How Hiking Became Our Favourite Affordable Activity
Written by Janine Rogan

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Growing up in Alberta, it's easy to take for granted how amazing the Rocky Mountains are. I know I certainly did.

When my husband was growing up, his family explored the vast Rockies every year, and it's become a tradition and passion I now get to share with him. Living so close to the mountains makes it easy to hop in the car on a sunny Saturday morning, drive just over an hour and spend the day in the fresh mountain air.

A Family Activity

We've done a lot of beautiful hikes over the years, both when we lived in Edmonton and now that we live in Calgary. With the mountains basically in our backyard, we now go hiking more than ever.

It's a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, keep your family fit, and stay on budget. Hiking really doesn't have to cost a lot, especially if it's a family-friendly adventure.

Whether you live in Alberta or you're visiting from out of town, the mountains are the place to be. Hiking up to a breathtaking view is a great workout and can be fun and frugal for families.

Some of Our Favorite Family-Friendly Hikes

  • Grassi Lakes - Under 2 hours, Easy
  • Plain of the Six Glaciers Lake Louise Tea House - 4-5 hours, Medium
  • Johnston Canyon - Under 3 hours, Easy
  • Athabasca Falls - Under 1 hour, Easy
  • Bow Lake and Bow Falls* - Under 3 hours, Medium

* Going to the Lake is easy, the falls is moderate.

To Keep Hiking Frugal, You'll Want to Keep the Following Tips in Mind

  1. Pack lots of water: Alberta summers can be hot, which means that you need to stay hydrated while you're exploring the mountains. Being out in the sun all day is glorious, but just be sure you have enough water to get you through the day.
  2. Pack a picnic lunch the night before to have once you reach the summit: This is probably one of my favorite parts of hiking. I love picnicking on the top of a mountain. Packing your lunch with goodies from the grocery store is a great way to stay on budget. Sandwiches and trail mix are always a must for us.
  3. Use the Gasbuddy App to find the cheapest place to fill up before the drive: If you haven't downloaded this app and it's available in your area, it can help you save on gas. If you're driving into a touristy area, chances are gas is going to be more expensive. Use this app to help you plan the most affordable gas station stops.
  4. Look on Kijiji for park passes: The Rocky Mountains get a lot of tourists throughout the year from places all over the globe. If a European couple comes for a week or two, they're likely to buy a park pass. Some tourists put them on Kijiji to resell them at a discounted price after their trips are over.
  5. Looking to stay overnight? Check out the many Airbnbs in the area. Hotels can be expensive, and usually they require going out to eat. If you can find a reasonably priced condo on Airbnb or VBRO, you'll be able to save on accommodations and food costs.


If You Don't Live Near the Mountains...

I may have taken the mountains for granted before, but not anymore. It's now one of my favourite activities to do with my partner and it keeps us fit without costing too much. If you don't live near the mountains, chances are there's a convenient and quick nature getaway near you, even if it's just a park.

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