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7 scenic hikes outside of National Parks to check out this summer

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Kristy Archibald Jul 18, 2017 3:30 am 565

Hiking is such an amazing way to switch it up from the gym and get your physical activity in while breathing the fresh mountain air and taking in the picturesque views.

However, as convenient as the free Canada 150 National Park passes may be, that also means that popular hiking trails will be exponentially busier, especially on the weekends.

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Luckily, for us here in Alberta we also have a ton of Provincial parks that offer plenty of secluded hiking trails that will not be nearly as packed with flocking tourists.

Here are 7 gorgeous hiking trails to check out this summer that will provide a bit of relief from the crowds.

Moose Mountain

[7.3.17] Some had to die so I can keep them pressed between some books

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This is a beautiful hike that boasts incredible panoramic views of the Rock Mountains. Prepare for a lengthy hike, and don’t let yourself be fooled on the way down, as there are many fluctuations in elevation going both ways. However, with such a stunning backdrop you will hopefully be too preoccupied to notice. If you have friends hiking Prairie Mountain at the same time, be sure to keep an eye out, as the two peaks are only 4km apart and other hikers are frequently spotted!

  • Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
  • Distance: 14.6km
  • Location: West of Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country

Nihahi Ridge

Yo summer where u at

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Hiking enthusiasts, this is a hike you just have to tackle. When you get to the top of the ridge expect beautiful views of the elbow valley as far as the eye can see, but be careful not to get blown away!

  • Skill Level: Moderate
  • Distance: 9km
  • Location: Near Elbow Falls, Kananaskis Country

Jumping Pound Mountain


This mountain was named after Jumping Pound Creek, because of its initial use as a buffalo jump by the Blackfoot First Nations back in the day. There are 3 separate routes that you can take up to the summit, with the north ridge being the longest, but provides the best views all the way up. At the top, you will enjoy 360-degree views of Moose Mountain, Calgary, and Fisher Range.

  • Skill Level: Moderate
  • Distance: 5km – 9km
  • Location: West of Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country

Chester Lake

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This year-round hiking trail is a stunning scenic trail where you will experience the most challenging portion at the beginning, as that is where the most elevation gain occurs. It then takes you on a meandering adventure through meadows and patches of bright green forests to lead you to the emerald waters of Chester Lake.

  • Skill Level: Moderate
  • Distance: 4.6km one-way
  • Location: Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Kananaskis Country

Grizzly Peak


Don’t let the length of this hike fool you! It’s short, sweet and definitely a more challenging scramble for seasoned hikers. On your way up you will pass an abundance of wild flowers scattered amongst the trees and scrubs that make for a very peaceful hike. It’s recommended you leave early enough so you have some extra time at the peak, as the view of the Kananaskis Valley is breathtaking and makes for a serene spot to just sit, exist and take in the moment.

  • Skill Level: Moderate
  • Distance: 7km return
  • Location: North of Ripply Creek, Kananaskis Country

Pocaterra Ridge


Words can barely describe the unreal backdrop that you will experience on this trek! Marvel in the beauty of this hike as you make your way through the four peaks, each with their own magnificent views – the first one is the hardest. This is one of the rare trails in this area that can be done in one straight path, rather than descending the way you came, so bring two vehicles to have at the beginning and the end. It can get a bit steep at times, especially when you are descending from the first peak, so it is advised to bring hiking poles for better stability.

  • Skill Level: Moderate
  • Distance: 11km
  • Location: Close to Exshaw, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Kananaskis Country

Berg Lake Trail

2 days, 44km can now tick Berg Lake off the list 🌿🍃 @jjjsippe

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This is a long hike that will take two days to complete, so be sure to come prepared to stay over night! During your trek you will pass the crisp blue waters of Kinny Lake which then lead to a valley full of magnificent waterfalls. Expect to see various wildlife on your journey to the blue green waters of Berg Lake, where you will pitch your tent and spend the night basking in it’s peaceful stillness.

  • Skill Level:  Moderate – Difficult
  • Distance: 44km
  • Location: Mount Robson Provincial Park on the Alberta and BC Border

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Kristy Archibald
Kristy is a creative Communications and PR strategist, freelance writer, coffee enthusiast and wine connoisseur who has a strong passion for travelling, art, style and fashion. Check out her blog (FloralandBows.com) for a taste of YYC through the lens of a refined, sassy, PR girl working on being a successful #girlboss.

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