When we need a little break from the city, spending a day on one of the many dayhikes in either Kananaskis or the national park is the perfect escape. We try to hike routes that the dog can come on because he enjoys a hike in the mountains almost as much as we do. I’ve broken the hikes we’ve done in Alberta into three categories – shoulder season (hikes that can happen late in the fall or early in the spring), half-day adventures (you don’t need to be up at the crack of dawn to finish) and full day adventures (you probably don’t have time for anything else). Hikes that we’ve done while travelling are in the outside Alberta category.
Sibbald Lake Area (2016) – An easy front country walk. Senior dog friendly!
Fullerton Loop – An easy 10 km hike that is close to Calgary. On a nice day try to arrive early to beat the crowds. Senior dog friendly! We hiked it the first time in 2016, but have been back in February 2017 (pregnant with E) as well as in December 2018 (with E) so it can work for all sorts of adventures.
Valley of the Five Lakes (2015) – An easy trip just south of the Jasper townsite on the Icefields Parkway. About 4 km (loop) with very little elevation gain.
Old Fort Point and Beauvert Lake (2015) – If you are staying at, or even just visiting, Jasper Park Lodge and are looking for a quick and easy walk, combining those two hikes will give you that. The trail around Beauvert Lake is basically flat, and there is some, but not very much, elevation gain to Old Fort Point.
Sunwapta Falls (2015) – This hike was very quiet when we stopped as part of our Jasper road-trip but I imagine that outside of shoulder season it is busy. There is some elevation gain on the way back and the total trip is about 3 km.
Glenbow Ranch – An easy trip just outside of the city. We’ve hiked several times in the park – the Bow River Loop and the Tiger Lily Loop + Badger Bowl Loop being some of our usual trails. The park makes a great escape on a warm winter day or when you only have a few hours to spare for an outside adventure. With lots of loops to chose from you can make your hike whatever distance works. Senior dog friendly!
Grassi Lakes (2012, 2013) – An easy 4 km round trip hike near Canmore. Dog friendly and lovely in shoulder season but busier when done during the summer. Senior dog friendly!
Horseshoe Canyon (2009) and (2016)– Lots of trails to wander on in this prairie canyon. Hot in May and beautiful in the snow in February! Dog friendly if your mutt doesn’t mind wandering off trail.
Bear’s Hump (2008) – The only “hike” I’ve ever done in Waterton NP but suitable for shoulder season and very short adventures.
Rawson Lake (2005) – The first hike that we went on when we moved to Calgary was around Upper Kananaskis Lake. It was October so there was lots of snow but the trail up to Rawson Lake was still passable so we de-toured up to the lake. It added on an extra 5 km to our hike but was beautiful in the snow. While the drive out to Upper Kananaskis Lakes is long, if you are in the area and looking for a short hike this one would work. Dog friendly!
Prairie Mountain (2006) – Hikeable in shoulder season (I did it in mid-April but people claim you can do it all year) so it is not the highest summit but does have nice views of Moose Mountain. It has the advantage of being close to Calgary so it is easy to go out if the weather is nice. Dog friendly!
Ptarmigan Cirque (2016) – The drive to Highwood Pass takes care of lots of the elevation gain for you making this a family friendly outing up high. Senior dog friendly!
Chester Lake (2012) – A 6 km round trip to Chester Lake. The trail is quite wide and the elevation gain is very moderate. Busy hike but with an early start you can have the trail to yourself. Dog friendly!
Ha Ling Peak (2010) – A short hike just outside of Canmore. We’ve been up it a few times with the dog (2005 and 2006) and it always tires him out.
Jumpingpound Summit (2012) – A 7 km round trip to the summit of Jumpingpound Mountain in Kananaskis. No water on the trail for dogs except near the start. Great views for the effort and do-able in shoulder season!
Rae Glacier (2006) – We hiked here in June while visiting my parents in Kananaskis for the K-100. Perfect for a dog walk since it is fairly flat and short. It is only a half-day adventure if you are already in the area – otherwise the drive might turn this into a full day.
Mount Yamnuska (2014) – We did not do the scramble but the views were still pretty nice. We took a wrong turn on the way down and had to do a little route finding to get out. Dogs can make it for the first part.
Watridge Lake and Karst Springs (2014) – This is a perfect hike if you want to spend a day catching up with friends as the trail is wide, there isn’t very much elevation gain and it is perfect for small children. The springs themselves are beautiful! Dog friendly
Barrier Lake Lookout (2012) – A 12 km round trip to a lookout over Barrier Lake in Kananaskis. No water on the trail for dogs (except at the lake) but the trail is shaded.
Upper Kananaskis Lake (2011) – A fairly flat 15 km loop around Upper Kananaskis Lake. There are pretty views of the surrounding mountains, and it’s dog friendly. We also hiked this loop in 2008, and it was the first dayhike we did after moving to Calgary in 2005!
Mnt. Fairview (2010) – This hike was surprisingly quiet for a long weekend. Lovely view of Mnt. Temple from the saddle.
Wasootch Ridge (2015, 2010)– It has more elevation gain than you think, but makes a nice hike when you don’t want to drive too far. Dog do-able – although at 10 years old Patches found it tiring. We’ve also hiked this in the fall (2005).
Moose Mountain – We’ve done this hike a few times (2006, 2007, 2010) – Patches loves it early in the season when there is still snow!
C-Level Cirque (2009) – If you’re camping in the area it’s a quick outing. Patches liked it even if it wasn’t too exciting.
Mnt. Indefatigable (2009) – We camped at Upper Kananaskis Lakes and then hiked this the next day. We had a little trouble finding the route once we got to the end of the main trail but even Patches made it up in the end.
Mount Lady MacDonald (2009) – We’ve been up twice (2006) and never made it to the summit but it’s a nice shoulder season outing with the dog. No water along the trail but there might still be snow higher up if you are early in the season.
Lake Minnewanka (2009) – Easy hike on a fairly flat trail. Lots of chances to scramble down to the lake and let the dog splash in the water. This walk is only about a half-day, but again the drive from Calgary makes this a full day adventure.
Old Goat Glacier (2008)– a quiet hike for the start of the season. Limited parking at the trail head.
Valley of the 10 Peaks (2007)- Stunning views make it worth the crowds. Ok for the dog too.
West Maroon Pass (Aspen, Colorado, 2015) – Beautiful scenery and a challenging hike in the Aspen Area. About 13 miles (21 km).
Hallet Peak (Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 2015) – A great climb from the Bear Lake area in RMNP.
Hikes in the Bear Lake Area (Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 2015) – Our warm up hike was a series of hikes in the Bear Lake area. We hiked to Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Emerald Lake and the Loch.
Ben Nevis (Fort William, Scotland, 2015) – The busiest hike I’ve ever been on. Still, worth it for the experience of climbing Great Britain’s highest peak.
Glen Loin Loop (Arrochar, Scotland, 2015) – Scotland weather at its finest. A 17 km loop with some stunning views (or so they say, we mostly saw rain).
Three Loch Way (from Balloch to Hellensburgh, Scotland, 2015) – Our first hike in Scotland. We had beautiful weather on the first part of the Three Loch Way. Easy to access via rail to walk as a one way trip.
The East Coast of Canada
Assorted Hikes on Fogo Island (Newfoundland, 2013) – Several short walks/hikes on Fogo Island. If you find yourself on Fogo, you must go walking and there are lots of short options that can be fit in between rain showers.
East Coast Trail from Brigus South to Admirals Cove (Newfoundland, 2013) – A 12 km round trip to (almost) Admirals Cove. Great views and wildlife.