Whether you are a hardcore trailblazer, an avid runner, or would like to enjoy nature while getting some fresh air and exercise, there's a trail for everyone in Calgary. With an assortment of lengths, terrains, and scenery, these paths offer something for outdoor enthusiasts of all interests and skill levels. Nature lovers may want to bring binoculars and have their smartphones ready to capture memories of birds, wildlife, and the natural beauty of the region. Lace up your best walking or running shoes, grab a snack and water bottle, and get ready to hit the trails in Calgary.
Douglas Fir Trail
Part of Edworthy Park, this 5.8-kilometre trail follows a very steep and densely wooded escarpment along the southern bank of Bow River in Southwest Calgary. The Douglas Fir Trail is known for its numerous lookout points, which offer dramatic views of the Bow River Valley. It's also known for its majestic Douglas fir trees, some of which are as old as 500 years with diameters of 2.5 metres. The trail is accessible during park hours, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Natural springs and water draining from nearby communities has resulted in some very unstable slopes near the trail. The risk of dangerous icy conditions keeps the trail closed in winter and early spring.
Glenmore Reservoir Trail
Glenmore Reservoir Trail is one of the most popular trails in Calgary, and therefore one of the most crowded. Despite its heavy use, the trail is prized for enabling visitors to feel as though they have left urban life behind, despite having not left the city. The trail's 15.4-kilometre loop offers recreational opportunities for those of all skill levels. Joggers have their choice of either a 15-kilometre loop or a 6.4-kilometre shorter loop. The trail passes the Glenmore Sailing Club, the Weaselhead Conservation area, Heritage Park, and the Calgary Canoe and Rowing Club. It's common to see chickadees and other birds along the route. The Glenmore Reservoir Trail is best used from March through October.
A lightly trekked loop trail, Edgemont Ridge is a 9.7-kilometre path suitable for beginners that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and cityscape. This recreational area is dominated by Rough Fescue grasslands and features vistas of the Rocky Mountains, Bow River Valley, and the immense plains to the east. Visitors report seeing abundant wildlife, including deer and coyotes roaming the grasslands as well as several species of smaller mammals. The easy trek is also favoured by dog walkers. The trail is located in Nose Hill Park and is a favourite of walkers and mountain bikers alike. Edgemount Ridge can be accessed through the park, which is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Prince's Island Loop
Prince's Island Loop is located within the heart of Calgary, just north of the Eau Claire neighbourhood and directly north of downtown Calgary. The loop is within Prince's Island Park, a city park located on an island in the Bow River and accessible from the downtown riverfront via three bridges. The elevation of Prince's Island Loop is relatively flat, making for an easy 2.7-kilometre stroll around the loop or a leisurely bike ride. A favourite of picnickers, the trail also offers plenty of wildlife, including Canada geese, mallards, and other waterfowl. The trail can be accessed through Prince Island Park from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Bow River Loop From McKenzie Lake
Bow River Loop from McKenzie Lake is a 9.3-kilometre trail in Southeast Calgary. Known for its bird-watching opportunities and river views, this trail offers visitors the opportunity to get close to nature within an urban setting. This loop trail is fairly low-traffic and follows the banks of the Bow River. Its easy elevation and even terrain make it an appropriate trail choice for walkers, runners, and cyclists of all abilities. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and mountain biking.
Discover a Calgary Trail Today
With so many trails, people have plenty of opportunities to find one that matches their interests, preferred Calgary outdoor recreation, and skill level. The city's network of trails connects neighbourhoods, parks, and areas of natural beauty. In addition to the trails noted above, there are dozens more within the city's system of pathways. Seeing nature up close while getting some fresh air and exercise should be ample incentive to explore what Calgary has to offer. Visitors and residents alike can enjoy walking, jogging, inline skating, or cycling while taking in the area's spectacular scenery.