Calgary's vibrant, rapidly growing city takes its quality of life very seriously, which has attracted a lot of positive attention. In fact, Calgary has won awards for things like its air quality and physical fitness. The benefits associated with Calgary extend to everyone, including dogs. Calgary offers several public facilities and city parks with both on- and off-leash dog access, with various trails and terrains for dogs and their owners to explore. The following places are some of the best dog parks in Calgary.
Roxboro & Erlton Off-Leash Dog Park
Roxboro & Erlton Off-Leash Dog Park Amenities
- Walking trail
- Swimming in Elbow River
- Nearby tennis court
Roxboro Off-Leash Park is a designated dog park offering several distinguishing features, setting it apart from other dog-friendly areas. Upon entry, one of the park's most notable features is the number of tall trees providing ample shade to protect both two-legged and four-legged visitors. Owners must maintain control over their dogs, as the park is unfenced and runs alongside several residential streets and recreational areas.
A wooded trail is the central focus of the Roxboro experience. Pleasant for humans, it offers a wide range of scents that any dog can appreciate. When on this trail, owners must keep their dogs on a leash. However, the park adjacent to the trail does allow dogs to be off-leash, so they can romp around while their humans enjoy gorgeous views of the downtown Calgary skyline. Right next door is Elbow Island Park containing a river area that tends to be packed, particularly in the summer.
While there are waste bins and benches, there are no restrooms or parking available at this destination.
Bowmont Park Amenities
- Hiking trails
- Picnic tables
- Off-leash areas
- River access
Encompassing over 164 hectares, Bowmont Park is a large, multi-use park and popular local destination. Multiple off-leash areas are sprinkled throughout the park, which surrounds the Bow River from 85th Street to Home Road. Paved trails require dogs to be kept on their leash. Gravel pathways offer a mix of on- and off-leash options, so owners are encouraged to read the signs for the most appropriate guidelines. There is also a wooded trail available here and open to dogs.
One feature of this dog destination is a dog access point to the river, granting a more novel recreational experience to pets and their owners alike. However, the Bow River has a relatively fast current and runs deep, so it is advisable only to allow strong swimmers into the water. Near the river, multiple stormwater pools provide a more leisurely aquatic experience.
Bowmont Park has launched a pilot initiative to dispense waste bags throughout the park, with three locations set up for dog owners.
McHugh Bluff Off-Leash Dog Park
McHugh Bluff Off-Leash Dog Park Amenities
- Off-leash area
- Hiking trails
- Bow River access
McHugh Bluff is a large park known for its gorgeous vistas and higher altitude. It has a trail running from 10th Street NW all the way to Centre Street. This bluff runs along the Bow River, just outside downtown Calgary.
There is a steep slope and an uneven path associated with McHugh Bluff, in addition to significant traffic from people jogging and walking their dogs.
Auburn Bay Dog Park
Auburn Bay Dog Park Amenities
- Walking trails
- Fenced-in off-leash park
- Open area for running and playing
Auburn Bay is a large off-leash dog area that attracts a consistent local following. The park is big, giving dogs plenty of room to run around in. Dog owners can utilize this space in a wide variety of ways — some use it as a way to burn off their dog's extra energy as they play fetch or otherwise run around at top speed. Other dog owners come to this park to train their dogs, with the added challenge of being surrounded by potential distractions.
There are some paved and gravel trails nearby as well, granting an opportunity for leashed dogs to continue their trip beyond just the free-for-all off-leash dog park. Emma from Ourfitpets.com says if owners face any challenges with their dog being overwhelmed by the park—as can sometimes happen—these trails can provide a bit of a "cool-off" zone.
Sue Higgins Park
Sue Higgins Park Amenities
- Fenced off-leash area
- Picnic tables
- Hiking trails
- River access
All 64 hectares of Sue Higgins Park run along the west bank of the Bow River and features varied river-adjacent terrains, including the banks of the river, an island, a flood plain, and even some swampy marshes. This park was established in 1994 as Southland Park before being renamed Sue Higgins Park in 2012. The wildlife visible in this park includes diving ducks, Canada geese, red-winged blackbirds, squirrels, beavers, and even the boreal chorus frog with its distinctive call.
There is a 4.5-kilometre trail through the park, on which leashed dogs may walk. This park has the largest fenced-in off-leash dog-friendly area in all of Calgary and is often touted as a critical spot for any Calgary dog-lover. The best part of this fenced-in area is that it protects dogs from the foot traffic and cyclists in the rest of the park, so both dogs and their owners can enjoy the park in a more leisurely way. This park also has several river access points for dogs.
The parking lot is relatively small compared to the volume of people using the park, so visitors should plan for this ahead of time.
Discover Calgary with Your Dog
While its downtown urban area continues to flourish, Calgary is also making great efforts to maintain its natural splendour for ongoing public enjoyment, including by dogs and their owners. This list highlights some of the most renowned dog-friendly spots in Calgary, but by no means is it comprehensive. Dog owners can find an outdoor recreational area to meet their needs, with fences or without, off-leash or on-leash, and even with river access points for a healthy dose of swimming. The variety of terrain and wildlife on display means these outdoor options are always exciting, whether they involve navigating steep inclines or watching—or sniffing out—the activity of local birds, amphibians, and mammals.
Like many other major Canadian cities, Calgary celebrates its cultural and financial accomplishments through its urban center while also honouring its beloved natural landscape through the breadth of outdoor recreational options it provides for everyone. If you're looking for a Calgary townhome or new construction home that will give your canine companion easy access to outdoor play areas, contact the Justin Havre team of RE/MAX First with Calgary Homes at 403-217-0003 to get in touch with a Calgary real estate agent who can help you find the best Calgary home for you and your pup.