Home Destinations Things to Do this Weekend in Calgary, Banff, and Kananaskis: Apr 29 – May 1, 2016

Things to Do this Weekend in Calgary, Banff, and Kananaskis: Apr 29 – May 1, 2016

by Karen Ung

Now that the days are long, we can spend more time outdoors and go further afield.. or a-mountain? Happy adventuring! For current trail conditions, see the parks pages or my Trip Reports page.


1. Visit Bow Habitat Station and then bike to the new East Village Playground (located directly south of the George C. King Bridge between Fort Calgary and the Simmons Building). Grab a coffee at Phil & Sebastian or pick up to-die-for pastries from Sidewalk Citizen Artisan Bakery; both in the Simmons Building. Nearby St. Patrick’s Island is fun to explore too with its playground and wading area.

East Village Playground
Feeding the fish at Bow Habitat Station

2. Fly a kite at Nose Hill Park and visit the Medicine Wheel (near 14 St NW Entrance, just south of the radio tower).

Nose Hill Park Medicine Wheel

3. Bike to the Calgary Zoo and visit the baby gorilla! Start near the curling club or for a longer ride, start at Edworthy Park.

4. Visit your local YMCA on May 1st for Healthy Kids Day. There will be free activities and opportunities to learn about health and wellness.

5. Learn something new at MEC Calgary’s Free Events: Bear Awareness 101 (April 29, 12-1 pm) and Paddleboarding 101 (May 1, 12-1 pm).

Monday, May 2 – Sunday, May 8, 2016: Try Outdoor Rock Climbing For A Toonie (lessons and drop-in) at Beltline Aquatic & Fitness Centre! 221 12 Ave SW Calgary.


Most of the trails around Banff townsite as well as Stewart Canyon, Lake Minnewanka Lakeshore Trail, and Johnston Canyon are in good condition. Sulphur Mountain Trail is closed due to avalanche danger, but you can take the gondola up from May 1st on!

Lake Louise hiking trails are still snow covered with significant avalanche risk in some areas, but there is lots of fun to be had at Lake Louise Ski Resort to celebrate the end of ski season.

1. Look for the hermit cabin at Johnson Lake, Banff. There’s a fun 3 km loop around the lake with great views of Cascade Mountain and Mount Rundle. The hermit cabin is just off the trail, near the SW corner of the lake. Bring your canoe for an early-season paddle! Grab dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory after (our kids’ favorite place!) or get authentic Japanese food from Chaya.

Billy Carver’s old cabin
Johnson Lake, Banff
2.Take the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain and do the super scenic hike to the cosmic ray station! The gondola will open on May 1st! Details from Brewster Travel Canada here. During peak season, take the complimentary shuttle from downtown to the gondola! (Leaves from Banff International Hotel and Evelyn’s Coffee Bar every 15 minutes from 10am-6pm. Last shuttle leaves the gondola at 6:15 pm.)
Sulphur Mountain, Banff

3. Check out Shake the Lake at Lake Louise Ski Resort. There are several events to celebrate the end of the ski season this weekend:

  • Saturday, April 30: Rail Jam – free, Bikinis for Breast Cancer – free, Salomon SRD Park Jam – $20, Shake the Lake After Party at Lodge of Ten Peaks- $40.
  • Saturday, April 30 & Sunday, May 1, 12 pm – 5 pm. Closing Weekend Celebration. Live music, bouncy castle and more!

4. Go geocaching in Banff and earn an official Banff National Park Geocoin! You only need to find 3 geocaches in Banff National Park to be eligible (and pay $4 for the geocoin).

  • Hint: There are 2 geocaches on Tunnel Mountain!
  • More information from Parks Canada here.
  • Learn how to geocache with your smartphone here.
Tunnel Mountain, Banff


Most trails around Bragg Creek, Barrier Lake, and Canmore are in good shape, so I  recommend those areas over others. Please check Kananaskis Trail Reports before you head out as there are a lot of advisories including the following:
  • Kananaskis Village had a controlled burn this week that may affect some trails in the valley including the Bill Milne Trail. 
  • There’s a bear advisory for the Sibbald Flats area which includes Powderface and Jumpingpound Loop. More info here.
  • Peter Lougheed still has a lot of snow, especially at higher elevations and around Chester Lake; beware of postholes if you go off trail as the snow is softening up. 
  • Avoid the Montane Trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park right now as there is an aggressive grouse there!

1. Hike Prairie Mountain near Bragg Creek. Visit Elbow Falls while you’re there (it’s across from the trailhead) and stop for ice cream in Bragg Creek on the way home. We like Frontier Candy & Ice Cream on Balsam Avenue or Scoops and Snacks on White Ave, but if you’re in a hurry, the gas stations are well stocked with ice cream bars!

2. Prairieview Trail and Barrier Lake Fire Lookout is another popular spring hike. The view is nice from Prairieview Lookout, but if you’re able to make it to the fire lookout, you get stunning 360 views!

Barrier Lake Fire Lookout, Bow Valley Provincial Park

3. Shorter options include Grassi LakesHeart Creek, Troll Falls, and Mount Lorette Ponds. We often do Troll Falls and Mount Lorette Ponds on the same day as they’re short and in the same area. Mount Lorette has a nice picnic area (a few spots even have firepits – bring your own firewood)!

Heart Creek (near Canmore)

More Fun Stuff to Do This Weekend!

Happy Trails! Where will you go first?? 

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