Bears aren’t the only ones emerging from their caves this spring! Canadians are welcoming the chance to spend time outdoors after hibernating in their homes, for what felt like, an extra-long winter. All while battling cold weather, snowstorms, and the restrictions of a pandemic.
Snuggled on couches under warm blankets, many families got comfortable sitting in front of the TV. Parents found their shows to binge-watch on Netflix, while kids became masters of their video games. However, spring has finally sprung and the time has come to turn off the screens, and venture outside into the great outdoors!
With majestic views and breathtaking scenery throughout the Rockies, sunlight glistening off the turquoise lakes, and the fresh smell of pine trees, Albertans are ready to hop in their vehicles to spend their days off hiking the trails that weave along rivers and ascend mountains.
Alberta boasts an abundance of hiking trails, that may leave a person to wonder which one will accommodate their level of expertise. If you are new to hiking or have young children with you, it’s worth checking out websites and apps such as “AllTrails” that list various trails with details including trail distance and difficulty levels. This will spare you from tackling a trail that is too long and having to piggyback children when they get too tired!
Here are 5 family-friendly hikes that will have your family fall in love with hiking!
Troll Falls – Kananaskis
What better way to get the family excited about hiking than with the promise of a waterfall at the end! Even better, this 3.4 km round-trip hike is great for beginners. Children (and adults who can appreciate a good scavenger hunt) will love looking for the hidden troll dolls in the trees! At one point there were dozens of troll dolls to be found, but hikers claim the number of dolls has gone down. So if you find a troll, remember to leave it where you found it for other hikers to discover!
Johnston Canyon Falls – Banff National Park
Explore nature as you walk amongst towering trees and moss-covered rocks. This gorgeous hike will have you relaxed and feeling like you have finally escaped the hustle and bustle of life. The Lower Falls is a 2.3 km round-trip hike, while the Upper Falls is a 5.1 km round-trip. This hiking trail offers hikers the option of heading back after the Lower Falls or continuing on up to the Upper Falls. Whether you make it to one, or both of the falls, this hike is sure not to disappoint!
Bears Hump – Waterton
This is a great hike for families who are past the toddler stage. The 2.8 km round-trip hike is uphill, but the trail is well maintained with sets of stairs and benches along the way to make it easy and take a rest if needed. While there are no waterfalls at the end of this trail, the promised view at the top does not disappoint and is well worth the climb. Be sure to take your camera with you as the spectacular views at the top are one of the greatest photo opportunities you will find in Alberta!
Path of the Glacier – Jasper
Everyone needs to see a glacier in their lifetime, and this family-friendly trail will bring you up close and personal to the Angel Glacier. At only 1.8 km round-trip, this is a great starter hike for beginners and families with strollers. Pass by a pond with floating icebergs, take in the views of the glacier, and cross your fingers that you may even get to see a piece of the glacier fall into the water! There are several benches and picnic tables along the way, so pack a picnic to eat while you enjoy the views!
Grassi Lakes – Canmore
This 4 km round-trip trail boasts 2 glistening lakes, waterfalls, and a small beach area. It’s an excellent hike for families who aren’t used to hiking mountain trails but want to get out and enjoy nature and possibly see some wildlife. There are 2 trails that weave through the dense forest, one easy and one a little harder, so you can come back for a second visit and try them both!
It is important to be prepared when hiking. Take a backpack with a first aid kit, several water bottles to keep hydrated, bug spray, and snacks. Layers are the best wardrobe, and comfortable shoes with good grip are a must when hiking!
Remember in Alberta that the bears have come out of hibernation, so having one person in your group carrying bear spray is highly recommended. This is one of the only times you will hear parents encouraging their children to be loud and noisy to keep the bears away!
Enjoy getting out and exploring the beauty of Alberta!
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