Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation
Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation

Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation hike

Calgary
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Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation hike

Distance: 5.5mi
Elevation: 673ft
Time: 2-3h

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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.

Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation hike Map

Getting there

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.

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About

When to do

Year-round

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Circuit


Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation
Elevation Graph


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 (2.2mi), Aspen Trail (2.2mi), Fescue Trail (2.9mi) and Paradise Trail (5.3mi).

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

  • 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.

Comments

Coll A. 2 years ago

A short hike that gives you a feeling of relaxation. Beautiful view of the surroundings. Best hike I've done.

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Zina SW. 2 years ago

I always love short walks like this one! It really takes all your worries away!

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Haffy K. 2 years ago

Windy hike! This trail can be icy in winter and spring, so having microspikes makes this hike easier if the conditions are slippery.

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Meng Hin Jai 2 years ago

Interesting for the kids! They spotted some Elk and Deer while walking the trails. A great hiking destination.

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Mike Constance 2 years ago

Beautiful and amazing protected area for wildlife. Nice selection of trails for all to enjoy. A must-visit place.

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Atlanta R. 2 years ago

Nice hike with a slight incline. The surroundings were so peaceful and quiet. Started the hike before 8am and there's hardly anyone ahead of us.

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Emma Tree 2 years ago

Amazing area! The views were simply beautiful. It has abundant wildlife and pasture.

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Aaron P. 2 years ago

Such a relaxing and peaceful area. Perfect for a quick retreat to nature.

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Rebekah L. 3 years ago

Lovely walk in nature. No dogs allowed. Very green and peaceful. I enjoyed the walk with my friends. Planning on going back again.

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Saba L. 3 years ago

Windy but easy trail. Picturesque views all around!

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