Which Parks Are the Best in Calgary?
Calgary is often not seen as having leisure strolls but in fact there are a number of walks that you can take advantage of and the city still offers a lot to see and do. There are a number of walks that you can explore and they are all brought together in one place and are now in a book which means if you are new to the area you can read about them and learn more about what each one offers. Here are some of the top walks in Calgary that are considered to be the best.
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park
This is a great getaway and offers a breath-taking view. You get a view of the sky and more and with a remote location, paved paths are still accessible allowing you to take peaceful strolls in the early morning hours and there are also paths that are great to bring the kids along for. If you want something more remote there are shale paths that are a little more hidden which allow you to explore even more.
Prince’s Island Park
Found in the middle of downtown, Prince’s Island Park is the perfect place for your next picnic. It's surrounded by water and provides plenty of picnic sites. You can also enjoy the many hiking trails, flower gardens, water fountains, playgrounds, pathways and the large art sculptures. If you don't want to pack your own picnic, you can even pick something up at the cafe.
Nose Hill Park
This northern walk allows you to get to the big plateau and allows you to enjoy views everywhere and going hiking is possible. There are 200 plant types that you can see along the way and with a spectacular summer view, it’s things you won’t see from the road that make this stroll and path one to be sure to check out. There are coolies that are loaded with aspen offering shade which is beneficial in the summer. You can enjoy coyotes, deer and more wildlife along the way.
Nose Hill Park is over 2,700 acres in size or over 11,000 hectares. It's made up of mostly protected grassland with many hiking paths, great scenery and a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. The park is home to a fescue grassland ecosystem, which is rare for the area, 27 species of mammals and 100 species of birds. The park features:
- Hiking Trails
- Designated off-leash areas
- Native Grasslands
The park is all about nature with the amazing grasslands throughout. Enjoy a hike on the hill or spend time appreciating the beauty around you. This is one of the best areas for Canadian prairies throughout the entire country with the Bow River Valley and Rocky Mountains close by. Many different plants, trees, shrubs and wildflowers are found throughout the park, along with the Trembling Aspen.
As you hike through the park, you may spot all types of wildlife including deer, coyotes, pocket gophers, porcupines, squirrels and more. This is a great place for bird watching with a variety of birds throughout the park.
Many residents of Calgary love spending time at Bowness Park all year. With beautiful scenery and many great activities, this is a popular place for singles, couples, families and groups of friends. Spend time walking the many paths, enjoy a family picnic or discover one of the many other great uses for this park.
Activities found at Bowness Park include:
- Paddle boating
- Cross-country skiing
- Paths for biking and walking
- Spay Park
- Water Fountains
- Outdoor ice skating
You can find the park between Stoney Trail and 85 Street N.W. It’s located near the Bow River, which helps add to the amazing scenery. A lagoon is found on the southern edge, as well. If you want to spend time on the river, you can with the paddleboats or you can just enjoy a picnic with the river providing soothing sounds and scenery.
Fish Creek Provincial Park
Spring is one of the best times to pack up the family and head for a picnic at Fish Creek Provincial Park. As one of the largest Canadian parks found in an urban area, it's a sight worth seeing especially in the spring when the birds are passing through on their migration north and the other animals are excited about the arrival of the new season and all of the new food available. Here are just some of the animals you may find when you head to the park to see nature at its best.
- Great horned owls
- Canada geese
- Mountain bluebirds
- Tundra swans
- Bald eagles
- Wood duck
- Much more
You'll see a variety of animals here ranging from white-tailed deer and beavers to amphibians and reptiles. It's the place to visit if you're looking for summer spring excitement within the city that includes old forests, grasslands and everything in between. Fish Creek Provincial Park is the natural pride of Calgary where you can escape the hustle and bustle of city life without having to drive out of the city to get there. You can leave the business behind while enjoying the peace and quiet of the natural surroundings.
There are great paved paths available for cyclists and walkers and you can even bring your dog along as long as long as you keep him on a leash. You'll also want to take your camera since there are incredible photos just waiting to be shot within the park.
The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre
The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre provides the perfect opportunity to experience over 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals, seven species of fish, 27 species of butterflies and nearly 350 species of plants without leaving the city. There's plenty to see here and it's located in the city. This makes it a convenient escape from the normal for the whole family.
Complete with over two kilometers of walking trails, more than one kilometer of nature trails and plenty more, this is a peaceful escape. A flowing river provides the perfect serene environment with a lagoon close by. The best time for viewing birds and other creature is during the spring and summer time, but some of the wildlife is available all year long.
The Sanctuary is open to the public, but they do ask that you leave your bird food, roller blades, pets and bikes at home. Wheelchairs and strollers are fine and most of the trails are accessible for both.
Other Parks Around Calgary
Within the city, you will find a number of great parks for picnicking. Three of the top choices include:
- Caburn Park - 67 Riverview Drive S.E. - This park provides a number of picnic spots with plenty to see. It's known for Great Blue Herons and plenty of waterfowl. You can also fish here or paddle down the river.
- Pearce Estate Park - 1440 17A Street S.E. - Another good city choice is Pearce Estate Park. With 15-hectares of wetland and plenty of picnic tables, this is a local favourite.
- Shouldice Park - 4900 Monserrat Drive N.W. - Not only can you picnic here, but you can also enjoy plenty of athletics. The park provides tennis, baseball, soccer and more
Of course, if you want to enjoy the quiet and the great views, a mountain picnic spot is the way to go. Top spots for a mountain picnic include:
- Quarry Lake - A short drive to Canmore will provide you with one of the best places for a picnic near Calgary. This spot provides beautiful views of the mountains and amazing water. You won't find any fire pits here, so make sure you pack an old-fashioned picnic.
- Canoe Meadows - Another good spot with plenty of great picnic areas is Canoe Meadows. You will need to book a campsite to enjoy this area, but you can spend the weekend hiking, rafting, canoeing, kayaking and picnicking.
- Sheep Falls- Maybe you want to enjoy the romance and beauty of an area waterfall. If so, Sheep Falls is the right place for you. It's found at Sheep River Provincial Park and provides plenty of great spots for a picnic.
Whether you prefer to stay in the city or head to the mountains, you will find a great park to spend the day,
Calgary offers several parks to see and take part in which can turn an ordinary afternoon or morning into a new routine that you can take advantage of.