A Daytrip to Kananaskis Country

Popularity of Daytrips

When camping at Riverbend Campground, some guests like to take day trips. For people vacationing in the area, it’s an opportunity to explore. For weekenders that live nearby, it’s a chance to revisit favorite spots or discover something new. There are many options from urban adventures to communing with nature.  One area that should be on your list of top picks is a day trip to Kananaskis Country.

The Beginnings

Kananaskis Country is referred to as Alberta’s Mountain playground. It takes its name from the Kananaskis River which was named by explorer and geographer John Palliser. Kananaskis was the name of a Cree friend of Palliser. Founded in 1978, this year marks the 45th anniversary of its formation. Its 4,000 square kilometers are best known for its beauty and recreational opportunities but it actually has a variety of land use designations. These range from the many recreational activities to some commercial uses and ecological reserves.

View from the south shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
View from the south shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

Kananaskis Conservation Pass

In the past, access to Kananaskis Country was free. During the pandemic, many indoor activities were restricted and the beauty of the great outdoors was calling. People flocked to the area putting a strain on services and impacted wildlife and conservation efforts. In June of 2021 the Provincial Government implemented a user fee. The stated objective was to help offset the costs of maintaining the area. Users must purchase either a daily or yearly pass. A day pass is $15.00. These can be purchased online here

Alberta Provincial Parks

It’s interesting to note that Kananaskis Country contains nine Provincial Parks/Wildland Provincial Parks. This number might surprise even some locals. Regular visitors to Kananaskis will have favorite areas. The closest Kananaskis experience to Riverbend Campground is Sheep River Provincial Park/Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park. These two are just a 45-minute drive (52 kms) west from here. The headwaters of the Sheep River, which flows by our campground, are located here.

Kananaskis Country Recreation


Looking at the recreational opportunities of the entire area, sightseeing is near the top of thew list. A favorite scenic drive is Highway 40 which runs through the heart of some of Alberta’s most beautiful country. This drive travels south from the TransCanada Highway through the Stoney First Nations reserve into Kananaskis. There are many worthwhile stops along the way. Continuing south the road takes you over the Highwood Pass. At an elevation of 2,227 meters (7,306 feet) it is the highest road pass in Canada. For more information on this and other scenic drives check out this site:

Hiking and/or Biking

There are so many options for hiking and mountain biking, at first glance it seems almost limitless. Hiking trails range in difficulty from easy to hard. There are two excellent sites with information on choosing a trail. First is the Canadian Rockies Travel Guide. Their hiking information for Kananaskis is here

Kananaskis Country Hiking (thecanadianrockies.com)

Another great resource is the All-Trails Website. They offer a great deal of user input for their trail rating and trail curating. When using this website for trail information it requires that you enter a more specific region. Their recommendations for trails in Sheep River Provincial Park are here

Best 10 Hikes and Trails in Sheep River Provincial Park | AllTrails

More Recreation

Other popular activities summertime activities in Alberta’s Mountain Playground include birdwatching, fishing and white-water rafting. In an earlier blog post on birdwatching one of our recommended locations was in Kananaskis Country. You can read that here. And our fishing staycation blog post also had recommendations in the area. Find that blog post here.


Putting up your feet here at the campground can be relaxing. If you want to explore and experience some of the beauty of Alberta’s mountains to the west, a Kananaskis Country Daytrip has this in abundance.