Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation
- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Embark on a hike at Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation to take in the rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains. With unique vantage points along the way, the trail is teeming with wildlife in their natural, protected habitat. Here, find quiet trails that provide a retreat in nature and a respite from busy city life.
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Route Description for Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation
This Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area hike is one of our favourite underrated spots for a hike around Calgary, and is a great option when the mountains are snow-bound or too busy.
There are four main route options here: Rancher’s Trail (3.6 km), Aspen Trail (3.5 km), Fescue Trail (4.6 km) and Paradise Trail (8.6 km).
Our favourite hiking trail at the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area is the Paradise Trail. The Paradise Trail can be done in either direction, though we find it easier going counterclockwise to get on the main path to start.
Walk out of the parking lot through a barrier where you need to sign in. Then, head down a path to the main Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area building. At the building, go to your right and head out on a clear path over grassland.
Walk up a small rise with great views on the Mountain Trail, coming to the mountain lookout.
Then, head down to the north to the forest, where you will hike along the Aspen Trail. The forest is a nice break on hot days, and there is incredible birdsong.
Soon, the path comes to a Y junction. Here, go right onto the Paradise Trail, which heads to the west, eventually coming to West Side Lookout. This is a wonderful viewpoint of the front ranges of the Rockies and a great picnic spot.
Then, come back on the Paradise Trail as it meanders over foothills, eventually coming to a junction and joining the Fescue Trail (a branch goes to the left, but continue straight). Continue ahead for another great part of the trail that passes through a semi-forested area. Here, you’ll feel far from civilization.
Go down a big hill and then turn to the north, continuing downhill to eventually meet up with the Rancher’s Trail, a pleasant loop. The trail rises, heading back to the starting point at the Belvedere House.
Insider Hints for Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation
- Be sure to bring cash or a card, as you do need to pay for parking here. They also offer the option to pay beforehand online, just be sure to bring your receipt.
- This loop can be icy in winter and spring, so having microspikes makes this hike easier if the conditions are slippery.
- There are shorter trail options available if you’re pressed for time.
- Dogs are not allowed on any trails at Ann & Sandy Cross.
Getting to the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Trailhead
From downtown Calgary, head east to Macleod Trail SE. Follow Macleod Trail SE and AB-22X W to Range Road 24 in Foothills County. Turn left onto Range Road 24. The conservation area parking will be on your right-hand side. Note: parking is $10 for the day.
Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Reviews
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