An Insider's Guide to the Top Hiking Experiences in Calgary

An Insider's Guide to the Top Hiking Experiences in Calgary
An Insider's Guide to the Top Hiking Experiences in Calgary
Make Calgary Part of Your Rockies Getaway

An Insider's Guide to the Top Hiking Experiences in Calgary

Local tips to the top hiking experiences in the city.

Whoa Nelly. I know you’ve just arrived in Calgary and you’re chomping at the bit to catch those jaw-dropping Rocky Mountain views you’ve been drooling over in your Instagram feed, but perhaps you haven’t had a chance to explore all the city has to offer. Downtown Calgary is only 20 minutes away from the airport and it’s a hotbed for hiking, urban walks, and a whole lot of cool experiences that you won’t want to miss. And if you’re willing to go a little further, you can find wild places both within and just outside of the city limits.


So hop in a taxi or grab an Uber and get downtown. Please give us at least a few hours – if not a whole day and a night - to show you the best bits of the city on foot. You’ll be happy you did.
In case you didn’t know, Calgarians have a reputation of being friendly so if you ever need help or directions on any of the hikes don’t be afraid to ask a local. Have fun and don’t forget your sense of adventure.

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Gearing up for Your Hike

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The Simmons Building along the River Walk features great food and drinks for a pit stop

The Simmons Building along the River Walk features great food and drinks for a pit stop

Downtown Calgary Hike – the River Walk and Bow River Pathway (East)

Retrace your steps to the George C. King Bridge. Turn the hike into a loop by crossing the Bow River and continuing west on the Bow River Pathway to return to your starting point. If you need a dose of adorable, continue east two kilometres to reach the Calgary Zoo – and the pandas.

Another option if you want to explore the nearby Inglewood neighbourhood is to continue east just past Fort Calgary and follow the advice in the next section.

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Take a hike through the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary at any point during the year

Take a hike through the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary at any point during the year

Inner city hike - Inglewood Bird Sanctuary & Nature Centre and the Inglewood Neighbourhood

There are two options to return to the Inglewood neighbourhood on foot. Either continue walking west along the pretty Bow River Pathway cutting in and away from the river on either 12th or 15 th St SE or follow 9th Ave SE for a faster, more direct route back.

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Start your walk along the Bow River Pathway downtown before heading out west to Edworthy Park

Start your walk along the Bow River Pathway downtown before heading out west to Edworthy Park

Inner City Hike - Bow River Pathway West to Edworthy Park with a Kensington Village Layover

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This pathway is right in the middle of Calgary near Inglewood

Even though it looks like the countryside, this pathway is right in the middle of Calgary near Inglewood

 

Westside Hike - Bowness Park

At the western edge of the city squeezed between the Bow River and a lagoon sits Bowness Park. While it’s smaller than many others in the city it’s worth a visit for its tranquil location. Walk the scenic trail beside both the lagoon and the Bow River, stopping in at the Tea House if you need refreshments. For those wanting a longer walk continue east along the Bow River Pathway, crossing the Bow River twice to reach a couple of small ponds. The Bow River Pathway continues north and east of the ponds but you’ll have to retrace your steps if you parked in the park.

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In many of Calgary’s parks, you’ll see scenes like this in the middle of a major city

In many of Calgary’s parks, you’ll see scenes like this in the middle of a major city

Elbow River Hike - Elbow River Pathway and the Mission Neighbourhood

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Roam through Stephen Avenue, a pedestrian-only street in the heart of Downtown

Roam through Stephen Avenue, a pedestrian-only street in the heart of Downtown

 

An urban, culture, food filled walk

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Nose Hill Park provides great views of the city

Nose Hill Park provides great views of the city

Hike on the Wild Side - Nose Hill Park

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Hike in a Wild Urban Park - Fish Creek Provincial Park

Even in the city, you’re likely to meet some furry friends along the trails

Hike in a Wild Urban Park - Fish Creek Provincial Park

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The Weaselhead Flats are an urban paradise on the western edge of Calgary

The Weaselhead Flats are an urban paradise on the western edge of Calgary

 

Weaselhead Flats

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The Glenbow Ranch just outside Calgary on the way to the Rockies

The Glenbow Ranch just outside Calgary on the way to the Rockies

Rocky Mountain Views Hike - Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

 

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The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area in the foothills

The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area in the foothills

 

Foothills Hike - Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area

 

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By
Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam, is a Calgary based outdoor and adventure blogger and the author/co-author of two books, including the bestselling 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta.