Kananaskis Day Trip: Elbow Falls and Beaver Lodge Trail
On a Saturday that was calling for afternoon rain, we decided to set out early with friends for a walk around Elbow Falls and the Beaver Lodge Trail in Kananaskis. It was a beautiful, sunny morning and very manageable 45-minute drive west of Calgary.
Elbow falls is a favourite day trip spot for Calgarians who enjoy sitting by the falls to see and hear the water rushing past, to find a nice spot with a blanket and a book, you can picnic, mountain bike along the trails or enjoy one of the nearby hiking trails up into the mountains. Kananaskis Country also happens to feature some of the most incredible scenery.
I've enjoyed running and hiking for many years, however I've kicked it into high gear since the end of winter. Those activities help to quiet any anxiety that creeps into my subconscious and keeps me grounded in the present. Since the onset of covid-19 and everything that has happened since, hiking and enjoying meditative trail walks have done a lot to keep me in a good place mentally. It has also been a great way to keep my focus off of hitting the patios which historically for me, have been synonymous with a cold, delicious booze-filled sangria. Since quitting drinking alcohol completely in pursuit of a healthier life filled with activities and things that are more important than hangovers, a hike or a good sweaty run have been some of the things that has kept me feeling challenged, happy and level.
Canada is a spectacular country with the outdoor options and scenery in Alberta being second to none. I do enjoy travelling to faraway places and look forward to seeing more of Europe in the future, but I have come to learn that there is something to be said for rediscovering your own home, the next community over or a place within an hour’s radius of where you reside. Being ensconced in nature with the sound of the river rushing past, the soft pat of pine needles and woodland debris underfoot, the clean smell of mountain air and pine trees and glimpses of bright sun that slip through the tall trees overhead is like meditation in itself.
Elbow falls is a popular place made up of a series of small waterfalls with a trail loop to walk and enjoy the views. It's a picturesque place with lots of room to stretch out, picnic, walk and take photos.
The Beaver Lodge Trail is a unique, make your own adventure kind of trail where you can balance your way across giant fallen logs, choose from different paths to wander along, walk down some steeper trails or stick to more level ones. On the trail, we came across small clearings with picnic benches, a large wooden structure that resembled the skeleton of a teepee and small rock beaches along the banks of the Elbow River. There is still some forest debris visible from the floods from a few years back, it is also evident how nature repairs herself when you can see fresh growth over top of the former devastation.
There were so many beaver dams, and you could see beavers' teeth marks on trees they've taken down for their construction. There are also signs to educate you on what it is you're looking at, if you've never seen this sort of thing before.
We were actually planning to do the Prairie Mountain hike but saw the steep trail head and was collectively said, "Not today." We rounded out the afternoon by having lunch in nearby town Bragg Creek before heading back to Calgary.
When you go; plan to head out in the morning before it gets too crowded. Head to Elbow falls first and then enjoy the shade on Beaver Lodge Trail when the sun gets too hot.
My name is Nicole and I am a Calgary based lifestyle and travel blogger with a focus on alcohol free living. During this period of self-isolation and physical distancing, like many others, I've been more focused on lifestyle than travel. This time has given me the opportunity to slow down and find ways to stay inspired, have fun, stay fit and eat well without travelling too far from home.
While I am inspired by beautiful Instagram pages and blogs that feature nomad travellers living and working from beaches in enviable locales – but that’s not my reality. Even though I don’t normally travel for extended periods of time, I have always had great times and made amazing memories on my getaways.
I noticed that short trips are definitely not showcased as frequently as longer getaways. There are people who don’t wish to be away from home for long periods of time. There are also people like myself who love to travel, but because of their schedule or lifestyle have decided they will not travel for several weeks or months at a time. For us like-minded folks, I've decided to create a community for those who love short getaways and life without alcohol.
Get in touch: Send me a message: firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Instagram and Pinterest: @nicowalkerlyons
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