Another adventure, this one an urban hike, which we did in the depths of winter but you can do anytime. A short “stroll” (for us), follow the Bow River making a loop of sorts where one travels down one side and up the other. Along the way we’re witness to lots of wildlife, including majestic bald eagles, anglers practising their craft, many of them in fact, and countless fine views of the river itself.
If you follow our route, perhaps you’ll see all we did too. It’s a pleasant little jaunt regardless most of it passing through green spaces. The always noisy Deerfoot makes an appearance.
A good start is at Cabrburn Park in the community of Riverbend downstream from the city’s core. Find the main paved pathway heading south. Pass a large pond, then another that during the colder months is used for skating. In summer, these are more a water bird kinda place. Leave the park, hit the street on a sidewalk for a block or two, then enter another green space. Cross over the river at a pedestrian bridge, enter a dog park and turn left (south). Expect to meet many new four-legged friends here.
Squeeze between a cement plant and the river. Warmer than usual temperatures have kept the water from fully freezing. On our visit both banks were lined wall to wall with ducks and geese.
Pass under busy Deerfoot Trail (we warned you it was coming), right after switchback up a bit to the top of a bluff, backing on a residential neighbourhood, and then less than a click on, drop back down to river level and enter a green space. Cross over to the other bank via a foot bridge and turn left. In this wooded area, a river flat, are some good places to enjoy a lunch break. Fallen trees make good benches. Of course, we break out some wine. Mountains or in-city, we always hike with a bottle (and if friends join us, two)
Look around in the area and maybe you’ll spot a bald eagle. We saw two but both were a bit camera shy. Talking with locals, they often hang out on the tops of the tall evergreens that grow on the opposite bank overlooking the waters, using them as good fish spotting platforms. Human anglers are common here too. Fishing on the Bow, even in town, is always quite good.
Pass under Deerfoot again and enter an open area. Notice all the new houses and condos. Some time ago, this new neighbourhood was once a gravel pit for the cement plant across the river. There used to be a bridge connecting one to the other. To the right is a wooded flood plain.
Before long meet up with that foot bridge you crossed earlier and soon after enter Carburn Park again. We take time to watch the actions in the frozen ponds. The one for skaters is doughnut shaped, with a centre island. Since we passed it the number of people on it has increased greatly. The second pond seems popular with cross-country skiers.
Not ready to call it a day yet, we wander about the park a few times. It’s a busy place but on a warm sunny winter day, no one is in a bad mood. It’s nice to get out!
Ready to call it a day, head for the car, twelve clicks or so
One aspect of Calgary we really like is the extensive pathways system. There are hundred and hundred of kilometres worth of them, heading to all corners of the city, most of them paved (and some plowed in winter). Many pass through many of the city’s green spaces. We make use of them a lot in winter especially, when we can’t make it to hills for what ever reason. They’re one thing that makes this city a great place. What a wonderful resource.
If you wish more information on this route, by all means contact us!
Date of adventure: January, 2016.
Location: Calgary, AB.
Height gain maximum: 40m.
Height gain cumulative: 40m.
NOTE: all distances and heights are approximate.