From majestic mountain scenery to serene prairie landscapes and rushing rapids, the Trans Canada Trail in Alberta offers a myriad of experiences for all outdoor enthusiasts. With almost 3,400 kilometres of Trail sections, Alberta is home to some of Canada’s most stunning vistas and rewarding journeys.
Discover our five favourites along the Trans Canada Trail in Alberta.
City of Leduc Multiway Trail
The City of Leduc Multiway Trail offers excellent urban trails extending from the airport to the city centre, then curving south and west to the city boundary. This extensive pathway system is made up of paved and boardwalk sections, replete with great views and photo ops, plus interpretive signage about the area’s environment and wildlife. Head to the Telford Lake Trail, an 8.2-km walking, biking and bird watching loop that wraps around the lake. Highlights include views of the Cultural Village and the Stone Barn Garden, community gardens, lovely park space and boat launches.
Leduc’s Multiway Trail is about 10 km long, and is great for walking, hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing and rollerblading. This accessible trail is appropriate for users of all levels, including those with limited mobility.
City of Red Deer – Waskasoo Parks
Red Deer’s beautiful parks and natural green spaces are well known throughout Alberta, with over 100 km of easily accessible, paved, hiking and equestrian trails connecting trail users to beautiful green areas and park attractions.
The Waskasoo Parks trail system in Red Deer offers up over 30 kilometres of paved trail sections, with options for biking, hiking, walking or jogging in warmer weather, or cross-country skiing in the winter months.
Stop for a picnic along the Trail and keep an eye out for birds, including osprey. You may even see coyotes, deer, beavers or porcupines! On hot days, the water playground will be a sure hit with the little ones – and not so little ones. Fort Normandeau and the Kerry Wood Nature Centre are great options to learn more about the history and natural environment of the area. The Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary features almost 122 hectares of protected land within city limits.
Des Nedhé Trail
Straddling the Alberta and the Northwest Territories, the Des Nedhé Trail features both land and water components. For a journey on the water, head out on the Slave River between the Peace-Athabasca Delta and Great Slave Lake. If travelling on land is more your speed, the Trail follows a 30-kilometre portage route around four sets of Slave River rapids, then continues to the meeting point between the Salt and Slave rivers. Enjoy exceptional views of the rapids and the surrounding environment as you hike, cycle, ski or snowmobile along the Trail.
In Fort Smith, stop at one – or several – home studios or businesses that feature work from local artists, or visit the Northern Life Museum & Cultural Centre to learn all about the culture, history and natural environment of the region.
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park
Explore the untouched grasslands of Alberta in this exceptional park. Featuring both paved and shale paths, Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park offers several trails, ranging from challenging hills to open grassland and wooded areas.
The Glenbow Trail provides access to the Tiger Lily Loop, which features stunning views of Bader Bowl to the west and is perfect for those looking for a relatively flat hike.
The trail also passes directly in front of the Park’s Visitor Information Centre, where the beautiful interpretive displays can be seen, and the helpful staff and volunteers can provide information about what the Park offers. Winding down into the valley bottom, the trail passes by trail junctions to Yodel Loop and Bowbend Trail, then turns to the east.
Popular options in the warmer months include walking, hiking and cycling, while cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are great winter choices. In the spring, lovely orange western wood lilies adorn the trail. Note that the park features accessible picnic areas, but overall is quite hilly.
West Bragg Creek Trail
Connecting the communities of Calgary, Cochrane, Redwood, Bragg Creek and Canmore, this trail is nestled in a beautiful woodland known locally as the “enchanted forest.”
The Boundary Ridge section of the larger West Bragg Creek Trail offers hikers, cyclists, cross-country skiers and snowshoers pure adventure through dense forests. Ascend several switchbacks up to Boundary Ridge at the eastern edge of Kananaskis country, then take one of several short side trails to a viewpoint of the stunning Rocky Mountain foothills. The trail continues down the south-facing slope, offering more spectacular viewpoints along the descent. From the Boundary Ridge section, users can join other trails to extend their outing.
The Braggin Rights part of the trail combines steep climbs and short dips while winding through tall trees. Hike or bike up forested trails along a sunny hillside, then continue to the Merlin View loop – a great mountain biking trail. After a snack break, set off on the Kestrel section and take in amazing views of Moose Mountain en route to the Tom Snow Trail. Descend to the valley floor through a series of twists and turns. The Moose Trail weaves through dense forest back to Merlin View. Spectacular viewpoints abound!