BBQ scents twirling the air, beer cans cracking, conversations unrolling, with tired legs (or arms) after a day of exploring. Summer in Alberta sizzles with happy vibes. The Canadian Rockies, collection of lakes, and somewhat stable weather open up endless outdoorsy opportunities. Add the following ten best summer activities to your Albertan sunny day bucket list!

Hiking: Catch a view on Tent Ridge Horseshoe

Alberta boasts unreal viewpoints, but Tent Ridge Horseshoe in the Kananaskis/Smith-Dorrien region has to rank high as one of the best. Nothing beats a view of a shimmering blue lake flanked by mountain peaks. It’s a challenging adventure but well worth the momentary pain.

The Canadian Rockies lining Alberta’s backdrop and the badlands in the province’s centre create ample hiking opportunities! Some other great peak side viewpoints (among many):

Hiking up the Ja Ling Peak near Canmore
Hiking up the Ja Ling Peak near Canmore

Paddleboard on Two Jack Lake

Paddleboarding with soaring peaks painting the background? Um, yes, please. Two Jake Lake’s smooth waters and mesmerizing scenery create the ultimate SUP experience. Consider looking into Bow Valley SUP & Surf to book a paddleboard if you don’t have one (to name one rental shop).

Other great paddleboarding options:

  • Upper Kananaskis Lake, Kananaskis
  • Barrier Lake Reservoir, Kananaskis
  • Johnson Lake, Banff National Park
  • Lake Annette, Jasper National Park
Paddling in the Two Jack Lake near Banff is a very rewarding experience
Paddling in the Two Jack Lake near Banff is a very rewarding experience

Canoe Red Deer River

What could be better than canoeing through a river fringed by prehistoric remnants? Paddling the Red Deer River will rewind you in time while you escape everyday life for a simple riverside, back-in-time camping and adventure experience. Imagine canoeing through the badlands—epic!

Mountain Bike the High Rockies Trail, Kananaskis

Test your stamina on the High Rockies Trail in Kananaskis! This 49.7mi route blends single- and double-track trails. Marvel at the Canadian Rockies as you soar along the trail. Then, the real highlight arises at the suspension bridge stretching across Blackshale Creek.

Some other excellent mountain biking trails include:

  • Lake Minnewanka Shoreside, Banff National Park
  • H2H Black 2.0 Route, Edmonton
  • Red Deer Mountain Bike Park

Float Bow River

Floating is one of the more popular Albertan day activities, making it fun to look into no matter which city you live in! One of our favourite inner-city rafting adventures is Bow River in Calgary. The non-too-intense rolling rapids make for a fun escapade! You’ll need two cars for this activity—or an Uber/taxi ride to get back to your parked vehicle.

Kayak on Maligne Lake

You can kayak or canoe Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, thanks to the Maligne Lake Boat House Rentals right on the water. The surrounding scenery creates a stunning microcosmic picture of Canada’s unruly backyard. Cruising along this glistening lake feels like a dream! Plus, if you rent for a long enough time, you can paddle to Spirit Island, an image you’ve likely seen sprawled across postcards.

Other great places to kayak are:

  • Cameron Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park
  • Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park
  • Lake Louise Lake, Banff National Park

Backpack the Baker Lake and Skoki Region

Find one of the most incredible backpacking routes in Banff National Park and possibly Alberta, just beyond the Lake Louise Ski Hill: Baker Lake and Skoki Region. Travel through alpine passes, past glistening lakes, and go on some scrambles. This backcountry adventure immerses you in a fantasy-world-like setting. It’s magical!

Here are some other fantastic backpacking adventures in Alberta:

If you’re heading to the backcountry for the first time, read out our backpacking 101 article for tips and advice!

Camp at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

Alberta’s mountainous scenery boasts several natural camping oases tucked in stunning settings. And Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park ranks high among the best places to camp in the province.

Explore remnants of Canadian history through pictographs and petroglyphs carved and painted by the Blackfoot ancestors in 1050 BCE. Then, when you look past the history and into the present, you’ll get to revel in Milk River and mountain views fronted by hoodoos.

Find some epic underrated camping spots in Alberta here.

Swim at Long Lake Provincial Park

When you mention “swimming,” most minds likely flock to summer-ready lakes shimmering in the Okanagan or Ontario, but Alberta has lakes! Although slightly chillier, they still offer great reprieve on a sizzling day. Nestled up high in northern Alberta sits Long Lake Provincial Park. This family-friendly beach setting even offers an onsite concession!

Check out these other great places to swim in Alberta:

  • Sylvan Lake
  • Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park
  • Cold Lake
  • Herbert Lake, Lake Louise
  • Annette Lake, Jasper National Park
Rafting the Kananaskis River is a treat for nature lovers
Rafting the Kananaskis River is a treat for nature lovers

Whitewater Raft the Kananaskis River

Feel the thrill as you raft down the Kananaskis River, hemmed by the Canadian Rockies. Enjoy the family-friendly class 2-3 rapids! Non-first-timers will still appreciate the addicting rush as you soar down the river. More experienced rafters may want to give the adrenaline-inducing Kicking Horse River in Banff National Park a go. The Sunwapta River in Jasper National Park is also another excellent whitewater rafting option.

Which summer activity in Alberta do you want to try? Let us know!