Waterfall Valley - Winter - Calgary - Hiking Alberta

 

Waterfall Valley in Bowmont Park near Silver Springs, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley is an easy, urban hike located in Bowmont Natural Environment Park along the north shore of the Bow River in northwest Calgary, Alberta.  This winter hike begins from Bowness heading north to a park entrance in the cul-de-sac at the end of 69 Street NW on the west side of the railroad line.  Next is a crossing on the silver Bowmont Bridge over the Bow River followed by a second pedestrian bridge over a small tributary.  Each bridge crossing provides interesting views over the partially frozen surface to the CPR Twin Bridges, originally built in 1883 as part of the Transcontinental Railway.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Bowness entrance to Bowmont Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The Bowmont Bridge over the Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The south CPR Twin Bridge, originally constructed in 1883, spans the predominantly frozen Bow River. As viewed from the Bowmont Bridge in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The second pedestrian bridge completes the span across the Bow River with an excellent view of the second of the Twin Bridges to the east.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The second Twin Bridge, built originally by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883, spans the Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

A picturesque pond along paved trail to the east leads to partially ice and snow-covered dirt trail leading up the steep, south grassy slopes in Bowmont Park.  Hiking up and east past valleys leads to progressively more muddy trail created by sunny thawing.  To the west, snow-covered Rocky Mountains stretch dramatically across the horizon.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

A spring fed pond in Bowmont Park is a quiet oasis where ducks frequently assemble.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Bluffs along the north shore of the Bow River are largely clear of snow in the presence of increasing sun on south-facing slopes

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Traversing west-facing slopes across multiple valleys on wet, muddy ground in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The Rocky Mountains loom large to the west behind me on the traverse towards Waterfall Valley in Bowmont Park, NW Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Boardwalk structures, at the bottom of a major drainage, give away the location of Waterfall Valley.  The approach on muddy trail along the top of a steep ridge above the Bow River is less than ideal.  Fences impede progress on trail deemed less than safe, but the wooden viewing platform at valley bottom near the confluence with the Bow River creates a precarious descent on slippery terrain.  Mud sticking to the soles of boots adds considerable weight to each leg and eliminates traction.  The winter scenery is breathtakingly beautiful but  arriving at the viewing platform is a relief.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada First view of Waterfall Valley from a muddy ridge high above the Bow River in Bowmont Park, NW Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The steep descent on muddy trail to the viewing platform near the confluence of the Bow River with Waterfall Valley in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Carefully negotiating difficult terrain on unstable muddy ground to the wooden viewing platform with a steep drop to the right  in Bowmont Park, NW Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Ancient sedimentary cliffs tower precariously above an open water section of the Bow River in Bowmont Park, NW Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The wooden viewing platform provides wonderful views of the Bow River and the tufa waterfalls on the other side of the drainage.  Although winter water flow at the waterfalls is low, their appearance is enhanced by pillars of surrounding ice.  A ramp of slick ice leads to the waterfalls.  Clinging to the railing assists in the execution of a controlled slide.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The view from the Bow River viewing platform, at the bottom of Waterfall Valley, up to the top of the decaying descent ridge in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The view of the partially iced Bow River from the viewing platform at the bottom of Waterfall Valley in Bowmont Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The view west up Bow River from the viewing platform at the bottom of Waterfall Valley in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Tufa waterfalls surrounded by ice across from the iced viewing platform ramp leading to the Waterfall Valley access trail in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The creek in Waterfall Valley feeding into the Bow River, from the bottom of the ramp to the viewing platform, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Ice surrounded tufa waterfalls in Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Photographic opportunities are abundant.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Tufa waterfall in Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Tufa waterfall in Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Tufa waterfalls in Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The snow and ice-covered boardwalk at the bottom of Waterfall Valley leading to the top in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The boardwalk provides an opportunity to access the creek, which washes some of the mud from the boots before the short ascent above the tufa waterfalls for photographs of large tufa rock formations and views looking down to the creek.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada One of the tufa formations in lower Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Colorful plant life thrives in warmer spring-fed water at the top of tufa waterfalls in Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

