Bow River & Downtown Calgary
- 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.
For extraordinary views and easy paved trails, the Bow River Downtown hike is unmatched. Take in the bustle of the city, where St. Patrick’s Island Park, inner-city energy, and great coffee await.
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- Map Data: ©OpenStreetMap
- Tiles: ©CyclOSM
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Route Description for Bow River & Downtown Calgary
This walk has it all, taking in some of the best views of Calgary. Start at St. Patrick’s Island Park. The Bow River & Downtown Calgary walk can go either direction, but we like to go counterclockwise and get the climb up to Crescent Heights done while the kid’s legs are still fresh.
Cross over the Bow River on Baines Bridge, then go left and walk along the Bow River, taking in the incredible views across Bow River into East Village.
When you hit Centre Street Bridge, go under the bridge and cross the eastbound lanes of Memorial Trail, heading left for 25 m until you reach stairs that will take you up to the Centre Street pedestrian path. Follow this path until you see a paved path on your left that goes towards Crescent Heights.
This path will take you to the ridge of Crescent Heights, where you can walk along and enjoy stunning views of downtown Calgary and beautiful homes on the other side. Continue on the path that follows Crescent Road as it curves around McHugh Bluff.
As you complete the crescent, look out for 7th Street and follow it as you descend into the cute community of Sunnyside. You’ll end up on 4th Street NW, which you take down to the LRT tracks. Cross the tracks and then hit 10St NW, where you go left. Stop for a snack or a coffee at either Regal Cat Café (where you can cuddle kittens) or sleek Vero Bistro Moderne.
Follow 10th Street and cross the river on the Louise Bridge, then go left on the Bow River Pathway into Eau Claire Park. This is a great area to sit and rest by the Peace Bridge.
From the path along the Bow River, cross over to Prince’s Island, where you’ll find a large playground for the little ones and a shady spot to kick back and relax. At the eastern end of Prince’s Island, find an area more off the beaten path to explore the area’s natural beauty.
Then, pop back onto the main Bow River Pathway trail and follow it into the East Village. Stop at Charbar for a midday tipple if you’re feeling cheeky or Phil & Sebastian, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery (located in the Simmons building), or Mari Bakeshop for a caffeine pick-me-up.
Continue walking east, crossing over the 3-arched George C. King Bridge back onto St. Patrick’s Island and the parking lot. There’s a fun playground on St. Patrick’s Island if the kids aren’t tired yet.
Insider Hints for Bow River & Downtown Calgary
- This trail is entirely on paved paths, which is great for strollers.
- If you’re uncomfortable walking in downtown by yourself, try going during the middle of the day or bring a friend.
- This route has lots of great places to stop for a snack, and can easily be turned into a full day affair, stopping for pastries, coffees or drinks!
Getting to the Bow River & Downtown Calgary Trailhead
From downtown Calgary, take 5 Ave SE and Memorial Drive to 12 St NE/Zoo Rd NE. Turn right to stay on 12 St NE/Zoo Rd NE. On your right-hand side, you’ll find a public parking lot outside the Confluence Plaza.
Bow River & Downtown Calgary Elevation Graph
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