Buy Now! "200 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta" - Published June 2022

125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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It took 15 months to give birth to my second book – 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta – The Best Parks, Conservation Areas and Wild Places, co-authored with my friend Debbie Olsen, who in fairness wrote a whole lot more of the book than I did. I swore after my first book I’d never write a second. It’s just like babies; you forget about the sleepless nights, the lack of free time, the bleary eyed moments (cue Debbie in pajamas writing from dawn till dusk) and in a moment of weakness you say yes – and then wonder why?

Fifteen months later I know why. Debbie and I have produced a book – 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta, that we are extremely proud of. It’s full of awesome photos – some ours, some sourced. It’s packed full of information about places that will be familiar to you along with many I doubt you’ve heard of.

We certainly both thought we knew Alberta. And yet we discovered an extraordinary richness across the province we didn’t appreciate existed – largely with the help of Alberta Parks and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Dig into this book. I guarantee it will make you want to explore beyond Banff and Jasper National Parks.

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125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

Some of the nature hot spots in the book you’re likely familiar with include the Columbia Icefields, Sunshine Meadows, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, Maligne Lake and the Bow Summit – Peyto Lake Lookout.

Some nature hot spots in Alberta that will likely be new to you

But have you ever heard of Big Knife Provincial Park, the Silver Sage Conservation area or Pierre Grey’s Lakes Provincial Park? How about Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park, Kleskun Hill Natural Area or the Wild Rose Conservation Site? I hope not because you’ll find a lot more of these hidden gems throughout the book.

To give you an idea of the landscapes you can explore have a look at some of the photos.

125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
Healey Pass near Sunshine Mountain Village
125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
The far end of Maligne Lake most visitors never see accessible by canoe or kayak
125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
The High Rockies Trail in Kananaskis Country
125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
Ya Ha Tinda Ranch
125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
An early spring hike in Bow Valley Provincial Park
125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
Sulphur Gates Provincial Recreation Area

We also grouped some hot spots under broad headings like waterfalls, caves, larch hikes, paddling in Alberta and dark skies with the idea that you’d be inspired to explore a different part of Alberta, based on your interests.

125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
Paddling the Milk River in southern Alberta
125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
Paddling the Peace River in northern Alberta

In the 224 page book, you’ll find location maps, additional useful readings along with numerous photos of each hot spot. I hope you find the book to be both motivational and practical.

Where can you buy 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta?

Online you can order from Amazon or MEC. I hope we inspire you to get out and discover more of Alberta!

Further reading on some of the nature hot spots




  1. I would love this book! My boyfriend and I spend every spare moment exploring the beauty of Alberta’s outdoors.

      1. @Leigh those would be great as well. We usually venture to BC a few times a year as well but have yet to explore Ontario!

      2. I would love to kayak Maligne Lake. Sounds like you live an awesome life
        If I don’t win I will definitely follow you.

  2. I would love this books! I’d like to visit Healy pass! It’s going to happen as I’ve booked my very first backcountry camping trip in that way! Whooo hooooo!

  3. I would love these books!! Our family is always looking for great vacation spots nearby and we love camping!

  4. Would love to paddle Milk River! I’ve only been to Writing on Stone but it would be such an amazing experience to paddle a section of the river!

  5. I’d love to check out that view at the Sulphur Gates Provincial Recreation Area! … and of course a million other spots I have yet to see in Alberta!

  6. Hello,
    I saw your message on Facebook, always enjoy your posts, and I would love a chance to win the books mentioned there.
    I’m from New England (Massachusetts) but have been spending many vacation days visiting Canada in recent years as I approach retirement (mostly the Maritimes).

  7. I would love to see all of these places but I guess I works start by paddling out to the far side of Maligne Lake. Hubby and I would make great use of this book!

  8. Too many to choose from – Milk River looks beautiful; the trail in Kananaska I would do with a group of friends…dinosaur Prov Park is on my list too!

