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Best Calgary Outdoor Activities for Sport Lovers

Best Calgary Outdoor Activities for Sport Lovers

Best Calgary Outdoor Activities for Sport Lovers

Are you looking for a good time outside? Calgary has an array of water and dry land activities waiting for you to try.

You won’t get a chance to become bored regardless of when you visit Calgary. And if you prefer doing things rather than sightseeing, the vast parkland and nearby waters can keep you busy.

You can challenge yourself or take it easy. But make no mistake – there’s always something for the sports lover to do.

Things to do in Calgary the Winter

It’s no secret that visiting Calgary in the winter is one of the best things you can do. As a sports lover or simply an enthusiast, there are so many activities to try in the cold season.

It’s worth noting that Nakiska is Calgary’s closest and perhaps best skiing destination. It gets excellent snowfall every year and has fantastic slopes for skiing and snowboarding.

You can also take a run at cross-country skiing. It’s one of the favorite things to do in Calgary for locals and tourists.

But if you want a different kind of challenge, give snowshoeing a try. Again, you can do this in or near Calgary. For better views and a more difficult time, head higher towards the Canadian Rockies on one of the many snowshoeing trails.

But these are not all that you can do in the wintertime.

1. Go Sledding

If you’re a sports lover and prefer outdoor activities, why not also bring out your inner child? Sledding is one of the best Calgary activities come winter.

The staggering number of hills around the city makes sledding a no-brainer, and it’s particularly challenging in some areas. You can also try some advanced trails if you go to the Canadian Olympic Park, WinSport. 

Give it your best to master tubing on the snow. It may not seem too easy, but it’s a lot of fun for adults and kids.

2. Ice Skating

From artificial to natural outdoor rinks, there’s room for ice skating. Calgary has no shortage of places where you can lace up to test your balance and grace. 

It shouldn’t be hard to join the locals in a friendly outdoor hockey game, either. The choice is yours.

Things to do in the Warmer Seasons

While the winter may limit you to a select number of outdoor activities, come summer, spring, or autumn, things are different.

3. River Surfing and Windsurfing

Calgary’s Bow River is as gorgeous as it is challenging. Experienced paddlers love to try their best to beat the whitewater rapids.

You can take some lessons or just rent the necessary gear and head out yourself if you already know your stuff.

But for something slightly less challenging, there’s always windsurfing. It’s among the preferred outdoor activities in Calgary during the summer.

4. Luge Cart Racing

Do you have a need for speed? Calgary is famous for its Luge cart races. 

Allow gravity to pull you down the bottom of the hill while you try to outmaneuver other speedsters. You can reach impressive speeds even on a one-mile track. 

Be sure to wear your helmet as it’s a bit more dangerous than it looks.

5. Ride a Bike

Calgary’s 20,000 acres of parkland provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor workouts. To start with, the city has around 186 miles of quality cycling paths. It also has plenty of jogging paths, many of which take you through very scenic routes.

Biking is among the best Calgary activities when it isn’t snowing. That’s why you’ll find many rental places within the city or near park entrances.

You can even ride a bike near the top of Nose Hill Park. It will challenge your body but reward you with a fantastic view of Calgary’s skyline.

6. Go for a Swim

If you don’t mind slightly colder water, swimming is always an option during the summer. Calgary has its own man-made beach called Sandy Beach. 

It’s a great place for a picnic, taking a dog for a walk with the leash off, and swimming. It’s also close to a biking and hiking trails network, so you can keep exploring after you dry.

7. Test Your Hiking Endurance

As previously mentioned, Calgary has no shortage of trails. You can explore many of them in any way you like. 

But if you’re worried about rugged terrain and keeping control of your bike, then don’t hesitate to go on foot and take the easier trails. 

Hiking and jogging are among the best Calgary activities for tourists. They allow you to see everything nature offers at your own pace. And it’s also easier to access more remote viewpoints or clearings by going on foot.

Don’t worry too much about the difficulty levels, either. You can find trails ranging from beginner to expert.

8. Try Climbing

Calgary’s proximity to the Canadian Rockies makes it an ideal place to get a taste for climbing. And the Calgary Mountain Club and the Calgary Outdoor Center both offer lessons and outdoor climbing courses.

9. Swing Away

Another prevalent Calgary activity is golf. In fact, you’ll find plenty of courses in and around the city. But keep in mind that the best golfing season is between May and October.

You can take lessons, rent gear, and test your skills on the green against a wide range of competitors.

It’s worth noting that the Lakeview Golf Course is one of the best in the area.

10. Other Water Activities

With such an abundance of water, it’s no surprise that most locals spend the better part of the year away from dry land.

There are many places in Calgary where you can take up kayaking and canoeing. You can also try urban rafting during the summer, which is almost a rite of passage in the city.

No Reason to Stay Indoors

Unless you run into some nasty weather, there’s always something fun and even challenging to try while visiting Calgary. 

The city may not have sports teams or stadiums that regular Americans will be familiar with, but it’s fully equipped to cater to outdoor sports lovers.

