Staying active with your dog is not always the easiest thing to do, especially when daily walks with your pets get tedious and dull. However, taking your furry friend to a dog park after work or to one of Calgary’s provincial parks for a day trip is an easy and fun way to change up your daily walk and make sure you and your pet get enough exercise.
The city of Calgary is home to over 130 off-leash dog parks, all of which offer various amenities to make your outdoor experience with your pet that much more enjoyable. Additionally, Calgarians are lucky enough to be home to Fish Creek Provincial Park, Canada’s largest inner city park, which while not off leash is a great place to explore for humans and dogs.
Below are four of the best places in Calgary for you and your family to squeeze in some exercise and take your pet for either a simple walk or even a day adventure:
SUE HIGGINS PARK
Sue Higgins Park is well renowned for being one of the best off-leash dog parks in Calgary due to its prime location between Deerfoot Trail and the Bow River, fully fenced in layout and dog-friendly atmosphere. Its long design allows you and your animal to spend anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour within its 62 hectares of looped trails. There are waste receptacles everywhere to dispose of your doggy doo-doo. And while not having to carry around your dog’s do do around is a great feature, the best parts about Sue Higgins is that the Bow River is a great place to cool off your paws and feet at the end of the walk.
Pros – It’s considered an easy walk in the park, and is full of social animals and lovers alike.
Cons – The park can get busy at times, so if your pet does not socialize very well, the Southwood off-leash area would be the next best thing. Southwood is closeby and offers a (mostly) fenced in park, along with additional access to the Braeside dog park through the 14th street overpass. Lastly, keep an eye out for strong current warnings in the Bow River, as you should not allow your pet to swim if you are not confident in their doggy-paddling abilities.
Built alongside the Elbow River, River Park Off-Leash Area offers a scenic view of downtown Calgary. Since it is connected to most of Calgary’s pathways, it is always bustling with fellow dog walkers, runners, bikers, and inner city explorers. Its location allows you and your furry side kick to spend a day or an afternoon discovering downtown Mission, or the Glenmore Reservoir. Additionally, you’ll never go thirsty here as there is a designated water fountain for both humans and dogs.
Pros – Although Sandy Beach is not within the designated off-leash borders, there is an area on the Brittania side of the Elbow River that has an off-leash river access area for your pet to cool down.
Cons – Can also be a little too busy at times, however, both Brittania off-leash areas and the Glenmore Reservoir are wonderful substitute options if you’re feeling antisocial.
NOSE HILL PARK
If you like to hike but do not have the time to make it out to the mountains, Nose Hill park is the place to be. It offers a scenic off-leash dog park that has hills and valleys that will help you and your furry friend burn off plenty of energy. It’s 1100 hectares of land ensure that you will never have to take the same pathway twice. To ensure that you have the best experience at Nose Hill make sure to bring plenty of water, running shoes, and a leash if your dog has yet to perfect the “call back.”
Pros – If your pet does not do well with other animals or if you’re feeling unsociable, then Nose Hill Park is the perfect place for you.
Cons – The only amenities offered (garbage cans and washrooms) are located at the entrances.
FISH CREEK PROVINCIAL PARK
Located in the south of Calgary, Fish Creek is the biggest inner city park and offers many amenities. Activities such as fishing, mountain biking, swimming, trail running, and even geocaching are all pet and family friendly options that can be experienced within Calgary’s provincial park. Although Fish Creek has a strict on-leash policy that is patrolled and enforced, its various facilities and trails make it feel like you’re taking a trip to the mountains without having to leave the city. The park also has washrooms, water, and garbage cans on the main trails.
Pros – The park offers on and off-road trails that vary in length and run perpendicular to the actual creek, allowing you and your pet to take a refreshing dip when you need to cool off.
Cons – Due to its location within the valley, it is easy to get lost so it is important to keep track of where you parked and where certain landmarks are located throughout the park. Additionally, Fish Creek is known for its wildlife, so it is crucial that you keep a leash on your animal and to always clean up any waste, treats, or food.
Although these locations are just a few of the many dog parks the City of Calgary has to offer, locating and trying out a nearby one can be a fun way to invigorate your exercise routine and treating your pet to a new adventure. For additional pet friendly parks and sights, check out the City of Calgary website.