Christmas may be over, but we've still got a long way to go before summer is upon us again. There's no denying it - the next few months are going to be long... and cold (especially here in Alberta). Don't let that frighten you though! Winter can actually be the best time to get out and explore new things you've never tried before!
Maybe you've always wanted to go skiing or snowboarding, or you've never paid a visit to the Rocky Mountains. Whatever the case may be, don't let a little snow get in the way of some winter fun! This list was designed with adventurous couples in mind, but if you're single you can definitely still check out some of these super secret and amazing spots this winter:
The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary
Where: 263156 Range Rd 53 // Cochrane
Why you should go: This is definitely a totally unique opportunity that you may not come across anywhere else. Sure, you can go pet cute animals at any old petting zoo, but where else are you able to get up close and personal with gorgeous wolves?! If your girlfriend is an animal lover, this is one date she won't soon forget.
Where: Jasper National Park // Jasper
Why you should go: If you find yourself in Jasper National Park, the stunning Maligne Canyon needs to be on your list of things to check out. At this time of year, when everything is icy and covered in snow, it has a unique sort of beauty that you won't want to miss out on.
Edmonton Ice Castles
Where: 9330 Groat Rd NW // Edmonton
Why you should go: Every year, the amazing Ice Castles take over Hawrelak Park in Edmonton, and they definitely are a sight to behold. If you don't mind the cold, you can check out these massive beauties starting on January 4th. Tickets range in price depending on the day, but are a small price to pay for the amazing time you and your girlfriend will have.
Where: 1 Marmot Rd // Jasper
Why you should go: If you love to ski or snowboard, make sure you hit Marmot Basin this winter! It's located in Jasper National Park and has over 90 runs for people of all levels of expertise! No matter if your girlfriend is a skiing fanatic, or a total newbie, she'll definitely have a great day.
Where: North Saskatchewan River // Clearwater County
Why you should go: Abraham Lake is one of the many places in Alberta that everyone should visit at least once. While there's definitely no shortage of beautiful lakes in our province, this one is special. What makes it stands out from all the others in the area are the amazing bubbles that are formed underneath the ice. Don't forget your camera - you'll definitely want to snap some photos.
Canmore Nordic Centre
Where: 1988 Olympic Way // Canmore
Why you should go: When visiting parks in Alberta, a lot of people choose to check out Banff or Jasper, but Canmore Nordic Centre is one of those hidden gems that's definitely underrated! Located not too far from Banff, this spot is a great place to do all your favourite outdoor winter activities, including hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing.
Where: Bragg Creek // Rocky View County
Why you should go: For a lot of Calgarians, Bragg Creek is a great spot to go to for a quick trip out of the city. It's home to plenty of beautiful views and hiking trails, so if your girlfriend is the adventurous or outdoorsy type, you know exactly where your next date should be!
Elk Island National Park
Where: 54401 Range Rd 203 // Fort Saskatchewan
Why you should go: Elk Island is yet another underrated park here in Alberta, and although it may not have the same stunning mountain views as Banff and Jasper, it does give you the opportunity to get up close and personal with the beautiful wildlife we have living here!
Where: Highway 24 // Mossleigh
Why you should go: Sure, you could take your girlfriend out for another dinner and a movie date at your favourite restaurant. Orrrrr, you could switch things up and take her out for dinner and a train ride through the prairies. Aspen Crossing offers a ton of unique packages for couples that include dinner, live entertainment, and a ride around the beautiful province.
Where: Waterton National Park // Waterton
Why you should go: TLC might tell you not to chase waterfalls, but we actually encourage it. Located in Waterton National Park, Cameron Falls is one of the few waterfalls you'll find here in Alberta - making it even more noteworthy. Although it's totally awesome in the summer, checking it out in the winter when everything is frozen can be a pretty magical experience as well!
Where: Bow River Valley // Canmore
Why you should go: If you're heading to Canmore for the day, be sure to reserve a chunk of time to check out Grotto Canyon! When it's covered in snow and ice this place looks like something straight out of a fairytale and is the perfect spot to snap a cute couples photo for your Instagram!
