Calgary has some great parks and green spaces. While Fish Creek, Bowness and Nose Hill are some of the most popular and frequented parks, there’s plenty of other parks and green spaces all around the city that Calgarians should check out. Here’s a list of some of our favorites.
Reader’s Rock Garden Reader’s Rock Garden is just minutes from downtown and right beside Stampede Park. While it’s not a long walk through, it’s a great escape from the city as it’s usually pretty quiet. It also offers lots of shade, flowers, gazebos and places to sit. If you’re feeling hungry there’s even a cafe at the top which features a lot of local food.
While the gardens are a bit of a trek for anyone that doesn’t live in the north, they’re definitely worth seeing. The botanical gardens have 14 different gardens with a walking path leading you to each one. Some of the features include the only Shakespeare garden in Western Canada, a rose garden and a sunflower garden. The largest outdoor labyrinth in Canada is also here for anyone that wants to do some reflection. While it’s not a long walk, there is a rather uphill section for part of it making it more than your usual leisurely garden stroll.
Ralph Klein Park One of Calgary’s newer parks Ralph Klein Park is also usually empty. While the park’s main feature is the environmental centre, the interpretive trails are also great with lots of benches for sitting and signage for any kids or adults curious about the wetlands and work that is being done. A great natural playground is also in the works.
Griffith Woods Another quieter park on the outskirts of the city Griffith Woods has a flat paved trail running the entire length of the park making it ideal for anyone in a wheelchair or that needs to push a stroller. As you may have guessed from it’s name it boasts lots of trees and is one of the best forests to walk through in Calgary. It’s also a good place to spot some animals, bears have been spotted there a couple of times.
Strathcona Ravine This park is easy to miss as it’s tucked away in the community of Strathcona. While small, its boardwalks which take you over the wetlands amidst plenty of trees and foliage are enough to make you forget that you’re in the city. It is also nice and cool in the summer and has lots of Saskatoon berries and wild raspberries.
Battalion Park If you’re looking for a set of stairs to run head to Battalion Park. While most people have driven past those white numbers on the hill, the view from above is even better. And while still frequented by workout enthusiasts they are substantially quieter than the Memorial Stairs. After you run or walk to the top you can get a great view and some information on the war memorials.
Baker Park Baker Park is across the river from the more famous Bowness Park. It has a distinctly different look to it from most of Calgary’s parks as it was originally a sanitorium. It now boasts a frisbee golf park, gazebos, amphitheatre, statues, gardens, a great view of the river and many paved pathways. It’s the sight of many wedding photos and weddings and offers some great scenes for a photographer.
Right by the Silver Springs Gardens is Bowmount Park. It features some great views of the Bow River and COP as well as a lovely descent into a forested boardwalk. The most notable part of this park though are the small waterfalls. While small they are a nice sight on a summer or winter day. While it’s a pretty short walk there’s also plenty of different trails that you can explore and the park is good for hikers, mountain bikers and dogs.
Close to Calgary
Chestermere Lake While technically not in Calgary, Chestermere is pretty close. If you are craving some beach or lakeside and don’t have access to a community lake, Chestermere Lake is a good option. It’s a 5km walk around and there are a couple different sections of beach for kids and adults to play and relax on. You are also welcome to swim or boat though there is no lifeguard at the lake.
Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area If you’re in the south end of the city, the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area is just minutes away. The area was created to protect wildlife habitat, as such don’t be surprised if you do run into a animal here. There’s four lookouts spread throughout the park with some awesome scenery and many trails in between. Visitors are required to sign in. One inconvenience about the park is that it is also used as a grazing land, leaving some cow patties so you do have to be cautious about where you step.