Located in the foothills of the
Canadian Rockies, Calgary has a lot to offer vacationers, especially those traveling in search of adventures that will get their hearts racing. The Rocky Mountains, with their steep jagged peaks and rugged landscapes, are a natural destination for thrill seekers.
We've made a list of our top ten, with several oft-overlooked activities making the list, as well as a handful of locales that you may not have thought to explore. With all these heart-racing activities, though, you'll want to make sure you seek out a relaxing vacation rental in Calgary to go home to and unwind at after a long day of thrills and adventure.
1. Mountain Biking
Take a trip over to the neighbouring
Banff National Park to hit the trails with your mountain biking crew from some rugged adventure. New trails, such as
Star Wars, have quickly become popular with bikers of varying levels while older trails are still holding their own for riders who want some cross country adventure. Check out the
Lake Minnewanka Hike, which is a local favourite, or other scenic courses like the
Moraine Lake Highline and
Ross Lake trails.
2. Rock Climbing
If mountain biking isn't really your idea of adventure, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to get your adrenaline pumping in Banff National Park. For a mountain-loving thrill seeker, the only real way to get your heart racing is to challenge the very rock formations themselves. Canmore sits just outside of Banff and is an easy drive from Calgary. From Canmore, many climbing spots are accessible such as
Heart Creek for short climbs and
the challenging Acephale. Regardless of your skill level,
there are plenty of mountain climbing adventures around Calgary, whether you are looking climbing lessons, a guided mountain climb or one of the popular sites of experienced climbers - you can be sure to feel your adrenaline soar as you overcome the mighty Canadian Rockies.
Catch a rush of adrenaline as you hurtle through the air on one of the many zipline courses in mountains just outside of Calgary. Traveling at over 50 kilometers per hour, you can experience the majesty of the Canadian Rockies while
experiencing the unique sensation of flying through the air. Zipline Eco-Tours in Canmore is perfect for water and mountain enthusiasts, as the route has you cascading down a mountainside and over the thunderous Kicking Horse River.
4. Summer Bobsleigh
Sleigh rides aren't just for the winter anymore with the
summer bobsleigh in Canada Olympic Park. During the summer you can ride the bobsleigh as a professional driver steers it down the same track that was used in the
1988 Winter Olympics. The bobsleigh has been outfitted with wheels instead of rails and races around the curves of the track at up to 100 kilometre per hour. Prepare for the most exhilarating ride of your life as experience the Olympic luge and reach 4 g-force speeds.
5. Whitewater Rafting
Tackling the rapids of the rivers running through the Canadian Rockies is a classic adrenaline-pumping activity for adventurous visitors in Calgary. If you are new to rafting, book a thrilling trip down the rapids of the nearby
Kananaskis River, but if you are looking for intense, wild rapids, you'll want to take a drive out to
Kicking Horse River for a more adrenaline-inducing challenge.
6. Helicopter Tours and Hikes
Imagine a pristine Canadian wilderness hidden deep within the ranges of the Rocky Mountains. Crystal clear lakes and pristine alpine landscapes that have been largely untouched by humans are still hidden in the less accessible areas of Calgary's mountains. Choose between
touring the terrain from above or
sign up for a heli-run or
heli-hike to experience a truly remarkable and unmarred piece of this world.
Paragliding and hang gliding are thrilling adventures to take through the mountains of Banff. Sail through the air like one of the 260 species of birds that inhabit the national park. Take flight either solo or with an instructor to truly get a bird's eye view of the mountains.
If you are a true adrenaline junkie, there is no way that you can miss out on a chance to jump out of a plane and plunge towards the earth in a skydiving experience that offers unrivaled scenery. Skydiving, by far, offers the largest rush of adrenaline and is not for the faint of heart. There's a spectator area to watch your friends jump if you aren't up for experiencing a free fall, but you'll probably never hear the end about how a thrill-seeker like you chickened out! There are
numerous skydiving companies that will take you above the Canadian Rockies for a jump, but if you aren't sure where to start looking, Banff Adventures Unlimited can help you find a company and book your reservations.
9. Hot Air Balloon Rides
While not as intense as some of the other activities on this list, hot air ballooning still takes you to great heights. Even the most intense thrill seekers need to take a break from their usually high levels of energy to relax a little - after all, this is your vacation! Consider ballooning your easy-going thrill of your trip as you gently drift along at the whim of the wind in the thin mountain air.
10. Skiing and Snowboarding
The steep, rugged peaks of the Rocky Mountains are especially alluring to any skier or snowboarder looking for the excitement of a challenge.
Canada Olympic Park offers both skiing and snowboarding during the winter months, and there are plenty of other
ski resorts in Alberta just outside of Calgary, especially if you drive into the mountains near Banff National Park. Avid skiers and snowboarders should check into buying a
Big 3 Pass which allows you to ski in any of the three biggest resorts in Banff: Mt. Norquay, the Lake Louise Ski Area and Sunshine Village.