Cycling the Icefields Parkway (photo: Blickwinkel/Alamy)

Your Best Summer Ever: Alberta Outdoor Adventures

By AMA Staff

It’s hard to overstate the bounty of outdoor adventures and activities that await Albertans each summer. The sheer number of places to explore by bike, canoe or on foot can be overwhelming, so take our advice and get reacquainted with these favourite cycling circuits and paddling routes. Then sit back, relax, and dip your line into a local lake to land a fish or two.

TWO-WHEEL TREKS
Put your pedals to the pavement (or dirt) on these scenic cycle trails.

• The Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper is one of the most scenic roads in the world. With glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife (as well as wide, paved shoulders), there’s a wonder at every turn.

• Start at Cronquist House at Red Deer’s Bower Ponds and take The Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail) north to Lacombe and back again. The relatively flat 60-km ride meanders through Red Deer, Blackfalds and alongside Lacombe Lake.

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• For a little up and down and a lot of prairie, hit the 50-km Beaumont Trail, southeast of Edmonton. Take Township Road 510 from the Northern Bear Golf Course toward Beaumont. Head south when you hit town and double back on Township Road 505, turning north at Range Road 234 and east on 510 at Eagle Rock Golf Course.

alberta outdoor adventures kayaking elkwater lake
Kayaking on Elkwater Lake (photo: Katie Goldie/Travel Alberta)

PADDLING HOT SPOTS
Perfect places for canoeing and kayaking.

Elkwater Lake: This idyllic lake sits in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, just south of Medicine Hat. At the marina, rent a canoe or kayak and head out to enjoy the four-km-long body of water, alongside boats and stand-up paddleboards.

Bow River: It begins in the mountains and runs through Banff National Park, Kananaskis Country and Calgary. Bring your own vessel or rent a canoe for a leisurely paddle.

Pyramid Lake: After a quick lesson with Wild Current Outfitters, jump in a handcrafted cedar canoe to navigate this lake in Jasper National Park. The vessel seats 10, so there will be plenty of eyes to spot wildlife along the shore.

alberta outdoor adventures fishing lures bait
illustrations: Jason Schneider

GONE FISHIN’
How to reel in some of Alberta’s common fish species, courtesy of angling expert Bob Sexton.

Fish: Walleye
Lure: Suspending jerkbait
How to: Cast or troll on top of a shallow structure (like a sunken reef) or along the edge of a shallow flat

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Fish: Rainbow trout
Lure: Small spinner
How to: Cast downstream into river pools to increase the lure’s vibration and flash as you retrieve

Fish: Cutthroat trout
Lure: Dry fly
How to: Using a 5-weight fly rod, cast into cold rivers and lakes; strip the fly at a quick pace to elicit a strike