It’s summer road trip season and that doesn’t have to mean packing all the things and traveling all across the country. While we start to poke our heads out of this pandemic and restrictions start to ease, venturing further outside our bubble and away from home is good for a change of scenery and you don’t even need to go very far.
I like to get up early on the weekends and .. just .. go somewhere. It could be golf, it could be a hike, but sometimes it’s just me and my camera with a warm coffee and the sunrise in my rear view mirror.
You might not think that just a half day on the road would be a big deal for your car, but it is extra mileage you’re adding on, so before you get yourself set up for a summer season of day tripping for your mental health, make sure you take your ride to Kal Tire for a checkup.
Little things like having adequate tire tread, a healthy battery, and fresh windshield wipers can make all the difference between finding peace and quiet to clear your head and dealing with the stress of repairs down a remote dusty road. You could also do the checking up on your own with these simple road trip prep tips.
Now that you’re all prepped and ready for the road, here are 5 easy road trips to take from Calgary (and what to eat along the way)!
Birding on Plummers Road And Sugar Shack Bakery in Bragg Creek
Plummers Road is southwest of Calgary and in the rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a popular area for road cyclists to stretch their legs and get some mileage in, but it also has an interesting stretch where birdhouses dot the highway for Rocky Mountain Bluebirds to nest and make their home.
Dozens of the bird boxes pop up every few dozen metres, all you need to do is just pull off to the side, haul out your binoculars or camera and wait to see birds as blue as the sky go about their day.
Depending on the direction you loop out for your birding adventure, you could add a sidetrip to Bragg Creek at the beginning or the end to visit the wonderful Sugar Shack Bakery. My boys like having a big twist ice cream while I load up on brownies and bread to bring home.
Birding At Frank Lake And Hitchin’ Post in High River
South of Calgary is a birder’s paradise at Frank Lake Wetland Conservation Aera. Thousands of migratory birds like to call this place home and the cacophony of blackbirds, American avocets, American coots, pelicans, geese, and seagulls echoes across the prairie.
Before or after you get your birding in, a visit to the Hitchin’ Post Drive-In, just 10km west of Frank Lake in High River is a must. Their milkshakes are fantastic, and you can’t go wrong with their classic burger and fries.
Policeman Creek and Le Fournil in Canmore
The Three Sisters in Canmore are a favourite photographic subject for tourists from around the world, but to get the truly iconic photo of the sisters reflected in the water, you need to venture off the beaten path. Just across the road from a dog park, down where Policeman Creek meets the Bow, you’ll find meandering pathways. THIS is the spot where you just want to sit and take it all in (or wander around the twisted nest of trails in the area).
When you’re done, make your way into Canmore and visit Le Fournil, a elegant, authentic French bakery with all the rustic favourites and fancy treats you can imagine. I always stop to pick up a beurre jambon and some fancy chocolates (but not on Wednesdays, when they’re closed).
Storm Chasing and Sweet Capone’s in Red Deer
Alberta gets some of the biggest storms in Canada each summer with a stretch called Hailstorm Alley that rips right through the centre of the province.
As you chase the cells spawning off the foothills down dusty rural roads, make sure you find time to stalk up on any of the dozen varieties of cannoli from Sweet Capone’s at the north end of Red Deer. You may not find a storm on your search, but you will always take the cannoli.
The Cowboy Trail and Longview Beef Jerky
Some days it’s about the journey, not the destination. So I put on an audiobook or podcast or playlist, and I just … drive. The Cowboy Trail is perfect for days like this.
I’ll stretch myself from Bragg Creek (there’s the Sugar Shack Bakery again) heading south through Longview picking up a fistful of beef jerky and continuing as far south as I can imagine before heading back home through Claresholm (and getting cinnamon buns at Roy’s Place) and Nanton (for treats from the famous candy store).
This post is sponsored by Kal Tire