Planning Your Alberta Bucketlist Biking Adventure July 16, 2018 · 6 min. readWhile the thoughts and opinions are my own, this article was brought to you by a third party. Also, this article may contain affiliate links.
Most people know how to ride a bicycle. They learned sometime as a child and never forgot. I am not one of those people. I tried learning when I was a child, a teenager and an adult, and I have never mastered the two-wheel contraption. Whenever I see a child zip past me on a bike, I get a little jealous inside. I've always wanted to learn, but it's just something I've never been able to do.
On my recent trip to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta, I explored several of the many biking paths that wind through the area. The paths are also hikable, so I walked them instead. Although I've visited Cypress Hills several times, I never get used to the hills and lakes throughout the area. With dozens of kilometres of trails, you can spend a weekend there and never do the same thing twice. Although hiking around the park was incredible, I imagine it would be a lot more fun, and a lot easier, to bike it instead.
One of my most favourite things about Cypress Hills is that while you may feel you're in a natural oasis, you're actually very close to civilisation. Medicine Hat is less than 45 minutes away from the park and is one of my absolute favourite places in Alberta. From restaurants to attractions to history, there's something for everybody in this booming community.
Boasting an average of 330 sunny days a year, Medicine Hat is covered in parks for people to enjoy. The winding pathways weave between trees, over rivers, and through the city. You can ride up to the top of the valley and view the city from above, or you can ride down to Medalta, a historic clay factory that has been transformed into a museum and gallery.
On the other side of the province, embedded on the edge of the famous Rocky Mountains, is the iconic Crowsnest Pass. This pass leads you past several communities throughout the mountains, and through Frank Slide, one of the largest – and saddest – natural disasters in Canadian history. In 1903, the nearby Turtle Mountain collapsed on itself and a volley of 90 million tons of limestone rolled over the small town of Frank. Within 100 seconds, over 90 lives were lost and a town was buried.
If you want to explore an intact mining cave, you can take the Bellevue Mine Tour. This tour takes you deep underground and through 300 metres of reinforced mine. Here you can learn about the dangerous working conditions this mine had while in operation, and how important it was to the community.
While you're near Crowsnest Pass, you might notice signs for a place called "Castle Provincial Park". Even if you've visited this area before, you've probably never heard of it. This isn't because it's a secret gem hidden away in the Rockies – although it is – but because it didn't exist until last summer. In fact, it is Alberta's newest official provincial park!
One of the big themes Castle Provincial Park offers is accessibility. Many people who have mobility problems – or who can't ride a bike, for example – don't visit provincial parks very often. It's a lot of work to go somewhere, just to see all the things you can't do. Castle Provincial Park solves this by offering rentable "Icon Explores"; accessible e-bicycles that allow everybody to explore the park to their heart's content.
If you visit Castle Province Park, also give yourself plenty of time to go canoeing, fishing and exploring. The park is beautiful, and there's plenty to explore for return visits.
If you go:
Find out more about Cypress Hills on the official Alberta Parks website to plan your adventures.
After a long, dark, frigid winter, Canadians love the few months of summer we get every year. Once the snow melts and the mud dries, we are out hiking, picnicking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, climbing and exploring this wonderful country of ours.
Of all the provinces to explore, Alberta ranks at the top of many adventurers' list. From hoodoos to waterfalls, mountains to valleys, deserts to tundra and everything in-between, Alberta offers any outdoorsman the perfect place to embrace nature.
When it comes to Saskatchewan, your next adventure can be around any corner. As you venture off the main highways, signage is scarce and directions such as "if you've passed the gate with the buffalo skulls, you've gone too far" are all too common. Communities grow smaller, people grow warmer and the list of things on your Saskatchewan Bucket List seems to only get longer.
My adventure to Leader started a few months ago when Christine over at Cruisin' Christine shared a list of Leader bus tours on Facebook. Some of the tours were in June, but one was in September. The September tour caught my eye because it was a two-day tour and I had to ask myself what we would do for two days in Leader. Leader has a three digit population, so I was perplexed on what the tour would comprise.
I was so perplexed that I decided contacted Leader Tourism and booked the tour to find out.
Part 12 of my cross Canada series takes us to the smallest province in Canada, Prince Edward Island. However, don't let the name confuse you: PEI is actually 232 islands!
PEI also happens to have smallest population of any province in Canada, with only 146,300 people as of 2014. This means this province has less people than my hometown Regina!
Being so small, however, it was difficult to find images on Instagram. That isn't to say there's nothing there worth seeing! Quiet the quandary, actually. PEI has a few very unique locations that drive their tourism. One of them is the gorgeous themed village of Avonlea, named after the village in the hit novel "Anne of Green Gables" published in 1908. This story, and the subsequent stories, follows Anne, a red-haired "fiery" orphan who grows up on PEI. The story is an international bestseller, and is strangely very popular in Japan (or so I've been told)!