Kananaskis Country is a stretch of wilderness just southwest of city limits, and a popular site for day trippers. One of its main draws is Elbow Falls, a waterfall that drops approximately 6 ft. in winter and 3 ft. in summer, depending on the volume of the Elbow River. The falls are an impressive sight from May to October, but June is the best month; the spring thaw swells the river, and the weather is mild and temperate.
To get to the falls, travel south on Macleod Trail and turn west onto Hwy 22x, which you follow for 45 min (it will turn into Hwy 66). Look for the Elbow Falls Recreation Area, which is 19 km past the turnoff to Bragg Creek.
Reader’s Rock Garden is located in Union Cemetery, an unusual location that provides a sweeping vista of downtown Calgary. William Reader was the superintendent for Calgary Parks from 1913 to 1942, and planted the garden on a bare hillside. After his death it went through periods of neglect and upkeep, but in 2006 a restoration project revitalized the garden and retuned it to its once glorious state.
Reader’s Rock Garden has five areas with multiple rock pathways and over 4,000 species of plants, including cyclamen and tiger lilies. After walking around, enjoy lunch or dinner at Reader’s Garden Café, located in a replica of William Reader’s home. The park is open from sunrise to sunset; flowers bloom from mid-April to mid-November. 311 – 25 Ave SE, 403-245-3252.