Your Weekend Planner (April 8-10): Biking, Hiking, Birding, and Crafts

by - Thursday, April 07, 2016

Welcome to the first edition of Your Weekend Planner, your guide to outdoor fun in and around town. You can expect local recommendations for the perfect outdoor activities to do now. From micro to epic adventures, there is something for all ages! Play outside, Calgary!


Biking

All paved bike paths - in town and in the mountains - are good to go! There are even some options for in-town mountain biking if you're craving some single track. Mountain trails need some more time to dry out, but if these above seasonal temperatures continue, we should be mountain biking in West Bragg Creek soon!
  1. Take the Bow River Pathway to the Calgary Zoo, Fort Calgary, Bow Habitat Station, or the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. Various bike routes are described here
    • Tasty stops: Angel's Cappucino & Ice Cream, Edworthy Park; Phil & Sebastian Coffee and Citizen Bakery at Simmon's Building
    • Featured playground: Be sure to visit the new East Village Playground! Calgary Playground Review did a nice writeup on it here. Nearby St. Patrick's Island also has a great playground.

      East Village Playground (west of Fort Calgary)
  2. For in-town mountain biking, Nose Hill Park is your best option right now, but the east end of Bowmont Park is also looking good (mostly dry). The prairie crocuses are in full bloom right now, so get out and enjoy them while you can! Eastlands is also dry with just a few damp spots (Thank you, Tyler Dixon, for the update). For more information on Eastlands, please see this post.

    Prairie Crocuses, Nose Hill Park (April 6, 2016)
  3. The Bow Valley Bike Path is a paved bike path in Bow Valley Provincial Park less than an hour from Calgary! Start at the Visitor Centre and ride to the campground for an 8.6 km round trip ride. There are many short, interpretive hiking trails to explore too!Don't forget your bike lock! For more information, please see this post.

    Bow Valley Bike Path
  4. The Legacy Trail was cleared a few weeks ago and sources say the trail is ice-free! Ride from Canmore to Banff, or make the ride considerably shorter by starting at Cascade Pond.

    Legacy Trail, Banff
  5. Wanna do some road riding without pesky cars? Conditions are great past the winter gate on Hwy 66 (Bragg Creek). Thank you to Robin and others who provided updates on my Trip Reports page! It's so fun to ride the road with no cars and you can only do it until May 14!! Tanya of Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies recommends riding from the Hwy 66 winter gate to the Beaver Flats campground (beyond the campground, it's a steady climb). For more information, and family-friendly hiking suggestions for the area, please see her post here. You can also ride on Highway 40 past the winter gate until June 14. After about 3.5 km, you can access a creek on the right side of the road. It makes a nice play and snack spot. If you have the munchies on the drive home, stop at Mt. Kidd campground for an ice cream or dine at Moose Family Kitchen (ramen and Japanese beef bowls!) or the Delta Kananaskis Lodge (various options). Moose Family Kitchen shares the same building as Kananaskis Outfitters.

Biking Highway 66 Past the Winter Gate
Hiking

Trails at lower elevations are ice free, but ice cleats are still required for most hikes in Banff and Lake Louise. Always check park trail reports before heading out or visit my Trip Reports page.

The trails in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park and Bow Valley Provincial Park have a few muddy sections, but no ice! At Glenbow Ranch, try the Tiger Lily Loop (2 km) or Yodel Loop (2.9 km return from parking lot) for great views. All the trails at Bow Valley are kid-friendly and short, but we love the view of Mount Yamnuska from Middle Lake and variety of Flowing Water Trail. There is also a picnic area at Middle Lake if you'd like to linger. Please note that the road gate is closed after Middle Lake, so you will need to walk or bike to the other trailheads.

For more information, please check out these posts:

Flowing Water Trail, Bow Valley Provincial Park
No time to get out of town? Check out these 3 Family Hikes in NW Calgary (Waterfall Valley, Douglas Fir Trail, and Nose Hill Park's Medicine Wheel, pond, and airport lookout)! In the south, visit Weaselhead and Fish Creek for a nature escape in the city. Expect muddy sections in shaded areas.

Douglas Fir Trail, Edworthy Park

Birding

Now that the birds are back, take some time to watch them and learn about them. While good ole books from the library are helpful, an app you can "talk" to the birds with is even more fun (and convenient)! We like Cornell University's Merlin Bird ID app; it is user friendly, free, and includes recorded bird calls you can play to attract birds. It's an amazing experience when the birds come around to listen! For more instructions on using the app, please see this post.

Red Winged Blackbird

Outdoor Crafts

Pick up a birdfeeder and bag of birdseed from the Dollar Store for $4, then decorate the bird feeder to make a beautiful and functional decoration for the yard. Use nontoxic acrylic paints on the outside of the bird feeder only.

Our hand painted bird feeder!
Budding artists and green thumbs will enjoy this tutorial, by Holly at the Inspired Home, on making an adorable Mother's Day Fingerprint (or Footprint) Flower Pot.

Mother's Day Fingerprint Flower Pot
Image Credit: Holly LaRochelle

Events

Saturday, April 9: Bear Day at the Canmore Nordic Centre
Bear spray demonstration, kids' scavenger hunts, bear trapping demo and presentations.
http://www.albertaparks.ca/canmore-nordic-centre/activities-events/events/bear-day/

Saturday, April 9 & Sunday, April 10: Aggie Days at Stampede Park
Enjoy many interactive agriculture activities including cow milking, sheep shearing, livestock auctioneering, the amazing corn maze, and much more!FREE admission!
http://ag.calgarystampede.com/events/aggie-days/

Enjoy! What will you do first?

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