World's Best

Reconnect with Nature by Visiting these Nine Parks in Calgary

Reconnect with Nature by Visiting these Nine Parks in Calgary

Reconnect with Nature by Visiting these Nine Parks in Calgary

When it’s time to take a break from the city noise and crowd,  Calgary’s parks offer the best escape.

You wouldn’t think much of it once you find yourself in downtown Calgary. However, the city actually has 20,000 acres of pure parkland. Not to mention it has hundreds of trails for nature walks, biking, and hiking.

Most of the parks there are ideal for taking pets for a stroll, especially due to the many off-leash dog walking areas. But if Calgary gets too loud for you or if you’re not a fan of the nightlife, take a step back and explore the flora and fauna the city has to offer.

Take your pick from the following.

Fish Creek Provincial Park

It’s one of the largest in Canada and easily among the best parks in Calgary. If you want to get in touch with nature and your choice of activities, this is the place.

The park offers over 60 miles of biking and hiking trails. You can also encounter over 200 bird species in the park, including bald eagles, ducks, songbirds, and more. 

Looking for some adrenaline rush? Know that you also have access to boating, a golf course, and a man-made beach. There’s even a restaurant in the park for when you want to rest and grab a bite.

Fish Creek Provincial Park can keep you entertained and in touch with nature all day long, without having to forgo the necessary urban facilities and amenities. 

Nose Hill Park

Another one of the nice parks in Calgary is Nose Hill Park. In fact, it’s one of the best dog parks Calgary has to offer. It provides a vast off-leash area despite not being as large as others.

The park is also a gorgeous sight due to its abundance of Rough Fescue grassland. Common encounters include hawks, gophers, and even deer. 

If you reach the top of the hill, you can even get a clear view of the Canadian Rockies.

Confederation Park

This park definitely has it all. It’s a dramatic example of landscape design due to the rugged wilderness display. 

Encompassing mostly wetland areas, both native and exotic aquatic vegetation and wildlife thrive in the region.

Many view it as a natural playground. But the Confederation Park also boasts a multi-level fort, which the kids are going to adore, and a water pump. You can take in the scenery, explore nature, and do some fun activities with your young ones.

The park looks even more incredible if you visit during the winter. Over 500,000 lights brighten up the sky and you can spend most of the night here either celebrating or reconnecting with nature.

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center

While not technically a park, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center is a great way to interact with local wildlife and plant life. 

The facility is mostly undeveloped, letting you see animals, such as birds and beavers, and local vegetation undisturbed and in its natural state. You can even take nature walks and not worry about running into crowds of people on trails. 

Although it isn’t closed during the winter, know that there’s not much to see during the cold season.

Riley Park

Riley Park is one of the best parks in Calgary. It provides enough excitement and jaw-dropping views for nature lovers while still being close to urban amenities.

Its colorful gardens and oasis of greenery define the park. In the summer, water gathers in the pool, making it the perfect spot for kids who want to splash around.

Many open areas in the park also allow picnics and a variety of games and fun activities. It’s perfect both as a couple’s afternoon getaway and as a family destination away from the bustle of the city.

Sandy Beach Park

This is another one of the best off-leash dog parks in Calgary. Sandy Beach Park offers a combination of grasslands and marshes, including many walkable and biking trails and a series of scattered playgrounds.

Near the higher part of the park is where you can find a popular off-leash dog area. Although you can reconnect with nature and enjoy some quiet, it’s also possible to see amazing views of downtown Calgary.

Bowmont Natural Environment Park

Spanning 470 acres, Bowmont Park is a perfect cross between an urban and nature park. It has many hiking and biking trails. It also provides easy access to the river for fishing or swimming. Dog walkers prefer it because of the plethora of off-leash areas. 

One of its best features is access to Glacial Lake Calgary. This makes it one of the few parks in Calgary with a massive waterfront. 

If you don’t want to sit too close to the picnic sites or playgrounds, you’re free to take any number of nature trails to get away from the crowd and enjoy nature’s sounds.

Carburn Park

It’s not the biggest or the most impressive. However, Carburn Park still makes the list of the best parks in Calgary. 


If you want river access and prefer nature activities over nature walks, this is one of the best places for it. Fishing and bird watching are top draws for both tourists and locals.

The abundance of greenery and rich vegetation make for a remarkable outdoor experience. That said, note that Carburn Park may draw larger crowds compared to other alternatives on this list.

Griffith Woods Park

Griffith Woods Park is a great choice if you love lush forests and don’t want to leave the city limits. You can stroll by the river, explore dense forests, and escape the noise of the city.

Although set in an urban area, Griffith Woods Park offers a beautiful creek and clean, fresh air. It’s everything you might need for a relaxing nature walk or outdoor exercise. 

There’s More Wilderness Than You Think

By all accounts, Calgary is a bustling city in the province of Alberta. It’s vibrant and modern and houses an impressive amount of corporate offices. 

That said, its location east of the Canadian Rockies and the confluence of Elbow River with Bow River make it a picturesque city through and through. 

You can get the best of both worlds in Calgary – city activities and nature exploration. It’s no surprise that its parks are among the top attractions for tourists and spending time in any of them are among the preferred pastimes of the locals.

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