While hiking is definitely my favorite thing to do in fall, the kids love pumpkin and scarecrow festivals more, so we try to combine the two for fun and fitness. Here are some festival and hike pairings for you to try this October.
1. Alberta Culture Days – September 30 – October 2: Learn about our province’s arts, heritage and cultural diversity at several free events and get free admission at Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump and more!
Hike and Culture Day event pairings:
- Bike the Bow River Pathway and cycle tracks to Decidely Jazz Danceworks for a free dance lesson! More bike ride ideas here: 10 Fun Family Bike Rides in Calgary.
- There is a fun 1.5 km interpretive loop at Frank Slide Interpretive Centre & Lundbreck Falls (day use) is a must-see on your way home!
- Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre has a 3 km interpretive trail. Learn how buffalo were traditionally hunted.
|Frank Slide Trail, Alberta|
Frank Slide Interpretive Centre Exhibit
|Lundbreck Falls, Alberta|
2. Butterfield Acres Pumpkin Hunt – October weekends by reservation: Take a tractor-pulled wagon ride to the pumpkin patch and pick out your very own pumpkin, then decorate it and visit the farm animals. We love visiting the goats, bunnies, sheep, and pigs (but there are horses, donkeys, and birds too!). Book your tickets asap as this popular event sells out fast!
- Nearby hikes: 3 NW Calgary Hikes (Nose Hill Park and Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park)
|Waterfall Valley Lookout, Bowmont Park|
3. Calgary Corn Maze Pumpkin Festival – October 1 & 2, 8-10, 15 & 16, 22 & 23: Enjoy the Pumpkin Explosion, corn maze, pony rides, fun farm, and pumpkin decorating. Mini pumpkin and pony rides included in admission for kids under 17!
- Nearby hike: Explore the caves and sculptures at Fish Creek Park.
|Fish Creek Park|
4. Bragg Creek Scarecrow Festival – October 7 – November 6: Visit and vote for your favorite scarecrows then enjoy an ice cream or bite to eat.
- Nearby hikes: Alder Loop (1.6 km), Elbow Falls (day use), Forget-me-not Pond (picnic area and 2 km hike) and Prairie Mountain (7.8 km, 700 m elevation gain).
|Bragg Creek Scarecrow Festival|
5. Blue Grass Nursery Pumpkin Festival – October 8: This festival is the most affordable pumpkin festival in town as admission is by donation to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation (recommended donation: $10-20 per car), but it is by no means a small festival. With a petting zoo, pumpkin decorating, Cinderella coach rides, massive pumpkin smash and more – they smash a car with a massive pumpkin dropped from a crane – it’s fun for everyone.
- Nearby parks: Confluence Park (look for the goats doing weed control!), Nose Hill Park (hike to boulders, a pond, and aboriginal Medicine Wheel).