Jasper Dark Sky Preserve
Where: Jasper National Park // Jasper
Why you should go: What could possibly be more romantic than stargazing with your significant other on a chilly winter night? And luckily for you, Jasper National Park is actually a great place to do just that! Pack a few blankets into the backseat of your truck, pick up some hot drinks, and lay out in the back to take in those beautiful wintertime stars!
Where: Wapta Icefield // Improvement District No. 9
Why you should go: Yet another great spot for all you snowboarders out there is the Wapta Traverse. It's more lowkey than some of the other parks here in Alberta, so you won't have to worry about long wait times or avoiding other people while you shred!
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Where: Dinosaur Provincial Park
Why you should go: Who says you can only hangout with dinosaurs in the summer? Dinosaur Provincial Park is open all year round, so you and yours can go exploring through the valleys and hoodoos, spend some time stargazing, or camp out overnight, if you're not too scared of the cold!
Waterton National Park
Where: Alberta 5 // Waterton Park
Why you should go: Waterton is one of Alberta's other amazing national parks that's too often forgotten about. If you want to skip the hectic tourists, this should be your new go to spot! Waterton has both mountain views and prairie landscapes, so you'll really get the best of both worlds during your visit.
WinSport Canada Olympic Park
Where: 88 Canada Olympic Rd SW // Calgary
Why you should go: Maybe you've lived in Calgary all your life and you have yet to check out WinSport, or you're simply looking for a new spot to try your hand at some super fun winter sports! Whatever the case may be, WinSport can provide you with a seriously awesome date this season. Try your hand at tubing, luge, or skiing, among other things, without having to leave the city!
Miette Hot Springs
Where: Miette Rd // Jasper
Why you should go: Let's be real - who in their right mind is going to pass up a day of relaxing in the luxurious Miette Hot Springs? During a trip to Jasper, this HAS to be on your list. It's particularly enjoyable after a log day of snowboarding, hiking, or simply exploring the park!
Athabasca Ice Cave
Where: Columbia Icefield Centre // Jasper National Park
Why you should go: If the photo above doesn't give you reason enough for wanting to go to the Athabasca Ice Caves, I think you might need to think again. These mysterious and beautiful caves can be found in Jasper National Park, and are like nothing you've ever seen before. If you want to make an amazing impression on your girlfriend, be sure to take her here.
Where: 100 Mountain Ave // Banff National Park
Why you should go: One of my earliest childhood memories is riding in the Banff Gondola with my family. This happened years ago, so I think that speaks volumes on just how memorable taking a ride and admiring these stunning views can be. Next time you're visiting Banff, be sure to splurge a little and take in the sights from above.
Where: Banff National Park
Why you should go: Larch Valley is definitely a great Alberta "secret". It's not a popular tourist destination, but it's definitely got some unforgettable scenery that makes it worth visiting more than once. It's at its best in the autumn, when the trees turn into an amazing golden colour, but it's still very enjoyable come winter time!
Two Jack Lake
Where: Lake Minnewanka // Banff National Park
Why you should go: When in Banff, a lot of people choose to visit Lake Louise (can you blame them? It's one of the prettiest places in the province!). If you want to check out somewhere more lowkey though, why not pay a visit to the beautiful Two Jack Lake? You can spend your day skating, or just taking in those pretty mountian views!
Where: Icefields Parkway // Jasper National Park
Why you should go: If you're really feeling the waterfall thing, we've got another option for you! You can find Sunwapta Falls in Jasper National Park. Be sure to dress warm, as it can get quite cold up there! The chills are worth the unforgettable view though.
Where: Improvement District No. 9 // Icefields Parkway
Why you should go: If there's anywhere you're going to visit in the winter, it should be the Icefields Parkway! This is the ultimate snow day destination, with so much to do and see it may be hard to cram it all in to just a few short hours.
Where: Banff National Park
Why you should go: Banff National Park is full of pretty sights, and Lake Minnewanka is another one to add to that list! No matter if you're looking to lace up your skates, shoot some photos of the landscape (or your girlfriend to keep her IG feed looking fresh), you won't regret your visit.