  9. Of course I’d like to hike them all, but the far end of Maligne Lake would be my first choice. I’ve hiked the canyon a handful of times, so beautiful 🙂

  10. Hi Leigh, i would to love to read these books, especially the Alberta and BC volumes. I especially want to learn more about the less popular natural hot spots such as Big Knife PP and the the Siver Sage Conservation area.

    PS. i have been following your blog for quite sometime and have visted many of the hikes and travels featured on your blog such as the hut to hut hike on the sunshine cost. Loved it, except for the mice!

  11. I’ve been thinking we’ve got a lot more exploring to do right here…and the beauty and variety is tops!! Thanks for putting so much together in this collection! I’m eager to ramp up the adventures 🙂

  12. Hi Leigh
    Still following you from Ontario
    We would love to win these books
    I hope we eventually get time to discover Alberta and bc ‘ and would love to find some more exciting spots in Ontario
    We love hiking biking and paddling

  13. I’d love to explore the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, I’ve heard others speak highly of it. I also want to say that I love your blog, definitely a go to for me when researching hikes and backpacking trips! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

  14. Hi Leigh: You’ve truly inspired me to explore more of my own backyard! Alberta truly is home to so many amazing “hot spots” I didn’t know exist. This summer my husband and I would love to kayak to some of these afore mentioned spots; Far end of Maligne Lake and also paddle the Milk River . Big thanks for helping me delight in what’s right here in Alberta. Cheers to you, Carol

  15. Hi Leigh!

    I’d love to Kayak to the end of Maligne Lake! I’ve been dreaming of it ever since I first heard of Spirit Island. The book sounds fantastic and I’d love to put it to good use!

  16. Thank you for the giveaway draw opportinity! The YaHaTinda is an area I have heard so much about and it would be great to have a guide to assist planning to explore here. Having lived long periods in both Ontario and BC, and as I continue to return to visit, the other books would be welcome and put to good use as well.

  17. Your book sounds amazing and it will give Keith and I some great ideas to visit in our own back yard

  18. Book sounds like a great idea! Specially for someone who loves walking off the beaten path! 🙂 I would love to kayak to far end of Maligne Lake! And I never heard about Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, looks interesting!

  19. I’ve never been anywhere along the Milk River, paddling it looks like it would be so much fun!

  20. Would love to win and share with my ladies hiking group. Great articles and lovely pictures. My sister still lives in Alberta, we have seen most of the known places but your mention of all these different places would be so nice to visit and explore.

  21. Congrats to you and Debbie on this new addition!! This book looks awesome with so many places that I would love to visit!! I would start with exploring Milk River by kayak as I can remember going there as a child with my family many many years ago!!

  22. I would love to do milk river and the end on maligne lake by kayak.

    On a side note if you haven’t done it yet, you need to go to Spain and do a blog from there, you would love it.

  23. That photo of Sulphur Gates Provincial Park looks amazing! I’d love to visit there!

  24. Sulphur Gates!
    I would like to spend 4-5 days in Grande Cache! I’ve never been but I’ve heard it’s beautiful and have had friends run the death race in the summer! This book sounds incredible!????

  25. Woehoe I would love to do every place you mention, when we visit Canada again. It our dream country by far. Already love the pictures i see 🙂 Greetz From the Netherlands

  26. I would like to visit Sulphur Gates Provincial Recreation Area
    I can just imagine myself taking a deep, cleansing breath there

  27. I live in Ontario and will be traveling to BC and Alberta this summer
    I am just getting into hiking
    This would be an awesome book collection to have
    Thank you for the opportunity

    Make it a Great Day


  28. I would love to visit Moraine Lake again and again but I would also like to explore Sulphur Gate Provincial Recreation Area near Grand Cache!

