Outdoor winter activities to do this holiday season
Just like that, the seasons have changed again, and now we’re greeted by the chilly winds and snowfall of winter. As we all know living in Canada, winter lasts quite a long time, so we may as well enjoy it while it’s here! We’ve put together some ideas you can do to in southeast Calgary this holiday season to get outside, stretch your legs, and explore the nearby amenities by yourself or with your family.
Tobogganing and sledding
Tobogganing and sledding are a classic winter activity, regardless of your age or skill level. As such, the City of Calgary maintains several hills where you can safely enjoy tobogganing and sledding. There are a few safety precautions to keep in mind before you head to the hills, such as:
- Wear a helmet to protect your head
- Avoid wearing scarves or other dangly clothes
- Don’t go down the hill, head first
- Don’t sled at night
If you’re ready to hit the hills, these are the closest locations to Wolf Willow:
- Bridlewood – 20 Bridleglen Park S.W. – 15 minute drive
- McKenzie Towne – 160 McKenzie Towne Dr. SE – 10 minute drive
See more toboggan hill locations in Calgary and safety precautions here.
Explore Fish Creek Provincial Park
We often talk about Fish Creek Park on our blog but for good reason! The provincial park offers so many things to do all year long, and we even have an entrance right from Wolf Willow. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Fish Creek Park ice caves
If you haven’t checked out the ice falls and caves in Fish Creek Park, we highly recommend it! Winter is the perfect time to take in the natural beauty of this area, as you need to walk on the frozen river to see the caves. The falls themselves are created from run-off water, so they aren’t “true” waterfalls. Plus, each year they’ll look a little different depending on how much run-off water there was that year.
If you use the entrance from the community, it will take you about an hour to walk there, or 20 minutes on a bicycle using the walking paths. If you want to get there sooner, it’s a quick 20-minute hike from the Bow Valley Ranche parking lot. After you’ve visited the ice falls and caves, warm up at the Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant for afternoon tea on the weekends – but don’t forget to call and make a reservation first!
Fish Creek Park walking paths
Fish Creek Park has more than 100km of paths and trails, including 100 single track trails to explore. Get out of the house this winter and try out a new trail. The pathways are plowed as soon as park maintenance can be done, so proceed with caution and watch out for icy patches. You can download the single-track trail map here.
Winter Scavenger Hunt in Fish Creek Park
While you’re out walking the paths of Fish Creek Park, why not turn it into a game? Alberta Parks has put together a winter scavenger hunt that you can do while out on the trails which is great for all ages. The scavenger hunt encourages you to explore your surroundings and understand how animals and plants must adapt their way of life to survive through the winter. You’ll spend your walk searching for various types of wildlife, foliage and signs of animal life and behavior in winter. You can download the scavenger hunt PDF here.
Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is a great recreational activity to do during our snowy months. There are several groomed and ungroomed tracks for you to explore right here in southeast Calgary.
Maple Ridge golf course offers groomed tracks that are usually created on Tuesdays and are maintained throughout the week. Or blaze your own path in Fish Creek Park and explore the ungroomed trails there.
To see all the cross country skiing options in and around Calgary, you can see those here.
One of the most time honoured and beloved winter activities in Canada is ice skating. Whether for hockey, figure skating, or purely recreational, it seems like nearly everyone you know has a pair of skates and enjoys heading to the rinks when winter arrives. Thankfully, there is no shortage of public outdoor rinks in southeast Calgary, so you can skate to your heart’s content! Check out the rinks here:
- Legacy Skating Rink – 424 Legacy View SE – 9 minute drive
- Shawnessy Outdoor Rink – 302 Shawinigan Dr SW – 12 minute drive
- Chaparral Community Adopt a Rink – 135 Chaparral Valley Square SE – 3 minute drive
- Walden Community Adopt a Rink – 34 Walden Heights SE – 4 minute drive
- McKenzie Towne, Prestwick Fountain Park – 27 Prestwick Common SE – 10 minute drive
- McKenzie Towne, Elgin Adopt a Rink – 433 McKenzie Towne Dr SE – 13 minute drive
Just because there’s snow on the ground doesn’t mean you have to hang up your bike gear! Consider taking a fat bike out for a spin. Not only do they keep your body in great riding shape during the cooler months, they’re also an amazing outdoor exercise option for winter. Fat bikes engage your legs rently than a regular bike, as it requires more power to pedal, speeding up your heart rate – not to mention the ab gains you’ll get from constantly engaging your core on your off-road adventures! If you want to try a fat bike before buying one, you can rent them from Bow Cycle or the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre.
You don’t have to make your way downtown to find a beautiful place to watch the sunset. We have our very own sunset point right here in southeast Calgary in the neighbouring community of Legacy! With the days getting shorter every day, it’s easier than ever to enjoy a good sunset. Legacy Sunset Point overlooks the Bow River and even offers a skyline view of downtown Calgary. And hey – you can even see your house in Wolf Willow from here!