal for visitors. A panoramic view from the top of the town site, the Bow Valley and Mount Rundle make this the perfect “get-to-know-the-area” excursion. It’s 2.7 miles roundtrip, and nice views from the top are inviting for an afternoon picnic.

Located between Banff and Lake Louise, Johnston Canyon leads the way to some incredible waterfalls. A 1.1 kilometer forest walk will bring you to the lower falls, but it is always worth continuing an additional 1.6 kilometers to the upper falls.



Rebound Cycle in Canmore is an ideal adventure hub for getting out there on two wheels. Take a mountain bike tour with a certified guide like Canmore local Frans Baars.

The Horseshoe Loopand G8 Loop can be accessed from town and offer intermediate cross-country terrain — they are singletrack and rooty in sections, with a few steep climbs. The two loops combined take less than two hours to ride and provide areas with excellent views of the surrounding mountains, making them an ideal choice for a spinwhile visiting the area.



After all the outdoor adventure, nothing beats a soak surrounded by alpine forest and rugged mountain peaks. Kananaskis Nordic Spa has embracedhot-warm-cold-rest-repeat hydrotherapy lifestyle practiced in Nordic wellness circles for centuries.

In its 50,000 square feet of contemporary indoor-outdoor space, Kananaskis Nordic Spa is purposefully designed for those seeking equal parts stimulation, recuperation and balance. The outdoor spa area is surrounded by a series of hot, saltwater and cold plunge pools. There are also three different sauna types and a eucalyptus and alchemist steam cabin infused with select aromatherapy oils.



With plenty of lovely accommodation options available in the area, sometimes it’s nice to stay a little off the beaten path. Located 45 minutes west of Calgary, Kananaskis Mountain Lodge is nestled quietly amidst rugged terrain and breathtaking views. It’s also connected to the aforementioned Kananaskis Nordic Spa. This property has several delicious dining options as well, including Italian at Forte Restaurant.


Mount Engadine Lodge is a hidden getaway in the pristine Spray Valley Provincial Park. The lodge is located near Canmore, surrounded by untouched wilderness. New glamping tents on the property provide an elevated camping experience. Each tent is comfortably furnished with cozy bedding, linens, towels and toiletries from Rocky Mountain Soap Company. There are no in-room telephones, computer jacks or televisions to take your time away from the breathtaking surroundings.


Photos by Kim Fuller and Travel Alberta, Paul Tellefsen.

Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2019 issue


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