A view down to the creek from the top of a tufa waterfall in Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The view southwest across the viewing platform from near the top of the tufa waterfalls in Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

This very picturesque place is enhanced by the reverberating sound of running and falling water.  The view here would be even more spectacular in spring and autumn when brilliant foliage hides the more bland winter ambiance.  The boardwalk travels along and over the creek to a series of stairs and bridges along the kilometer-long route to the top of the Bow Valley.  This journey travels through several geological zones dating back more than 10,000 years when glacial ice filled the entire Bow Valley and the City of Calgary was the location of a large glacial lake.  Several fascinating interpretive plaques along the trail tell the story.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The boardwalk at the bottom of Waterfall Valley in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The boardwalk snakes its way along and over the creek at the bottom of Waterfall Valley in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

One bridge along the interpretive trail at the bottom of Waterfall Valley in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Looking down into Waterfall Valley from one set of wooden stairs aiding access into Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

The view into Waterfall Valley from near the top on the approach to the paved Bow River Pathway in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Arrival at the familiar Bow River Pathway provides an intriguing partial view of  stop lights at the top of the hill.  Continuing straight up, the trail arrives at a major city intersection in the Calgary community of Silver Springs.  This would be an excellent place to begin this interesting urban hike into Waterfall Valley.  There is a small, convenient parking area near the corner of 54th Ave NW and Silver Springs Boulevard.  Walk past the bus stop and take the trail to Bow River Pathway, hang a right to find the obvious trail-head in the dip.  The hike home will be along paved pathway with spectacular views south across the valley to Calgary Olympic Park.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The Waterfall Valley trail-head is kitty corner to the large shopping plaza in Silver Springs at the junction of Silver Springs Blvd and Silver Springs Gate / Silver Ridge Drive, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Waterfall Valley and the Bow River from the top of the trail.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Canada Olympic Park on the far side of the Bow River Valley from one of the viewing stations along the Bow River Pathway

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

A long lens view of Canada Olympic Park from the Bow River Pathway in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The familiar route down the paved big hill passes the Bowmont Stormwater Recovery Ponds and past the bridges which leads to the Bowness roads home.

 

Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

A gathering of ducks on the ice of the Bow River under the CPR Bridge in Bowmont Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

This is an excellent urban walk on a cool, crisp and sunny winter day.  The short hike is unique and worthy of experiencing in each season.  Ice cleats are a good idea.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

In winter conditions, traction support on hiking boots would be a good idea with instep crampons in the daypack for more icy conditions off the boardwalk. I did not have them with me on this hike but there were spots where I could have used them. The south facing hill approach from Bowness was a mudder so not an ideal time to get in there. Always good to hear from you, Sheryl. Enjoying your blog photos and helpful info.

I somehow missed this post, Barry - thanks so much for the mention! I've never tried to go down to the waterfall in the winter or spring - I'd be so worried about footing! It's really fascinating to see the landscape covered in ice and snow, I'm glad you profiled it.

Cool post Barry. It's nice to learn something today. I'm sitting out here east of you by Langdon....Very bored waiting to test concrete. Tufa is something I'm not familiar with at all.

The challenge here is to find different ways to photograph the greens. Unless drought hits [and it is trying very hard] our forests do not have a colour change.

Thank you for your comment, Helen. It has been a challenging winter here this year with consistent and uncommonly cold temperatures. Thank you for your kind words. The dreary, high contrast, brown Calgary landscapes are a far cry from the lush and unique greenery you are experiencing in your latest post from Australia. The contrast between snow and dormant shrubbery here in Calgary makes it challenging for landscape photography. The poor editor tries as hard as it can.

An exhilerating outing. I love the brown, white and blue contrasts in these shots.

Thanks for your comment and insight, Sandra. I can imagine the more natural trails in prior times. Now, it is more accessible and the bluffs provide an excellent view of Canada Olympic Park on Paskapoo Slopes on the other side of the glacial valley. Once the site of a great glacier lake, the surrounding land still hosts many underground springs.

Waterfall valley? I grew up there...those were just the "springs" of Silver Springs. =)

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