Day Trips from Calgary (Best of Alberta Series)

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9781552853498: Day Trips from Calgary (Best of Alberta Series)

Calgary lies at the heart of southern Alberta's most spectacular landscape, a landscape that includes the fantastically shaped hoodoos of Drumheller and the mountains of Kananaskis country. Now in full colour, this completely updated and expanded edition of the regional bestseller Day Trips from Calgary is an insider's handbook to discovering the best routes and destinations within a two-hour drive of the city. Locals and tourists alike need only a tank of gas, a road map, and perhaps a picnic lunch and a pair of hiking shoes to make the most of Bill Corbett's insightful guide. Written to entice Calgary residents and visitors into considering all directions of the compass when embarking on a day trip from the city, Day Trips from Calgary covers all the territory travellers will find useful.

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About the Author:

Bill Corbett is a Calgary writer with interests in the outdoors, history, and the environment. His articles have been published in such magazines as Canadian Geographic, Explore, Western Living, Canadian Business and Maclean's. An avid mountaineer and backcountry skier, he can often be found exploring the diverse landscapes of his native Alberta.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Preface

The advice passed down for generations has been this: go west. Thus armed, countless residents of, and visitors to, Calgary have made a beeline for the mecca that is Banff. Banff is, and hopefully always will be, a splendid destination for Calgarians and first-time visitors to the Rocky Mountains. So, too, is the mountain splendour of nearby Kananaskis Country. But there are other places that beckon, albeit more subtly than the seductive peaks on the skyline.

I wrote this book to entice Calgary residents and visitors to consider all directions of the compass when embarking on a day trip from the city. Those who do will be wonderfully surprised.

Calgarians have at their doorstep some of the most spectacular and varied landscapes in the world. These include the fantastically shaped badlands of Drumheller, the sublime ranchlands of Millarville, the rolling hills of Rumsey, the cottonwood forests of Lethbridge, the prairies and pelicans of Brooks, and the foothills of Pincher Creek, to name a few. Where else can one hop in the car and within an hour travel from prairies to foothills to mountains, or find all three ecosystems merged in one location?

The southern half of Alberta is also rich in human history. It dates from prehistoric hunters of 10,000 years ago and extends through the millennia when natives and buffalo ruled the landscape. More recently, it covers the eras of white explorers and fur traders, whisky traders and Mounties, ranchers and settlers. These and other stories are well told in many small-town museums and the multi-million-dollar interpretive facilities that attract visitors from around the world.

The premise of this book is simple: what can you see and do within a two-hour drive in any direction from Calgary? Some destinations can be reached in 20 minutes, others in a full two hours.

Many of the farthest destinations have much to offer along the way. In such cases, I've described the trip as much as the destination. If you think Lethbridge or the Crowsnest Pass is too distant for a day trip, consider the tourists willing to make a day's pilgrimage to Lake Louise, which is almost two hours from the city.

This isn't a wilderness guide, though you might well find solitude on many of these trips, especially if you chart your own course on back roads. The prairies have been ploughed, the foothills claimed by ranches and acreage, and the mountains marked by tourist developments. But there are still tracts of native prairie, patches of aspen parkland, and numerous other unspoiled areas protected within parks or natural reserves. Even the altered landscape sill possesses the power to inspire with varied topography and distant vistas.

This latest edition of Day Trips from Calgary includes 12 new trips. They range from a rare visit to a Hutterite colony and a stop at one of Canada's largest rodeos to trips to a gopher museum and a ghost town. the latter in a spectacular badlands setting. For active families, there are also several cycling trips--including one departing from within Calgary's city limits--as well as a short hike to a mountaintop with panoramic views.

In this edition, I've also added suggested places to get coffee and tea, breakfast, lunch, and snacks for many of the day trips. In recent years, the number of good cafes, restaurants, and diners has grown considerably in the cities, towns, and countryside of central and southern Alberta. They range from some of the best dining spots in Alberta to decent, independently-owned alternatives to the highway-side franchises. The list of suggested places is by no means comprehensive, just spots I've enjoyed or had recommended to me.

Speaking of lists, I've added, at the back of the book, lists of my favourite things on day trips from Calgary: short drives, best small towns, finest museums and restaurants, etc. These can be especially useful to those with limited opportunities to tour southern and central Alberta or to those wanting to hit just the highlights.

The trips described in this book can be enjoyed by families, seniors, avid naturalists, and anyone interested in places and people. Many are loop trips or offer alternative return routes to the city. While the automobile is the primary means of touring this country, there are lots of opportunities to stretch your legs. Wherever possible, I've included a short, often interpretive, walk of usually no more than a kilometre or two.

These trips require no expertise and no special equipment other than a tank of gas, a road map, perhaps a picnic lunch, and a plentiful supply of curiosity. Enjoy.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Corbett, Bill
Published by Whitecap Books (2002)
ISBN 10: 1552853497 ISBN 13: 9781552853498
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