Heading out for a hike is a wonderful family activity, and a great way to make memories with your kids. Seeing them encounter nature for the first time can be a real joy, and it’s an excellent opportunity to introduce your children to the great outdoors. However, finding the ideal family hike can be a challenge, especially if you’ve got young kids or older parents in tow. If you’re looking for awesome family hikes near Calgary, 10Adventures is here to help!
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best family hikes near Calgary, focusing on the regions around Canmore and Kananaskis. We think these areas are the best places for hiking as a family, with plenty of kid-friendly trails and lots of exciting sights along the way that will keep the whole family entertained! After these kid-friendly hikes near Calgary, you just may hear your kids ask if they can explore the trails a bit longer!
We’ve compiled a diverse list that will take you to some of the best kid-accessible sights in the Kananaskis. You’ll discover Peter Lougheed Park, Spray Lakes Park, and the Kananaskis Lakes area. If you’re not sure where to stay, try out the beautiful town of Canmore, or the resort community of Kananaskis Village.
These family hikes near Calgary feature easy terrain, as well as fun places for the kids to explore. They can take a swim, enjoy a waterfall, or walk across a historic engine bridge. And with names like “Troll Falls” and “Picklejar Lakes”, they’ll be creating their own stories while you enjoy the stunning scenery on these easy hikes.
Take a look at our top 10 family hikes near Calgary, and let it inspire you to plan your next adventure in the gorgeous Kananaskis.
(3.5km, 195m, 1-2h)
The hike to Ptarmigan Cirque is a family favourite, especially once the larches start to change in autumn. Starting at Highwood Pass means you are in the alpine almost immediately, making this one of the most satisfying hiking trails near Calgary. Ptarmigan Cirque is locally famous as a great hike to view autumn larches, and it is also a fun location for a family photo shoot! Be careful in autumn as the hike through the trees can be slippery.
(4.3km, 130m, 1-2h)
The hike to Elbow Lake is a wonderful, family-friendly hike in the Highwood Area of Kananaskis. It’s also the perfect first backpack trip, as Elbow Lake is so close to the trailhead. We do this hike every year with our family. If you are in Calgary, the drive from the southern portion of Highway 40 makes this a wonderful day trip from Calgary, and one of the best easy hikes in Kananaskis.
(5.0km, 390m, 2-3.5h)
West Wind Pass is a great family-friendly hike in the Kananaskis area! It’s not too busy and is a perfect hike for people who want to get stunning views without a ton of elevation gain. We love the vista back to the Spray Lakes Reservoir as well as at the views from West Wind Pass itself. Note that this hike is a bit too much for little kids, as there are some tricky bits along rocks, so don’t attempt it with children below 8-10 years old. However, if you’re travelling with older, active kids, this is one of the best family hikes near Calgary.
(7.8km, 320m, 1.5-3h)
If you’re looking for easy hikes Kananaskis is the place to be! The hike to Rawson Lake is one of the most fun hikes in the Kananaskis Lakes area, and it is especially popular with families. It’s a pleasant path through the forest up to Rawson Lake, but the hike around the side of Rawson Lake is what is truly spectacular. We love this on hot days, as the forest shade keeps us cool. This is another great day trip from Calgary, and the nearby ice cream shop at Boulton Creek Campground is a real treat.
(10.5km, 500m, 2.5-5h)
Some Calgarians rate Picklejar Lakes as their absolute favourite hike in the Canadian Rockies. It’s not hard to see why. The hike to Picklejar Lakes is a great family hike for those with older children. This hike has varied terrain and wonderful views. This is a hike for older children, as it’s both long and has a lot of elevation.
(4.0km, 185m, 1-2h)
Looking for brilliant hikes near Canmore? Look no further than the Grassi Lake Circuit: a classic Canmore hike for families. The best part of the Grassi Lakes Hike is that it is an ideal route for beginners, families unaccustomed to hiking in the mountains, or ones with smaller children, as there are two ways up to Grassi Lakes. One route is wide and easy while the other includes an exhilarating steep hike up stone steps (that is suitable for older children). Once at Grassi Lakes enjoy the views of a pair of cozy, crystal clear lakes surrounded by impressive rock faces. This is one of the best hikes near Canmore for families.
(3.0km, 15m, 1h)
A hike around Quarry Lake is one of Canmore’s hidden gems, and one of the loveliest hiking trails near Calgary. Not only is Quarry Lake a great place to swim, but a family hike around Quarry Lake and the surrounding area delights with wonderful views. Quarry Lake is also a popular off-leash dog-park. When it comes to easy hikes Canmore has plenty of options, and this is one of our favorite short hikes near Calgary.
(3.7km, 60m, 1-2h)
Troll Falls is a classic, family-friendly hike in Kananaskis. Located near Nakiska, this hike is popular year-round with families. While Troll Falls is nice, our favourite part of the walk is the return journey through Hay Meadow, where you walk along the Kananaskis River and have wonderful views.
(3.7km, 25m, 0.75-1.5h)
This hike is one of Canmore’s best family-friendly walks, and a great hike to introduce somebody to Canmore! Starting along Main Street you then walk down to the Bow River and then along the Spur Line Trail. Here you cross the Bow River on the historic Canmore Engine Bridge and then walk along the Bow River, eventually reaching Riverside Park. This is a family-favorite walk you’ll do again and again, and one of our top hikes near Canmore!
(4.6km, 125m, 1-2h)
The hike on the Black Prince Interpretive Trail is one of the most interesting short hikes near Calgary. The trip takes you to Warspite Lake on a good path and there are great views once at Warspite Lake. This hike can also be done in winter, though don’t go right after a big snowfall as you’ll be breaking trail. In summer, kids will love this trail: one of the best easy hikes in Kananaskis.