Waterfall Valley in Bowmont Park near Silver Springs, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Photographic opportunities are abundant.
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.
A view down to the creek from the top of a tufa waterfall 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.
One bridge along the interpretive trail at the bottom of Waterfall Valley in 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.
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
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.
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.