After work or during the weekends, sometimes you might not feel like driving to the mountains but still would like to relax in nature. Both visitors and locals love Calgary because of the many parks it has, and many options to enjoy outdoors while staying in the city. This list of activities should help you find the best that Calgary has to offer for nature lovers:
Floating down the Bow River with friends
With rising temperatures, floating down the Bow or Elbow River is one of the most popular activities in Calgary. Whether you own an inflatable raft or would like to rent, many shops in town can help you out with the gear and you can spend a relaxing afternoon with your friends. Drive to the Bowness Park, hop in the raft and float as long as you’d like. The furthest you can go is near the Calgary Zoo which can take anywhere from 2-4 hours.
Watching wildlife on Prince’s Island
Many people visit Canada because of all the wildlife sightings opportunities in the mountains. But you don’t have to travel too far to see wildlife. Just take a walk on Prince’s Island, in downtown Calgary, and watch carefully along the river channels. Several beavers live here and you can see the beaver family swimming across the pond or building a dam. Best time to see them is in the morning or in the evening.
Enjoying Northern Lights
Another relaxing activity is watching the Northern Lights. It is one of the most beautiful natural phenomenon. If you’ve seen pictures with sky dressed in green, wait until you see it yourself. The movement of the green light looks like the light is dancing above you. All it takes is to drive north from all the light pollution of the Calgary, usually from 11am-2am. You can register on this website to get notified when the Aurora will be visible.
Mountain biking in the park
Nose Hill Park and Fish Creek Park are both big enough for mountain biking. Nose Hill Park is hilly where you can do several loops with various difficulties. If you head to the east of Fish Creek Park, there are hills as well, while west part of the park is popular for families on the bikes and offers mostly flat trails. Tip from local: go biking before the sunset and deer will greet you along the way.
Surfing on the standing wave
This requires a surfing knowledge because the standing wave is not suitable for learning. But I bet you cannot find many big cities with surfing option in downtown on a standing wave. Kayakers and surfers hang out on the Bow River under the 10th Street Bridge in the summer. If you don’t feel like surfing or kayaking yourself, watching others trying to do tricks is fun as well.
Stand up paddle boarding just outside of Calgary
It is easy to learn and you can set your own pace, whether you want a workout and go faster or just paddle around the lake at a leisurely pace. Sport rental shops in Calgary can set you up with a board and paddle. One of the options for stand up paddle boarding near Calgary is Chestermere Lake. It’s only 20 minutes drive and there is also a rental shop by the lake.