Top Ten Hikes Around Calgary
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
The City of Calgary publishes a pathway map every year in both paper and electronic form, so Calgarians have their pick of great hikes in and around the city. Here are some of the good ones:
- The Douglas Fir Trail, when combined with the Crowchild Trail, is a good seven kilometre hike through a grove of Douglas Fir trees, up many stairs to a scenic viewpoint over the Bow River, along the Crowchild trail and back again.
- Roxboro Natural Park in South-West Calgary gives fitness enthusiasts some variety. It starts beside the Elbow River, then takes a dirt trail uphill through some trees, climbs down to Mission Road, runs through Parkhill, climbs back down to the Elbow River, runs through Stanley Park, crosses the Elbow River at 8 St., runs through the neighbourhood of Elbow Park, climbs many stairs at the Glencoe Club and runs through Mount Royal and Mission back to Roxboro Road.
- North Glenmore and the Weaselhead hike in South-West Calgary starts from parking lot “E” in North Glenmore Park. It runs towards the reservoir, climbs some stairs, and runs along the water until it gets to the paved path. From there everything is a tranquil wilderness with no site or sound of the city. The whole loop is about 16 kilometres.
- Fish Creek Provincial Park is the largest urban park in Canada, so there is no shortage of hiking trails for every taste from the most natural to the paved bike paths.
- The 12 Mile Coulee hike in North-West Calgary is a long walk if one walks from the end of Tuscany Hills through the whole coulee creek. There are some hills, unless one avoids them by turning around before the climb, and the trails are not officially maintained.
- The beautiful Bowmont Natural Environment Park in North-West Calgary has one official paved path for families, but hikers often prefer the narrow trails along the escarpment overlooking the Bow River to the east and with gorgeous mountain views to the west. It runs via steep hills, and with all the water falls, it is likely to be slippery.
- Big Hill Springs Provincial Park is about half an hour's drive from Calgary's North-West. It has springs, ponds, waterfalls and picnic tables. The hike loops for around three kilometres through a forest.
- Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park is on the North Shore of the Bow River between Calgary and Cochrane. The hike is primarily on paved paths, and climbs steeply down to the river and back up to the parking lot.
- The Burstall Pass hike, in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, is about 20 kilometres long, so leave the younger kids at home. It runs spectacularly through mountains, forests, creeks, dense shrubbery and across streams. The scenery is amazing and there are many animals to greet along the way. It is located south of Canmore, within 100 kilometres from Calgary.
- Bragg Creek, around 30 kilometres from Calgary, is a hikers paradise with everything from easy hikes to the challenging and popular Nihani Ridge Trail and Moose Mountain that are both steep climbs.