Banff National Park Alberta CanadaNestled in between the Rocky Mountain foothills and the Canadian prairies, Calgary, Alberta is an exquisite location on the map for a backpacker to come and take a holiday.  

Your average outdoorsman would feel right at home in this vast and beautiful landscape but the real action is during the winter season.  

With plenty of backcountry to ski & snowboard, a wide variety of trails to go hiking in Banff National Park, and home of the Calgary Flames NHL ice hockey team, there is plenty to keep you busy even on a tight budget.

Although there are relatively few hostels in the area, Calgary makes up for the lack of affordable accommodation with plenty of places to see and things to do.  Check out my 5 Top Things to Do in Calgary, Alberta!

Take a Canadian Holiday in Calgary…

1.) Explore Banff National Park

Banff National Park Alberta Canada Lake Minnewanka

A visit to Banff National Park will leave you in awe and wanting more!  Make sure to take a camera because whether you’re taking a simple stroll to the backcountry or going for a weeklong backpacking expedition, the chances of spotting wildlife like a Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, an Elk, or Grizzly Bear is extremely high!

Banff National Park’s rugged scenery, crystal clear rivers, miles of rolling wildflower meadows and abundance of wildlife is sure to leave you wanting more and coming back to visit this beautiful location time and time again.

2.) Visit the Calgary Zoo

Central Park Zoo New York New York Red Panda

Visit the Calgary Zoo and get up close and personal with animals from all over the globe including South America, Africa, Eurasia, and Australia!  But don’t think it stops there because they also have an entire “island” of local creatures from the Canadian wilds like Grizzly Bears, Marmots, Gold Eagles, and many more.  With a general admission ranging around 20 bucks it is well worth the price!

3.) Attend the Calgary Stampede

Canadian Holiday: 5 Vacation Ideas in Calgary

Rodeo, chuck wagon races, and a trade fair show.  These are just a few things that you can expect to see at the Calgary Stampede’s huge 10 day festival.  Every year nearly 700,000 people attend this annual event.  

The heart of the entire stampede revolves around the rodeo where the first place winner takes home a whopping $100,000 but don’t think that’s all you  to look forward to!  With nearly 50 years of experience hosting this event, you’ll be sure to enjoy your trip to Calgary.

4.) Watch the Calgary Flames Hockey Game

If you’re into people getting beat up, extreme sports, and extreme competition then Calgary would be an excellent place to spend some vacation time because it’s home to the NHL Calgary Flames ice hockey team!  

Experience what true ice hockey is like by sitting along the side lines and rooting for your favorite team while they compete.  Who knows, maybe someone will slam into the protective wall hard enough you could get a tooth for a souvenir…

5.) Kayak the Bow River

Canadian Holiday: 5 Vacation Ideas in Calgary

Enjoy a full day, weekend, or weeklong trip along the Bow River by fly fishing for Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Brook Trout, or Bull Trout.  Not into fishing?  No problem!  There’s plenty of other things to do along the river besides fishing such as a relaxing with a full or half day float trip, a river walk & wade trip, or even kayaking.  

Want something a little more extreme?  Then try whitewater rafting down through Class IV rapids!  Spending an entire summer as a whitewater rafting guide, I can ensure you that you’ll have a fantastic time that you’ll be talking about for years!

Spending an extended amount of time in this area would ensure optimal time in the backcountry where you can take advantage of the local hospitality and and even try some local cuisine that’s not found anywhere else.

What would you like to do during your Canadian holiday in Calgary?