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200 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

200 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

By Authors Leigh McAdam & Debbie Olsen

Living in Canmore, I do most of my outdoor adventuring in the Banff/Canmore/Kananaskis region. However, I have long realized that there is much more to Alberta than the Rockies! Indeed, a nature lover could spend a lifetime exploring it and only scratch the surface. That is why I will find the just released guidebook, 200 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta, an indispensable resource to help me experience the best of the best. I can't wait to get out to visit the many hot spots I have flagged in this lively and informative guide that is so beautifully organized and illustrated. Indeed, I have been inspired to not waste any more time and get started on broadening my Alberta horizons. After 10 years of wanting to go there, we are finally booked to visit Writing-on-Stone Provincial park next month. The book is organized by region for easy reading, planning and navigation. Each hot spot entry includes a detailed destination profile, photographs and a sidebar featuring additional activities to enjoy. The book provides fresh insights on popular spots and valuable information on lesser-known destinations that could be especially important for the remainder of 2022! My favourite section is the last one: Special Interests. I have many that are listed in this section, some of which are .....

  • backcountry lodges
  • backpacking trails
  • cycling trails
  • waterfalls
  • larch hikes
  • wildflower hikes
  • snowshoeing
  • paddling

It will be great to refer to this section when I have a particular hankering to cater to one of my special nature interests!

As many of you may know, I am mid-way through completing the 52 Hike Challenge for the fourth year in a row.  I have set myself the goal of recording hikes only once for this challenge.  No repeats.  I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to go a fifth year recording another 52 hikes that I have never logged for the challenge before.  But after reading the 200 Nature Hot Spots, I have come up with so many new hiking ideas that I know a fifth year will not be a problem.  

What nature hot spots am I most excited about visiting after reading this book?  It would be a toss up between Writing-on-Stone, Dinosaur and Kinbrook Provincial Parks and the badlands in the Drumheller region.  While Whitehorse Wildland, William A. Switzer Provincial Park and the Willmore Wilderness Park in the North Rockies have also caught my attention.  Having purchased a NuCamp T@B400 tear drop trailer for comfortable camping last year, we are keen to venture further afield to camp, hike, bike and paddle.  So many possibilities to choose from.... thanks Leigh and Debbie! 

About the Authors:

Leigh McAdam found her way to her home in Calgary after living in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Colorado and British Columbia. She is the author of Discover Canada - 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures, another book that I find a fantastic resource, having visited all 10 provinces and planning to get to the Territories over the next few years. She is the creator of the popular blog  I have had the pleasure of hiking and paddling with Leigh a few times and hope to add another epic hike next month.  

Debbie Olson is an award-winning Alberta-based writer who loves to travel and explore natural areas around the world.  She has contributed to Fodor's guidebooks about Alberta and writs a regular travel column for the Calgary Herald.

Order your copy here: 200 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

What to wear & bring (Spring, Summer, Fall):

  1. Wear comfy casual clothes.
  2. Bring a warm extra layer & rain jacket, just in case.
  3. Running shoes are fine while light trail or hiking shoes provide even more support and are ideal.
  4. Please no flip-flops or sandals.
  5. Leave purses at home. A small backpack is a great bring-along.
  6. Don't forget your water, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, insect repellent and your camera.

What to wear & bring (Winter):

  1. Wear a long sleeve t-shirt/thermal underwear top plus 1 or 2 layers (i.e.: light fleece top, heavier fleece top) & a wind/waterproof shell. Heavy winter parkas and snow pants are usually too warm.
  2. Wear winter boots or lined hiking boots. Icers, which go over your footwear to prevent slipping, are provided when necessary.
  3. Leave purses at home. A small backpack is a great bring-along.
  4. Bring water, gloves/mitts, a hat/headband, scarf/buff/neck warmer, tissues/handkerchief, sunglasses and don't forget your camera!

Reserve OnLine:

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Simply click the "Book Now" button, select your preferred date to check availability, fill in your personal details and then make a secure payment via credit card. The system will automatically send you a confirmation of your session with the relevant details.

Liability Waiver:

Liability waivers are a necessary part of any commercial activity experience. I recommend that you take the time now to review this legal document that you will be required to sign before we start our clinic or walk together:

View the Waiver

Your Health & Physical Activity Readiness:

We ask guests who are experiencing cold symptoms and symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home and practice self-isolation under the direction of the appropriate governing body. For almost everyone, the benefits of physical activity far outweigh any risks. For some individuals, special advice from a Qualified Exercise or health care provider is advisable before becoming more active. This questionnaire is intended for all ages – to help move you along the path to becoming more physically active.

Please review this Questionnaire if you have concerns about your health or fitness level for participating in Nordic walking.

Cancellation Policy:

Full refunds are given if a cancellation is received 24 hours or more prior to the clinic or tour date. No refunds are given with less than 24 hours notice. Clinics/tours go rain or shine. If the weather is extreme, then it may be cancelled with a full refund given.

Malcolm Hotel

Canmore Public Parking


Parking is available on-street or in public lots throughout Canmore. It is a good idea to arrive early on busy days to locate suitable parking.

Malcolm Hotel - Onsite


Restrooms are available at the Malcolm hotel in the lobby.

Canmore Public Restrooms


Public restrooms are available within a short walk:

Canmore Public Restrooms - Trailheads


Public pit toilets are available at all trailheads.

Canmore Various

Where to meet:

Starting locations will vary seasonally with instructions included in your booking confirmation.


Parking options will vary by location with details included in your booking confirmation.

Tour Canmore

Various Canmore Trailheads

Canmore Walking Tour 1.5 Hour

Canmore Walking Tour 3 Sisters

Hikes Cognito Form

Winter Hikes Cognito Form

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