The opportunities to explore the great outdoors are boundless in Alberta, especially in the south, where Banff and Kananaskis parks are well-stocked with tour operators and activities. Start in Calgary and head west; Inside Out Experience, in Canmore, can help you find certified tour operators to get you on your way.

1. White-Water Rafting in Kananaskis

Take your pick: The wild white water of the Bow River, or the more gentle drift offered by the Kananaskis River. Either way, you'll be surrounded by spectacular scenery -- and drenched by the icy mountain river water.


2. Mountaineering at the Yamnuska Centre

Take a mountaineering course, learn to ice or rock climb, or take guided hikes along some of Kananaskis's most gorgeous trails with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures. Bank on two things: you'll end the day tired, and happy.

3. Trail Riding at Boundary Ranch

A couple hours on horseback into Kananaskis's high country will give your trail-weary legs a break -- if not your butt. Relax at Boundary Ranch's outdoor patio with a beverage and burger afterward.

4. Mountain Biking at the Canmore Nordic Centre


Built for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, the Canmore Nordic Centre is a world-class cross-country ski facility that doubles as a premiere mountain biking venue in the summer, with 65km (37 miles) of trails for all ability levels. Bike rentals are available onsite at Trail Sports.

5. Go Underground at Grotto Mountain

Dive down into the underpinnings of the majestic mountains surrounding you on a caving expedition under Grotto Mountain. Canmore Caverns takes guided tours into the cool, damp caves, which can be a bit of a tight squeeze for claustrophobes at times.


6. Hike Sunshine Meadows

Outside ski season, Sunshine Village's ski area is relatively vacant, save for White Mountain Adventure's Sunshine Meadows guided hikes. Drive up the windy road to the ski area's base and start walking, up beyond the top of the low chairlifts and down the other side. You'll encounter mountain lakes, streams, and some of the most spectacular views to be found anywhere.

7. Explore Lake Louise

After all that activity, you might need a break. Lake Louise can help. Take the Lake Louise Gondola up to a spectacular alpine meadow for a bit of gentle high-altitude meandering. Finish off with a stroll around scenic Lake Louise itself, with a refreshment waiting on the patio at the posh Chateau Lake Louise.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.