Kananaskis, Alberta At a Glance

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2010

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Kananaskis, Alberta is one of the highlighted vacation destinations in the Canadian Rockies. With a plethora of year-round activities, this exquisite area is sure to make your travel vacation one to remember for years to come.  With its meadows filled with brilliantly colored flowers, crystalline rivers, and pure alpine air, the summer months in Kananaskis make for exceptional hiking, fishing, and biking.  And in winter, Kananaskis’ abundant snow and unparalleled ski trails make the season ideal for any type of outdoor activity.

Activities in Kananaskis, Alberta

Autumn in Kananaskis country. © Mike Grandmaison

In summer the miles of paved bike paths make bike riding a major recreation.  The many trails that wind through Kananaskis County make hiking ideal any time of year, and camping is the perfect way to enjoy the rarified air and the magnificence of Kananaskis’ flora and fauna.  If golf is your game, enjoy the world-class par 72 course at Kananaskis Country Golf Course.  In winter, downhill and cross-country skiing are sublime ways to invigorate the senses amongst scenery that is a quintessential example of the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.

Transportation to and from Kananaskis, Alberta
Kananaskis comprises 2,665 miles and is located 56 miles west of Calgary, bordering on the southeastern edge of Banff National Park. Kananaskis Country encompasses Bow Valley, Bragg Creek, Peter Lougheed, and the Elbow/Sheep Wildland. Easily accessible from Highway 1 (the Trans Canada Highway) its an easy drive when continuing south on Highway 40.  During the summer, Highway 40 is open from the town of Longview to Highway 1.  In autumn to late spring however, a segment of Highway 40 closes.  If not traveling by car, charter bus services are available. Once in Kananaskis, transportation takes on a pleasurable guise in the form of skiing, hiking, rafting, or horseback riding.  Find all that you need at the Visitor Information Centers where a knowledgeable staff will answer all questions. Maps, guides, and information on trail conditions are also available.  Note:  it is important to check on trail conditions at all times of the year, as weather conditions can be tricky in winter.  In summer, trails often close due to bear activity.

Climate in Kananaskis, Alberta
Weather in the Canadian Rockies is notorious for changing on a dime.  Within a ten minute span, you can experience wild extremes in temperature, depending on which way the Chinook winds are blowing.  These warm winds that blow in from the coast can turn a freezing day into a temperate one within minutes.  The best way to dress for Kananaskis is to layer your clothing, adding or subtracting as the climate changes.  Keep an extra layer along with you, even in summer, and in winter, be prepared to peel off that extra layer every now and then.  Average temperatures in summer run from the mid-60s to 70’s F with lows in the 30’s at night.  In winter, expect temperatures that run in the 20’s by day and minus degrees at night.

History of Kananaskis, Alberta
Since way back in time when glaciers created the peaks and valleys of Kananaskis Country, the region has carried a magic that corresponds to the spiritual connections emanating from its former residents.  The history of Kananaskis dates back to Neolithic times.  Archeologists have discovered a myriad of artifacts that date back to 4500 BC, reinforcing the knowledge that this region has been the pathway from the mountains to the valleys throughout many an age.  In the 18th century, Kananaskis was dominated by the Blackfoot, Sarcee, and Peigan tribes and in the mid 19th century, the Stoney arrived.  Today the Stoney people are still gathering herbs and berries, hunting, fishing, trapping, and camping in the area.  Named by the explorer John Palliser after a man named Kananaskis who was struck by an axe in the head and survived, Kananaskis County contains a story unique to the Canadian Rockies.

Kananaskis Village
Set deep the forest, Kananaskis Village consists of two hotels, shops, restaurants, equipment rental stores, and an information center.

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