7 of the Best Hikes in Calgary
One of the reasons people love living in Calgary is because of the extensive list of outdoor recreation choices the city has to offer. With numerous golf courses, WinSport & Canada Olympic Park, and community parks around every corner, it's no wonder Calgary is considered one of the most family-friendly cities in Canada.
For a free, healthy, and family-friendly way to spend the weekend, you can't beat hiking. Keep reading for 7 of the best hikes in Calgary, with something for every skill level.
1. Bow River Pathway
This urban trail is located in downtown Calgary. It runs a total of 48 kilometers along the Bow River through the heart of the city, and is one of the most popular urban trails in the area. Most of the trail is flat and paved, perfect for a leisurely bike ride. The trail is also perfectly suited to walkers and runners of all skill levels, and easily accommodates a stroller. As you follow the path you will enjoy views of anglers and kayakers on the Bow River, as well as the city skyline.
2. Grassi Lake Trail
About an hour west of Calgary in Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, hikers of all levels will enjoy Grassi Lake Trail. The 4.3 kilometer hike is fun and scenic without presenting too much of a challenge. The trail showcases breathtaking views of turquoise lakes and Ha Ling Peak.
3. Horseshoe Canyon
For a hike in a unique landscape, check out Horseshoe Canyon near the Canadian Badlands about 90 minutes from Calgary. In contrast to the alpine landscapes found in the Canadian Rockies, this hike features a dry, desert-like landscape with striated rock formations and plateaus.
4. Johnston Canyon
Located in the world famous, utterly picturesque Banff National Park, Johnston Canyon is a popular 5 kilometer hike just outside of Calgary. Hike along a rushing turquoise river, stone gorges, and multiple waterfalls on this family friendly trail, which includes a series of cliffside metal bridges.
The shorter version of the hike will take you to the Lower Falls, while the longer trail will lead you to the famous Ink Pots, a colorful phenomenon that occurs in a group of natural pools in the park. This popular hike can get crowded, so get started first thing in the morning if you can!
5. Ha Ling Peak
One of the most popular hikes, with a moderate difficulty, is Ha Ling Peak. The 7.2 kilometer hike ascends over 800 meters in altitude in just 4 kilometers of the trail. Meeting the challenge will reward you with breathtaking panoramic views of the Bow Valley below, as well as East End of Rundle and Lady MacDonald peaks nearby.
6. Plain of Six Glaciers Trail
If you're looking to spend the whole day hiking, Plain of Six Glaciers Trail in Banff National Park might be the perfect fit. The trail is 14.6 kilometers long is moderately difficult and will take you from the shores of Lake Louise into the Rocky Mountains. As the name suggests, this hike will show you impressive glaciers, as well as craggy mountain peaks and gorgeous scenic passes.
Pause for a rest on the trail at Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, where hikers pause to enjoy a snack and some tea to refuel.
7. Smutwood Peak
Though this is easily one of the most challenging hikes in the Calgary area, it is worth the effort it requires. The 17.9-kilometer trail to the peak will provide you with stunning views of the ridge and the alpine lakes and valleys below. Plan to hike in the summer or fall when all the snow has melted, and be sure you're physically prepared. The jaw-dropping scenery is worth the stamina it demands.
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