Exploring South of Calgary: Big Skies, Big Views


Yesterday it was clear and above freezing in Calgary (yes, in January) – a perfect day to explore the roads south of Calgary – especially with a big wind forecast that I figured might produce dramatic skies.

Before I headed out, I thumbed through the book Day Trips From Calgary by Bill Corbett, an excellent resource filled with all manner of day trips – from hikes to museums to best drives, prettiest towns, best wildflowers… to get a rough idea of where I should point the car.

"Old outbuildings along Highway 21A"

Old outbuildings along Highway 21A

My destination was the Leighton Center, a center for the visual arts that offers school and summer camp programs. It sits on a hill at the same elevation as the town of Banff, and enjoys commanding views of the foothills and mountains.

Here’s a sampling of what I saw south of Calgary yesterday – far grander country than I thought I’d find – and worthy of many more trips across the seasons.

"Dramatic colour contrasts of fields and skies"

Dramatic colour contrasts of fields and skies

"Lost on the backroads, somewhere south of Calgary"

Lost on the backroads, somewhere south of Calgary

"A view of downtown Calgary"

A view of downtown Calgary

"Farm country south of Calgary"

Farm country south of Calgary

"Hard to miss birdhouse on the Leighton Centre property"

Hard to miss birdhouse on the Leighton Centre property

"View from the Leighton Centre"

View from the Leighton Centre

"Somewhere south of Calgary"

Somewhere south of Calgary

"One handsome horse"

One handsome horse

"Surprised by the size of the hills south of Calgary"

Surprised by the size of the hills south of Calgary

How often to you explore your own backyard? And what surprises have you found?

Leigh McAdam

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