As we head into winter, you might naturally hole up inside with your family and go through the usual day-to-day routine. Sure, we all want our creature comforts, but it's always a great idea to head outdoors with loved ones and get back in touch with nature — no matter the time of year.
Nature plays an essential role in our lives and wellbeing. It's important to remember not only how accessible it is but also how much joy it brings us. As we get older, we're sometimes required to take a step back in our busy lives to reconnect with it.
A fantastic way to rediscover the great outdoors in Alberta is by hiking the Grotto Creek Canyon Trail. Located in Kananaskis Country, this 7.1-kilometre trail is accessible all year. Roughly a 10-minute drive from Canmore, Grotto Canyon is an excellent family-friendly hike with unbelievable views throughout.
From the Grotto Mountain day-use parking lot, walk the trail for about one kilometre to get to the creek bed, which twists and turns for another kilometre. The limestone walls get steeper as you come to a fork in the creek bed.
You'll find a beautiful waterfall if you head right, which is about halfway. This is a treat, as the waterfall looks majestic when it freezes each winter.
Insider's tip: look carefully on the left, just before the falls at eye level, and you just might see Hopi pictographs, which were painted about 500-1,000 years ago!
But you haven't reached the end, and this unique hike offers more that your family will love. Keep going, and you'll encounter an Inukshuk Garden and a cave.
Grotto Canyon Trail is good for all skill levels, beginners included, which makes this a wonderful hike for all ages. Even dogs are welcome if kept on a leash (after all, they're family members, too!)
Once it gets nice and chilly outside, you can bring snowshoes or even toboggans for the little ones to have a blast.
Besides letting you reconnect with nature, create special memories with loved ones, and get some exercise and fresh air, Grotto Canyon gives you opportunities galore for some family photo updates.
Safety and fine print:
- This trail is a good challenge and safe for most children, but please do be sure to check safety conditions and your comfort and fitness level before embarking out with your family.
- While you don't need a permit for the time being, this trail can get busy. Due to COVID, Alberta Parks does have some rules and regulations in place for health and safety, which you can check out here.
- During the winter you may need snowshoes or crampons since the trail can get icy and slippery.
Of course, you and the fam will need fuel for the hike. A tasty way to get some energy is with Nature Valley granola bars. Made with natural, wholesome ingredients, these convenient snacks are the perfect go-to for all of your outdoor adventures.
Grotto Canyon Trail
Address: Bighorn No. 8, Canmore, AB
Why You Need To Go: To enjoy stunning winter scenery and be amazed by a magical frozen waterfall.
Get your family back to the #JoyofNature with Nature Valley, through their website or by following them on Facebook and Instagram.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.