9 outdoor things to do in Calgary this summer

Life in Calgary is both bustling and relaxed. Their culinary scene is exploding by the second, and its outdoor activities attract tourists year-round. Besides tasting all the amazing food, what are some of the outdoor activities you can do in Calgary this summer?

In the city

Hang out in Calgary, Alberta this summer and get to know its outdoor opportunities for fun!

Olympic Plaza

A classic downtown square that is laid out before Calgary’s City Hall. Olympic Plaza is a great place to hang out with family or friends, bring lunch or enjoy one of the many festivals that take place in this city centre.

The park features a reflecting pond, sculptures, waterfalls and concessions. As you can guess from its name, Olympic Plaza was created during the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary.

WinSport complex

WinSport complex is a non-profit sports venue that offers exciting summer activities like ziplining, skydiving and trails for mountain biking, plus way more!

It’s another athletic venue connected to the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, and it’s obvious if you look at their epic ski hills. WinSport aims to allow people of all ages “discover, develop and excel at sport.”

Lazy Day Raft Rentals

Lazy Day Raft Rentals is one of the best experiences in the city. You can paddle along the Bow River, which cuts right through downtown Calgary, for as little as $55 for a 4-person river raft. You’ll have all the safety gear you need on a relaxing, gentle river current with gorgeous skyline views!

Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede is an annual festival that’s been happening since 1886! It’s one of the jewels of Prairie culture. This is where you can find, and become, a great Canadian cowboy.

The 10-day festival consists of dozens of rodeo shows, exhibitions and parties that will leave you wanting to upgrade your cowboy hat and yodel. This year’s event takes place from July 5th to July 15th at Stampede Park.

Calgary Folk Festival

With both local and international artists scheduled to hit the stage, this three-day event happens during the last weekend of July. Some noteworthy artists playing this year: Archie Roach, Stars and A Tribe Called Red.

Out of the city

If you’re able to rent a car or hop on a bus, these national parks and hiking opportunities are not to be missed if you’re the outdoorsy type. You can reach all these locations in an hour or two. Bring a picnic and some proper shoes!

Banff National Park

Located about 90 minutes west of the city centre, Banff is Canada’s oldest national park, established in 1885. It is Alberta’s most visited tourist destination, and one of the busiest in all of North America. A $20 park pass is required if you’d like to stop by this bucket-list worthy location.

Grassi Lakes Trail, Canmore, Alberta

Grassi Lakes hiking trail is located just 110 km (68 mi) from the city’s core and is a great novice level hiking destination. The water surrounding the trail is actually see-through green and has to be seen to believed. If you’re looking for the picture-perfect shot before a glass lake, this is the spot. Once you google it, you’ll see what we’re talking about.

Jewell Pass, Kananaskis, Alberta

Bring the doggies and head to Jewell Pass, located around 80 km (50 mi) from Calgary. It’s a gorgeous, looping intermediate level trail with two trail options; going counter clockwise will reverse the incline and make it a bit easier.

Yamnuska, Bighorn No.8, Alberta

If you can’t be bothered with “easy” hikes, and know that you’re a seasoned hiker, head about 85 km (53 mi) west from the city to the challenging Yamnuska mountain trail where you’ll need to hold on to a chain in order to cross a skinny ledge at some point. Please be safe, and only undertake this climb if you’re confident in your ability. The hike will last you 3 to 4 hours.