Mar 052015
Calgary Pathway hike

Even in winter months, we still get out and hike. More times than not we stay in town, but given there are a huge number of public pathways to choose from in this fair city, this works out well. Often though, these types of outings are rather dull and mundane affairs, at least from a stand point of sharing them with others, and as such we don’t document them all.

Today we’re visiting the eastern fringes of Fish Creek Provincial Park and some other nearby green spaces. We’ll be paralleling the Bow River the whole time, heading up one side and back on the other. While there are many possible entry points we’ll start near the community of Deer Run. On this trip, we’ll pass through wooded areas and open treeless flood plains and at times it’s hard to believe we’re in the city. None the less, this is an urban hike.

That’s one thing we like about Calgary, you can often escape the city in the city.

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This day it was a balmy -21c before the windchill was factored in. Brrrrrr! Regardless of the temperature, we get out. Lots of layers and a steaming thermos of hot chocolate always help on trips like this.

From the parking lot, we take the paved path heading south and towards the river. There was still snow on the ground from the previous night, but it was not a problem. Many of the paths we’ll take, but not all, get cleared and near the end of our journey we’d pass a plow truck.

Coming to a pedestrian bridge, we cross over the steaming waters, then quickly zig-zag up a high escarpment and on topping out head left (north). For the next kilometre or two, we’ll pass behind many houses. Except at one point that is, where there is a clearing, which was at one time the site of an old homestead. This was the Patterson Farm, which operated for many years, up until the 1970s, back when the land here was actually quite rural and well away from the city.

This section is technically not in Fish Creek Park but we can always see it across the Bow River.

In places, the pathway has sustained some damage, sections have slumped a bit, which we have to detour around. A nearby roadway acts as a bypass route.

Dropping down to a wooded flat, we spot a couple deer nearby. It’s amazing how much wildlife there is in Calgary. Earlier we saw coyote (too quick to photograph), and later lots and lots of birds, including an eagle, a pheasant (both also too fast to capture) and a huge number of ducks and geese and other waterfowl. We catch a quick lunch in the trees here. This section of green space is called Douglasbank Park.

We come to another foot bridge. It was only recently repaired, after sustaining a good deal of damage during the spring 2013 floods. The approaches got washed away.

After crossing it we turn left again (south). We see signs of flood damage here, undercut drainage culverts, lots of debris, fallen trees and so on, a year and a half after that awful event happened. It’ll take time to fix that mess.

The next section is quite flat and mostly devoid of trees. As such the wind can be nasty here and at times it blew very hard. For the next little bit, the path is well away from the river.

In no time we’re back at the car. It was not a long trip, our GPS said nine kilometres, while a map sign listed it as about seven. The last section we hiked is part of the TransCanada trail system. Again, this was not terribly exciting adventure, but as anglers are heard to say “the worst day fishing is better than the best day working” and the same holds true for what we do. We had fun, we always do. And the exercise is most welcome.

Fish Creek Park, and Calgary as a whole, has a huge network of walking trails and pathways. There is enough to keep one busy for a long, long time. We’re lucky in that respects.

To look at some of our more “wild” hikes, go here…
Elbow Valley – Sulphur Springs loop.
Volcano Ridge.
Jura Creek.

If you wish more information on this trail, by all means contact us!

Date of adventure: January, 2015.
Location: Calgary, AB.
Distance: Our GPS said 9km, the park map, 7km.
Height gain cumulative: >100m.
NOTE: all heights and distances are approximate.

Calgary Pathways

We start by heading south.

Bow River pedestrian bridge

Crossing over.

Bow River in winter

The icy Bow.

Bow River Path

At the top of an escarpment, we head north.

Calgary Pathways bench

The view west.

Patterson Homestead

Entering the Patterson Homestead site.

Patterson Homestead Calgary

There was a farm here up until the 1970s.

Bow River Pathway

Looking towards downtown.

CEO raises

So true.

Calgary Bow River

The steaming river below.

Calgary Pathway detour

Some sections of path were under repair.

Walking Calgary Pathways

Looking back.

Wild Deer Calgary

A deer watching us watching it.

Douglasbank Park

In Douglasbank Park.

Bow River Calgary

A lovely winter scene.

Bow River birds

The Bow River in Calgary is home to a huge numbers of birds.

Bow River foot bridge

This bridge was out of service for a time, due to flood damage.

Fish Creek Pathways

We’re heading south now.

Flood damage Fish Creek Park

They’re still working to fix all the damage.

Fish Creek Pathway system

An open treeless stretch of path.

Plowed Calgary Pathway

A plow zips past.

Plowed pathway Calgary

Yes, we’re in the city.

Calgary Pathway hike

Almost back at the starting point.

Fish Creek Pathways map

There are a lot of hiking options in the park.

East Fish Creek

Our route – star is where it all began.


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2 Comments on "Ice cold urban hiking"

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Jason Sailer
Jason Sailer

You guys walked pretty close to our Sanderson condominium development! Judging by your Google map reference you were not far away! Looks like an cold day. Great writeup!