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Embrace the chill: 6 unique outdoor adventures

Year after year, Calgary ranks high globally as one of the best places to live due to quality of life, economic opportunities and, most of all, its abundance of outdoor recreation. Being close to the Canadian Rockies, with the rolling Bow River and extensive pathways, Calgary offers endless opportunities for those looking to get outside.

However, the winter months tend to have people cozying up indoors. While our parks and pathways are excellent destinations in the summer, there are some unique experiences only available in the winter (plus, popular spots tend to be much less busy). 

That's why we're sharing six unique activities to get you out of the house and into nature this winter. 

Visit Fish Creek Park Ice Caves

Known as Calgary’s largest urban park and top five biggest in Canada, Fish Creek Provincial Park is an outdoor haven year-round. But one of its best hidden gems is the ice caves. Not too hard to locate, this winter wonder is a cool find near the Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant during your next adventure (weather dependent, of course). To get there, park near the Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, and walk across the bridge, before turning west and following the south side of the river.

Skate Near the Chinook Arc  (841-1009 12 Avenue SW)

Check out this interactive art display in the heart of Calgary’s downtown. Located on the corner of Barb Scott Park (1211 9 Street SW), the illuminated structure emits a soft glow and allows viewers to change the lighting with interactive movement. Remember to bring your skates, because this park doubles as a skating rink during the winter months. If you visit after dark, enjoy the bustling downtown atmosphere while the Chinook Arc lights up your surroundings. 

Try Ice Biking at Bowness Park (8900 48 Avenue NW)

A popular park in both winter and summer, there’s always plenty to do at Bowness Park. But one of the more unique activities is ice biking, where you ride a bike on skates. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds! The front wheel is replaced with skates, and they’ve added additional skates around the back wheel – no balancing needed. Just pedal, steer, and you’re good to go. While you’re there, enjoy beautifully-lit trees and spot Bownessie under the bridge. Don’t forget to give crokicurl a try too! 

See a Mini Frozen Waterfall with a View

If you haven’t been to Bowmont Park (85 Street NW) recently, plan to soon. From rolling grasslands and stunning views to the winding Bow River and a wooden boardwalk, you can soak in all the urban nature. Follow the boardwalk and you’ll eventually hit a small, trickling (hopefully frozen) waterfall as you walk towards the river. But that's not all — take the stairs up the hill and catch a stunning view over the Bow River and Calgary’s northwest (you can often see the mountains!).

Get Cozy at the Hygge Hut 

The Hygge Hut in Calgary’s East Village (529 Riverfront Avenue SE) offers a cozy experience for those cold river walks along the Bow. With live music every Friday from 3:30pm to 5:30pm and roaring fires during the weekend afternoons, this is the perfect spot to pop in and warm up. Once you’re ready, head across the frozen Bow River to St. Patrick's Island and check out Bloom, or continue across Memorial Drive to Flyover Park and see Bubble Tree (particularly beautiful after dark). 

Discover Calgary’s Glacial Erratics

Calgary is home to an abundance of glacial boulders that were once part of the Canadian Rockies. These rocks were transported here 15,000 to 20,000 years ago on a glacier from the Tonquin Valley that left thousands of glacial rocks in its path. Fun fact: The city is littered with glacial rocks – some so big, they’d make your jaw drop. A few of the many found here in the city are Split Rock in Confluence Park and the famous Nose Hill buffalo rubbing stone, both located in the city’s northwest. 

And there you have it  – six outdoor adventures to get you out of the house and into nature this winter. If you’re looking for more ways to experience Calgary, use the YYC Adventure Atlas ( to plan your next outing, and grab our YYC Winter Guide ( for an abundance of local activities. 


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