11 Best Trails in Calgary: Where to Hike, Bike, Jog & Walk

Posted by Justin Havre on Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 at 9:12am.

Best Walking and Jogging Trails in Calgary

Often associated with its cowboy heritage and the annual Stampede, Calgary is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With an extensive network of pathways and trails, the city offers a diverse range of hiking experiences for both residents and visitors. Whether you prefer a stroll along paved paths or a challenging trek through rugged terrain, Calgary has something to satisfy your hiking cravings.

Calgary's Paved Pathways for Leisurely Outings

Where to Find Paved Trails in Calgary

The paved pathways in Calgary are perfect for those seeking a relaxed outing or a quick dose of fresh air. These well-maintained routes wind through some of Calgary’s best neighbourhoods, parks, and natural areas, offering scenic views and easy accessibility.

Chevron Learning Pathway at Prince's Island Park

Prince's Island Park, a true urban oasis nestled along the Bow River in Calgary’s City Centre, provides a picturesque setting for a leisurely walk. The Chevron Learning Pathway, located at the park's east end, is not just a path; it's an educational journey. Along the way, interpretive signs offer insights into the intricate workings of the wetlands, highlighting their importance for wildlife, habitat, and water quality.

Jack & Jean Leslie RiverWalk

Stretching four kilometres through Downtown Calgary, the Jack & Jean Leslie RiverWalk is a vibrant pathway that connects Chinatown in the west to Inglewood and Stampede Park in the east. This scenic route offers more than just a walk; it's a destination. Along the way, you'll encounter captivating art installations, breathtaking viewpoints of the Bow River, and wide steps that lead down to the water's edge. Dedicated pedestrian and cycle lanes allow you to stroll worry-free and fully immersed in the beauty of the surroundings.

Bowness - Baker Park Loop

Bowness Park beckons visitors in northwest Calgary with its charm and recreational opportunities. The park's shallow lagoon, perfect for paddling in summer and skating in winter, is a focal point of the Bowness neighbourhood, alongside a charming tea house and a network of walking paths. Across the Bow River lies Baker Park, conveniently connected to Bowness via a four-kilometre loop that takes less than an hour to complete. This loop offers a delightful blend of natural scenery and urban landscapes, making it a favourite among locals and tourists.

Glenmore Reservoir Loop

The Glenmore Reservoir, a bustling hub for boaters, cyclists, and walkers ringed by some of Calgary’s most expensive neighbourhoods, boasts a well-maintained pathway that encircles its entirety. This scenic route leads you across bridges, through marshes, and past captivating viewpoints, offering a diverse and engaging experience. The flexibility of the Glenmore Reservoir Loop is a significant draw—you can start at any of the multiple parking lots around the reservoir, allowing you to tailor the length of your walk to your preferences and time constraints.

Escaping into Nature within City Limits

Where to Find Nature Trails in Calgary

Contrary to what some may believe, you don't have to venture far from the city to immerse yourself in nature. Calgary boasts numerous nature walks that offer a welcome escape from the urban hustle and bustle, allowing you to reconnect with the natural world.

Twelve Mile Coulee Self-Guided Walk

The Twelve Mile Coulee Self-Guided Walk awaits in Northwest Calgary's Tuscany neighbourhood. A coulee, a small valley common in the Alberta prairies, serves as the backdrop for this informative and scenic journey. With ten interpretive stops along the paved path, you'll gain insights into the native grasslands, aspen woodlands, and shrub communities that thrive in this unique ecosystem. For the more adventurous, there are opportunities to venture off the path and explore the coulee's hidden corners.

Bebo Grove Loop at Fish Creek Park

Fish Creek Park, Calgary's sole provincial park and the second-largest urban park in Canada, is a sprawling natural haven. With over 80 kilometres of mixed-use pathways, the park offers endless exploration possibilities. Among its scenic trails, the Bebo Grove Loop stands out. Starting in Southwest Calgary at the park's west end, the loop follows Fish Creek as it meanders eastward towards the Bow River, treating hikers to breathtaking views and a sense of tranquillity.

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

A paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary has been a haven for wildlife since its establishment in 1929. Over the years, it has recorded an impressive 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals, and 347 species of plants. The Inglewood neighbourhood sanctuary's trails wind through diverse habitats, including grasslands, marshes, and forests, providing ample opportunities for wildlife encounters. The recently constructed Nature Centre offers restroom facilities and a wealth of educational resources, enhancing the visitor experience.

Griffith Woods Park Outer Loop

Tucked along the Elbow River in the southwest community of Discovery Ridge, Griffith Woods Park is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Its flat, easy-to-navigate trails make it an ideal destination for nature lovers of all ages and abilities. The Outer Loop trail, a 6.1-kilometer journey through natural spruce and balsam poplar forests, offers a peaceful escape into nature's embrace. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings; the park is known for its diverse fauna.

Urban Hikes for Challenging Adventures

Where to Find Urban Trails in Calgary

Calgary's urban hikes deliver for those seeking a more challenging hiking experience without leaving the city limits. These trails combine the thrill of adventure with the convenience of urban proximity, allowing you to push your limits while still enjoying the comforts of the city.

Baker Park – Bowmont Park - Dale Hodges Park Loop

Embark on a 12.7-kilometer loop that takes you through three distinct parks: Baker Park, Bowmont Park, and Dale Hodges Park. Following the Bow River's winding path through Northwest Calgary, you'll encounter a mix of paved and rugged trails offering scenic strolls and exploration opportunities. Dale Hodges Park, situated at the southern end of the loop, features a former gravel pit transformed into a breathtaking wetlands area, showcasing the city's commitment to environmental preservation.

Douglas Fir Trail at Edworthy Park

If you're looking for a heart-pounding adventure in the Wildwood neighbourhood, the Douglas Fir Trail at Edworthy Park won't disappoint. As its name suggests, the trail winds through densely wooded slopes adorned with towering Douglas fir trees, some over 500 years old! The trail's steep inclines and rugged terrain will test your endurance, but the reward is worth it: dramatic views of the Bow River and the Calgary skyline. It's important to note that this trail is closed during the winter and early spring due to safety concerns.

Nose Hill Loop via 14th Street

Nose Hill Park, known as Ootssapi'tomowa by the Blackfoot people and widely recognized as one of Calgary’s best parks, is a sprawling grassland ecosystem encompassing 11 square kilometres. Depending on your chosen route, this vast natural area offers panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, the Bow River Valley, and the Calgary skyline. While there are six parking lots around the park's perimeter, the Nose Hill Loop via the 14th Street parking lot is popular. This scenic trail showcases breathtaking vistas of Downtown Calgary and leads you past a culturally significant Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) stone landmark.

Stroll in Nature's Embrace in Calgary, Alberta

From the shimmering nearby lakes to the might mountains, nature is part of life in Calgary. With trails ranging from strolls to challenging hikes, there are plenty of options for those looking for things to do in the city. So, lace up your hiking boots, disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life, and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of Calgary's urban wilderness. Happy hiking!

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