Mountain Locations for Portrait Photography

Make it a Mountain Experience

Our Canadian Rockies are breathtaking. I have spent countless hours exploring and hiking all over Kananaskis Country over the past 10+ years. Every time I stumble upon a new hidden gem, I immediately think “this is so incredible and I can’t wait to take people here”!

So here is a list of my favourite mountain locations for portrait photography. Have a look through and let’s plan that photo session and mountain experience!

*Please note that this is designed to be a part of my consultation process so I am not giving away exact locations. I also encourage scheduling your session on a week day and/or early morning or late evening when possible to ensure that the location isn’t too busy.*

Mountain Location 1

Drive time from Calgary city limits: 1 hour
Accessibility: some walking required, less than 1km
Time of year: May to November

This is the ultimate have fun with your kids, let them run around, explore, play in the sand, throw rocks in the water location. It is perfect for mountain lovers who want the gorgeous mountain landscapes without having to go on a long hike. And if you are lucky, some mornings are still enough to get a stunning reflection in the water. No promises though, we never know what we are going to get. But even when the wind picks up, this spot is still absolutely stunning (and wind in the hair is always welcome)!

Mountain Location 2

Drive time from Calgary city limits: 45 minutes
Accessibility: some walking required, less than 1km, uneven terrain
Time of year: year round, but March and April are the best months to explore this area

This is a year round destination, but it offers something extra special during the winter months. How amazing is it that we can walk into a frozen canyon and be surrounded by rock faces? March/April is the absolute best time to go because with the snow melting, you get all of the beauty of the rocks in the creek bed and the gentle moss on the ground.

Mountain Location 3

Drive time from Calgary city limits: 1.5 hour, partly on a dirt road
Accessibility: direct access after parking
Time of year: May to October

If you are looking for a wide open area by the water with magnificent mountain peaks towering over you, you have found it! This area is absolutely stunning at sunset or sunrise. Whether the lake is frozen over or not, this location will give you a breathtaking mountain experience.

Mountain Location 4

Drive time from Calgary city limits: 1.5 hour, partly on a dirt road
Accessibility: some walking required, less than 1km
Time of year: May to September

This is one of the most unique places I have found while hiking in the mountains over the past 10 years. An enchanting moss garden nestled at the base of the mountains by a creek bed. You do not have a lot of views of the mountains unless you hike further in, but it is the perfect spot if you are looking for a wild and free look. We can even combine it with a few pictures in front of the mountains by making a pit stop a short drive away.

Mountain Location 5

Drive time from Calgary city limits: 1 hour
Accessibility: hike
Time of year: year round

This is a fantastic location for an easily accessible adventure session for couples and families. The walk up to the falls is so pleasant, really gorgeous and filled with so many different places to stop and take photos along the way. The waterfall always looks stunning, but I especially love it when it turns into a wall of ice in the winter.

And let’s not forget the mountain views along the river on the way out. That specific area is also a great option if you do not want to do the whole hike, but still want to go there for a photo session. The walk from the parking lot to that specific section is really short, so I also suggest it for those who simply want to explore and have some beautiful portraits taken in the mountains, without having to book an adventure session.

Mountain Location 6

Drive time from Calgary city limits: 45 minutes
Accessibility: direct access after parking, uneven terrain
Time of year: year round, recommended for golden hour sessions

Located at the very end of the foothills, this wide open green space is covered in wild flowers and offers amazing views over the mountain peaks. A short walk down the hill will take you right to the water. The reeds add a wild and free feel to the photos; you are completely surrounded by the beauty of nature. And if you feel like walking a little further in, the path will take us to mossy patches and other gorgeous mountain views.

Mountain Location 7

Drive time from Calgary city limits: 1.25 hour, partly on a dirt road
Accessibility: hike, adventure session
Time of year: May to September

This is one of many trails that will allow us to gain altitude and impressive vantage points over the mountain range. If this is the kind of adventure you are looking for, I have a list of other similar hikes. Let’s talk and pick the perfect hike for you to get the most captivating shots in our stunning Rockies!

Mountain Location 8

Drive time from Calgary city limits: 45 minutes
Accessibility: direct access after parking
Time of year: May to November (temporarily unavailable)

There are jagged mountain peeks on one side, and foothills on the other. There are nice treed areas but the vegetation is a little dry and it gives a really interesting, slightly moodier look to the photos. It is a big open space to hang out, run around and let the wind catch in your hair.

These are some of my favourite places, but we are certainly not limited to this list. The Rockies will never cease to amaze me and I am always up for a new adventure! So if you want to go somewhere different, let me know and we’ll make it happen!

The Government of Alberta is introducing a conservation pass for Kananaskis Country so make sure that you have a valid day pass or yearly pass when heading out for our session.


Let’s start planning your perfect photography session!


Valerie Richer | Wedding and Lifestyle Family Photographer

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