Ten Places to find your Zen in BC and Alberta

find your Zen in Waterton National Park
Photographer
Rhonda Steed

Ten Places to find your Zen in BC and Alberta

Rhonda Steed

For me finding places for Zen often means finding peaceful places to be mostly alone and often surrounded by Nature. Sometimes I’ll add in a chance to discover new cultures or historical events. But usually, I’m looking for places in British Columbia and Alberta that have lots of great quiet space and nature. Here’s my top ten Zen places I’d like to share.

Old Growth Trail near Fernie, BC. This is a lovely remote hike on the road up to the Island Lake Lodge (which is another GREAT place to find your Zen) Ancient Western Red Cedar trees edge the trail that are up to 800 years old and they are just beautiful. Walking among those giant old trees is a great place to hide from the heat and feel at peace in nature. We were just there this past weekend and it was amazing. http://www.ourfernie.com/old_growth_trail

 

The International Buddhist Society in Richmond, BC
Photographer
Rhonda Steed

The International Buddhist Society in Richmond, BC. We were able to visit this lovely building and grounds a couple of years ago. It is a place of worship for Buddhists and despite me not being a follower of Buddhism, I found peace and zen inside the walls that were only steps from the busy city. For more information go http://www.buddhisttemple.ca/home

Waterton Lakes National Park: I’ve lived near Waterton for most of my life and it is the biggest place of Zen for me. It is stunningly beautiful filled with places of peace. There are so many easy hikes that provide viewpoints to glaciers, waterfalls and across the valley for contemplation. But, you don’t even have to go that far. There are many roadside pull offs that you can find a place to sit and watch the sunset or the rive flow by. https://mywaterton.ca

Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs in Calgary: These lovely gardens offer a wonderful peaceful nature reprieve in the middle of the busy city of Calgary and so many people have never even heard of them. It has 20 acres of foliage in the shape of a “L” that buffers the area residences from both Crowchild Trail and Silver Springs Gate. Volunteers maintain the gardens with plants that blossom throughout the season. Don’t forget to find the Wall Garden and Shakespeare Gardens that are linked by a wood chip path to the north. For more info: http://botanicalgardensofsilversprings.ca ​​​​​​​

Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump: Stand at the overlook above the interpretive centre and breath that warm breeze heavily scented with the prairie sage. Let your mind wander with that vast prairie view at this UNESCO world heritage site. Take time to explore the Head Smashed In centre to learn more about how the native people of the North American plains used the land and animals for survival. More Information about Head Smashed IN can be found at http://www.history.alberta.ca/headsmashedin/

Radium Hot Springs, Radium, BC: Even though the pools can be filled with people, Radium tries very hard to keep the patrons relaxed and calm. These natural hot springs are a great place to go and sit and relax. Go late in the day and watch the shadows drift up the limestone cliff hovering over the pools. http://www.radiumhotsprings.com

Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Lethbridge, AB
Photographer
Rhonda Steed

Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Lethbridge, AB. These traditional Japanese Gardens found in Lethbridge combine the beauty of nature and the artful horticultural practices of Japanese gardeners in a serene setting. The gardens host a lovely winding path over a bubbling stream and arched bridges. It’s a really lovely place to spend some time quietly enjoying peace. But don’t forget to ring the Friendship Bell. The deep tone rings to welcome everyone to the garden. http://www.nikkayuko.com

Stanley Park, Vancouver BC
Photographer
Rhonda Steed

Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC. Stanley Park is an amazing 400-hectare natural West Coast rainforest right on the shores of the ocean in the heart of Vancouver. (Or, should we say it is the heart of Vancouver?). The seawall has scenic views of water, mountains, sky, and majestic trees and is the best place for a leisurely bike ride or walk. http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park.aspx

Cypress Hills Provincial Park. This Interprovincial Park spans over Alberta and into Saskatchewan. With its unique climate and mix of montane forests, wetlands and grasslands, it is home to an astonishing diversity of plants and animals. More orchids grow in these hills than anywhere else on the prairies. The top of the park is at 4,500 feet – the highest point on the prairies offering outstanding vistas for memorable sunsets. To find out more: http://www.cypresshills.com

Crowsnest Pass
Photographer
Rhonda Steed

Crowsnest Pass: This amazing area of Southwestern Alberta is a collection of small towns in a majestic setting featuring high altitude plateaus, Chinook wind-warmed valleys, and breathtaking mountain views. There are many trails to walk or bike and many road side stops to sit and find peace at. Have a picnic at Lundbeck Falls, explore the history of the valley at the Frank Slide interpretive Centre and walk through a coal mine in Bellevue. There is so much to discover. To find out more: http://gocrowsnest.ca/

There are so many more places to find your zen in beautiful British Columbia and amazing Alberta. Can you think of any more?