hikes in Calgary
When it comes to hiking in Calgary, the Rocky Mountains often comes top of mind, but why not take a pause to discover all Calgary has to offer in ways of urban and nature trails within the city - perfect for day hikes.
Calgary has a wide variety of walking trails, and with good public transport you can explore many of these trails without a car. Best of all, even when you’re within Calgary, it feels like you’re out in the countryside, whether walking along the rim of Cranston Ridge, through the bottoms of valleys at Fish Creek Ranch and yes—even with views of the far-off Rocky Mountains at Nose Hill.
The landscape of Calgary is ever changing, that’s part of what makes it such an epic city for walking. From tall, shady alpine forests to the sweeping, willowy grasslands to wetlands teeming with wildlife and birds flying overhead, Calgary’s hiking scene really does have it all. Better yet, there is a trail available for every fitness level, whether you’ve never hiked a day in your life or if you’re basically a mountaineer by trade.
To help you get on your way for your next hike in Calgary, we’ve compiled a list of all our favourite spots across the city. We like to think we’ve got the 4-1-1 to help you tackle any hike and leave you raving about the heart of Canada’s West Coast.
The 10 Greatest Hikes in Calgary
When hiking in Calgary, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Within a quick drive, you’ll have access to blooming meadows, craggy hills, lush river valleys and ever-green forests. No matter what kind of trail you’re looking for, be it family-friendly, challenging or an ideal day hike, Calgary’s got it. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and explore the great outdoors in your own backyard, we’re rounded-up the 10 most epic hikes in and around Calgary.
- Bow River Pathway North: Set out on a local hiking adventure with the little ones at this urban trail. Find winding dirt pathways that snake up a ridge offering panoramic views over the city of Calgary and passes through both Bowmont Park and Dale Hodges Park.
- Fish Creek Ranch and Parkland Ridge: Hang with the local wildlife—beavers and birds—at Canada’s largest urban park. With endless dirt trails and pathways to explore, you can visit this trail each season for a completely different experience.
- Nose Hill: This hike will get you sweating in the best way possible. Gradually make your way up the hill to take in the vista below, showcasing the Rocky Mountains, Bow River Valley and the vast plains off in the distance.
- Glenbow Ranch: Grab your cowboy hat and set off to discover this active cattle ranch. This trail gets hilly, making for a fun hike with great views, topped off with a zig zag climb up a coulee at the end.
- Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation: Take in the rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains with stunning vantage points at this conservation area. Here, find quiet solitude among the crickets, where it’s easy to forget you’re not far from the city.
- Lafarge Meadows: Get up close and personal to the locals--- moose, owls, osprey and red-necked grebes—at these engineered wetlands. Take a refreshing dip in the Bow River and then continue on the trail, passing pristine, manicured gold courses.
- West Fish Creek: Bordered on three sides by the city, the West Fish Creek hiking trail feels like an oasis in the middle of an urban jungle. Grab your net and head down to the creek to spot tadpoles, then enjoy the gentle paths of the park before indulging in a picnic lunch waterside.
- Bow River Downtown: For the ultimate urban hike, set out on a walk through the downtown core of Calgary. Enjoy the beautiful, lush parks within the city, take in the sights at the Crescent Heights Lookout Point and stop for coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
- Cranston Ridge: Discover a challenging hike, starting off in the bottom of a valley where the babbling Bow River flows. Pace yourself as you ascend the Cranston Ridge and brave the elevation change. Then, marvel at the stately homes in Riverstone as you pass through peaceful local parks.
- Inglewood Bird Sanctuary: Find an astonishing 270 species of birds to observe in this wildlife nature reserve. Grab the whole family and explore the wide-open grasslands in this picturesque park.
When is the best time to hike in Calgary
Calgary is one of those rare places that is truly enjoyable all year round and part of what makes the city so great. For hiking, the summer months offer beautiful wildflower trails and bubbling creeks perfect for a quick dip. In the fall, watch as the leaves change colour and crunch beneath your feet. During the winter months, be sure to bring snowshoes and a warm hat, but don’t let the cold deter you! Step out and enjoy the winter wonderland that can befall Calgary. In the spring, watch as the world turns vivid green once more and enjoy those early days of warmer weather and quite trails.
Hiking options near Calgary
In just over an hour you can find yourself in the spot most loved by locals—Kananaskis Country. Here, you can find breathtaking hikes far from the crowds that follow Jasper or Banff. Check out incredible hikes in Banff, or around Lake Louise or even on the beautiful Icefield Parkway. Hop on Highway 40 to reach some of the greatest Lake Louise in the Kananaskis, including Kananaskis Trail, Smith Dorrien and Bragg Creek.
How to plan a trip to Calgary
Need all the details on how to plan a trip to Calgary? We’ve got you covered. Check out our Planning a Trip to Calgary Guide, which has all the information on how to get here, when to visit, where to stay and even where to find the best grub in the city.
Frequently asked questions about hiking in Calgary
Where can I hike in Calgary?
There are a lot of options both within and just outside Calgary, and we’ve shared route guides for our favourites to help get you started.
Do I need hiking boots for trails in Calgary?
Most of our favourite trails are relatively easy walks, so trail runners are all you need here!Read More
The best hikes in Calgary
Yes, there are more than 10
Calgary is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in Calgary that you should take a look at as well
Are we missing your favourite hike?
Tell us! If you've got photos, a GPS track and know the hike, we'd love to share your favourite hike with the rest of the 10Adventures community.