Southwest of Calgary and east of Cranbrook, the townsite of Fernie is a regional mountain biking mecca -- every store and restaurant is biker friendly (check out the décor at the Royal Hotel bar). A nice warmup ride is the gentle but scenic Coal Creek Heritage Trail along an old road grade to the abandoned townsite of Coal Creek. Once warmed up, try the Fernie Mountain loop from Burma Road up the southwest face, and then returning via singletrack in MFPP. Next, saddle up for the challenging Castle Mountain ride off River Road. Lastly, make sure to ride the Fairy Creek Trail which winds through virgin forest to the base of the Three Sisters Butte.
For an animal encounter, head southwest of Fernie to the Wigwam Flats in Elko. This old fire road along the Elk River has plenty of bighorn sheep and elk in the springtime. Make sure to follow the entire 50km loop around Mount Broadwood to see moose and black bear.