Famous for its sunshine, blue skies and mountain ranges, Alberta is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts — even in the depths of winter. Situated north of Calgary, near the Canadian Rockies as well as other provincial parks, Airdrie offers countless opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and even fat tire biking along trails covered with fine snow. 

Grab your winter boots, throw on a toque and venture off to one of these snowshoeing trails located within 2 hours of Airdrie. 

One Day: Airdrie Parks to Explore

Sometimes it’s hard to make the time for a week-long excursion through the Rocky Mountains. Luckily, Airdrie is situated perfectly nearby dozens of parks, that are all no more than a two-hour drive away, with weaving trails, unique features and plenty of opportunities to break out the snowshoes. If you only have one full day or a weekend to explore, add these local and provincial parks near Airdrie to your itinerary. 

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Bragg Creek Provincial Park

With over 141 kilometers of all-season trails, Bragg Creek Provincial Park attracts winter hikers and snowshoers of all ages, offering everything from short strolls to long and rigorous challenges. No matter which trail you choose, you’re sure to find some shy wildlife, unique ice formations, beautiful snow-capped mountains and wide-open spaces. 

Better yet, grab the cross-country skis, fat bike or snowmobile and head to one of the premium trails at Bragg Creek Provincial Park to see nature from a different point of view. Pack an easy and quick lunch for when you’re all tuckered out, and cozy up to a roaring fire with a cup of fresh hot cocoa. 

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Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

Situated on the edge of Cochrane, Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park is laced with over 25 kilometres of multi-use trails, many of which offer superb views of the Rocky Mountains. Being only a half hour from Airdrie, the park is one of the more accessible destinations for outdoor winter activities. You can easily spend one to four hours exploring Glenbow before you cozy up with a warm cup of hot cocoa in one of the cafes nearby. 

With vast scenic grasslands and paved, easy-to-navigate trails, Glenbow Ranch is a great for all skill levels, including the young ones in your party. Trek the Glenbow Trail and the Bow River Loop, and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, frozen Bow River. But, if you’re after a glimpse of the Canadian Rockies, add the Windmill Lookout to your itinerary. 

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Nose Hill Park

You don’t need to venture far from Airdrie to find serene parks with snowshoeing trails of varying lengths. Just head south and you’ll stumble upon the biggest city park in Calgary. Boasting an area of over 11 square kilometres, Nose Hill Park is filled with countless hiking, biking and walking trails. Whether you’re after a solo hike through nature or a snowshoeing adventure with the kids, the park is the perfect place for a quick getaway. 

Nose Hill Park is also home to a variety of wildlife, from deer and coyotes to porcupines and northern pocket gophers. You may catch be able to spot some of them roaming the city park if you’re lucky (and patient). From the top, you’ll get a panoramic view of downtown Calgary, the Rocky Mountains and the Bow River Valley. And if the ground is covered in snow, don’t forget to bring your toboggan – Nose Hill Park has plenty of hills for you to glide down. 

One Week: Airdrie Parks to Explore

With one week in Airdrie, you have an infinite number of possibilities to experience the beauty of Alberta’s parks. It’s the perfect amount of time to see the main sights, but also dive into those off the beaten path. So, hop in the car and explore these parks within two hours of Airdrie, all of which boast fantastic trails, breathtaking viewpoints, and plenty of opportunities to partake in some winter sports. 

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As the crown jewel of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park will leave you breathless during any season. But in the winter, it undeniably becomes the best playground for winter sports that Alberta has to offer. Situated approximately two hours west of Airdrie, Banff National Park is the perfect destination for a week-long trek through an unparallel landscape. 

One of the quintessential winter hikes in Banff National Park takes you through the Johnston Canyon where you’ll see how nature transforms water and ice into beautiful art. The 2.7 kilometres long trail takes you across elevated boardwalks, between frozen waterfalls and above winding creeks. Take the trail around Johnson Lake or snowshoe across once it’s frozen. Either way, you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain. 

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Bow Valley Provincial Park

Located a short drive west of Airdrie, on the eastern edge of the beloved Rocky Mountains, Bow Valley Provincial Park is one of the many parks within Kananaskis Country packed with unique features and natural beauty. Known for its world-class trout fishing and mountain scenery, Bow Valley is ideal for a multi-day excursion through the mountains because of just how much the provincial park has to offer. 

One bucket-list hike to consider is the Grotto Creek Canyon Trail. In the winter, the 4 kilometre round-trip hike offers views of frozen icefalls and the opportunity to play on the skating rink-like canyon floor. As you walk on the frozen creek bed, you’ll also find ancient Indigenous pictographs along the limestone canyon walls, dated to be between 500 and 1,300 years old. Pair this canyon trail with one of the other breathtaking trails in Bow Valley Provincial Park, and you won’t be disappointed. 

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Situated within Kananaskis Country, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is the ideal destination for a multi-day excursion from Airdrie if you’re after a glimpse of the Canadian Rockies. With hundreds of kilometres of designated trails, the provincial park offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities for enthusiasts of all ages alongside breathtaking mountain views. 

Snowshoe through the fresh pillows of snow, cross-country ski on the extensive groomed trail system or hop on a fat bike and venture off the beaten path. With no shortage of trails and activities to choose from, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is a winter wonderland for all outdoor enthusiasts. 

You’ll quickly realize the fresh snow and ice add a special touch to the already breathtaking trails. After a long day of outdoor adventures, warm up with a fresh brew and tasty treat at one of these cafes in Calgary. 

Special thanks to the staff at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Airdrie, AB for contributing to this piece.

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