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5 Must-See Natural Attractions Near Calgary

Calgary is an incredible and vibrant city that’s close to some of the most unique and interesting natural attractions in Canada. Southern Alberta possesses four of Canada’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites; sites with the same designation given to the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China. Read on to discover our list some of the best natural attractions within a few hours drive of Calgary.

 

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is exactly what it sounds like: A spectacular cliff used by the Northern Plains peoples to hunt Buffalo. Beneath the cliff sits 6,000 years (a time before the construction of the pyramids) of buffalo bones, tools, and arrowheads. The underground museum and cultural centre is one of the most interesting elements of a visit and showcases all of the site’s artifacts. Located within two hours of Calgary, this a must-do day trip.

 

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

At only 250km south of Calgary, Waterton Park is a secret gem of Southern Alberta. Often overshadowed by the nearby parks of the Rocky Mountains, Waterton is usually free of crowds and has some incredible natural wonders. Glacial lakes, wildflowers, alpine meadows, and an array of wildlife including elk, bighorn sheep, antelope, cougars, and grizzly bears. If you go, consider grabbing a room at the amazing Bayshore Inn and Spa or the Prince of Wales Hotel.

 

Parks of the Rocky Mountains

Banff National Park is contained within the larger UNESCO site called, Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Just an hour and a half west of Calgary, Canada’s first national park is about as dramatic and picturesque a place as we have in Canada. The other designated parks are Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho national parks.

 

Canadian Badlands Hoodoos

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You may recognize the Canadian Badland Hoodoos, these internationally renowned sand and clay formations that resemble something akin to giant mushrooms. Formed by millions of years of water and wind erosion as well as freeze/thaw cycles, The Hoodoos stand as one of Canada’s most unique and interesting natural attractions. Located a little over 100 kms outside of Calgary, this site is easily worth the trip.

 

Dinosaur Provincial Park

A two-hour drive east of Calgary, Dinosaur Provincial Park allows you to walk among reconstructed dinosaur skeletons and amid live excavations and bone beds. The picturesque badlands and steep canyons are a hotbed for dinosaur history and the on-site museum is just as impressive.

 

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