  29. Follow you on Facebook and IG and love your posts, follow your blog as well, going to go find this book and check it for more get local ideas, Best of luck with the book sales!I’m trying to recover from some health issues but new ideas to explore, easy or hard sounds like the perfect medicine

  30. Congratulations on this book, Leigh!

    Our family enjoyed fishing last summer in Pierre Grey Lakes. How vast Alberta is! The drive up is endless views of boreal forests. We are looking to enjoy the Northern Alberta more and likely one day paddle the Peace River.

    All our summer weekends is already booked for camping here and there and we choose to do it all this year in the province.

    With very large group of friends we are excited to ride the Highwood Pass in the next few weeks. All thanks to you Leigh! We follow your blog in your website and follow you as well in Facebook. Countless trails to like, peaks to climb and lakes to paddle.

    There is nothing like outdoors! So grateful we live in a very beautiful province!

  31. Hi Leigh,

    Your beautiful photo of Healy Pass near Sunshine Village has inspired me to add it to my hiking list for this summer. I’d be grateful to have the Hot Spots books to further inspire my outdoor explorations and allow me to share that joy with others.

    On a different note, I’ve been impressed by the quality of your blog and its fabulous photography. Keep up the excellent work!

  32. Wow so many beautiful places. That would be difficult to select. Ya Ha Tinda Ranch and Magline Lake. Aren’t we fortunate to have so many choices for adventures.

  33. I think Healy Pass looks so beautiful, would love to hike there when the flowers are at their peak.
    Always enjoy your posts – very beautiful photography and I get a good idea of where we might hike or
    kayak too. We hope to travel to explore Canada so your book on Ontario is timely.
    Thank you

  34. So beautiful! I’m gonna have to check out your 100 Nature Hotspots in BC book. Ya Ha Tinda is now on my list of places to visit 🙂 So many beautiful places!

  35. I spent a week camping and hiking in Kananaskis Country and I absolutely loved it. I would select the The High Rockies Trail.

  36. I’d love to do some paddling on Milk River. It’s a part of the province I’m not at all familiar with.

  37. Would love to win any of these 3 books as i am an avid hiker and live in BC. Have explore the rockies and would love to see more. Also ontario as i am originally from ontario and my daughter lives there so great opportunities to do some hiking. I am on instagram as carolepuglemoslin and have been following you as well as facebook. Recent trip was to Nepal to everest base vamp.

  38. Looks like an awesome book ! Can’t wait to read it and explore more of Alberta . Hard to decide would like to do them all lol .
    The paddling the Milk River sounds really great though . Congrats on completing your new book .

  39. Ya Ha Tinda Ranch and Maligne Lake. Some many great places, so little time. Would love the books.

  40. Karen McKeown
    I’d like to hike Healy Pass near Sunshine Meadows to see the wildflowers this summer. Really enjoy your blog. Congrats on your new book. I’ll look for it.

  41. Wow, we are so very lucky to live so close to such wonderous beauty! It’s so difficult to choose just one hot spot because I would love to visit and explore as many as possible with my four year old son and husband. We love outdoor adventure and I think if I HAD to pick, Maligne Lake would make a great start! It has everything you could ask for, mountains, grass land, water, and magnificent beauty as far as the eye can see.

  42. We hope to get to Ya Ha Tinda this year. Being new to Alberta last year we did try to find it but the directions we were given weren’t great so now that we have had time to research it we are going to attempt to take the kids there this year. We chose to move to Alberta for the outdoor experiences you can’t get anywhere else in our country. Thanks for the chance.

  43. Ya Ha Tinda looks like a very interesting place to visit!!! My boss is a big hotsrping fan, hoping we can find a few new ones to explore!

  44. I love following your blog and FB posts. It’s so inspiring! We are always looking for new places to explore and you’ve introduced us to some good ones!

  45. I just learned to canoe last year, so I would love to paddle Milk River. Love your blog. Recently I have been reading your posts of PEI. Planning to bike Conferderation Trail one day!

  46. I would love to visit The High Rockies Trail in Kananaskis Country. Looks beautiful. Congrats on your book!

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