Following is a collection of easy hikes to introduce new hikers to several spectacular hiking regions in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.
It is important to choose appropriate hikes for individual levels of knowledge and skill. Following are a few easy hikes worthy of consideration by beginners. Nearly anyone can do these short and easy day hikes.
Always carry a good hiking guide and map for reference on the hike.
Gear up appropriately for the terrain and potential weather. Mountain weather forecasts are often wrong.
Calgary's inter-city path system is impressive and a great way to begin. Popular areas include city parks like Baker and Bowness, Fish Creek and Nose Hill.
Click on the red links for the specific post.
Within Calgary, Paskapoo Slopes offer an opportunity to explore an urban wilderness area. The small wilderness area can be busy and it may be necessary to compete with dog walkers and cyclists but the area has a fascinating history and is being inundated with high-end real estate development. Get out there and have a look while it's available. Excellent city skyline and views of Calgary Olympic Park.
Derelict car at trailside on Paskapoo Slopes in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Tackle Waterfall Valley from the Silver Spring trail access for an interesting day with great views, interesting detail and some minor elevation.
Bluffs on the Bow River from the bottom of Waterfall Valley in Calgary, Alberta
3. Many Springs
One of several short and easy interpretive hikes in Bow Valley Provincial Park west of Calgary, at the Highway 1X exit a short distance beyond the Kananaskis Country exit and before Lac des Arcs.
Scenery from the bridge on Many Springs trail in Bow Valley Park
A quiet place to enjoy a picnic lunch and a walk along emerald, spring-fed ponds where bridges, pathways and small fishing wharves reside under the looming presence of spectacular Mount Lorette on the opposite side of Kananaskis Trail. This beautiful oasis can be very busy on a warm summer weekend.
Lorette Ponds in Kananaskis Trail west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
5. Elbow Falls
Although June 2013 flood damage is evident, Elbow Falls remains an outstanding place to wander on nearby trails and new plains of rock created by the flood.
Elbow Falls in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
6. Coal Mine #1
Be sure to drop into the Visitor Centre on the TransCanada Highway at the west end of Canmore to pick up their excellent Canmore Pathways and Trails Map. Bow Valley East Side is on one side of the map and Bow Valley West Side is on the other. There are huge, easy hiking opportunities in this urban area as well as more advanced hiking missions for future consideration.
Quarry Lake above Coal Mine # 1 in Canmore, Alberta, Canada
7. Grassi Lakes
Grassi Lakes reside under Mount Lawrence Grassi. The signed trail-head is just past the Canmore Nordic Centre. This easy, landmark hike is a must do. Do not venture under active climbing walls but do wander on subsidiary trails to discover.
Beautiful Grassi Lakes above Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Hikes below will require a Parks Canada Pass
Kootenay National Park
Marble Canyon is a delightful and easy hike on walkways and bridges over a slot canyon culminated with a waterfall at the far end. Some may struggle with heights when looking down, from a series of very safe bridges, into the narrow, spectacular canyon. There is some stair climbing and a bit of elevation but slow and steady stays the course.
The waterfall feeding Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Lake Louise in Banff National Park
The Lakeshore Trail begins at the Chateau Lake Louise above Lake Louise Village. This is a spectacular area and the Visitor Centre in town will be able to provide a wealth of information about further hiking opportunities.
The Lakeshore trail beside Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Yoho National Park
Field is an interesting place to explore and historical railroad town near the west side of Yoho National Park. There are many interpretive signs on this easy hike, with a bit of elevation, and surrounding mountains are spectacular. Check out the cemetery and Spiral Tunnels nearby.
Historic church in Field, British Columbia with Mount Stephen in the background.
The hike around Emerald Lake is relatively flat and accesses a cornucopia of visual extravaganzas.
Mountains at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
12. Hamilton Falls
Hamilton Falls near Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia
Bonus #13. Wapta Falls
Wapta Falls is the largest waterfall in Yoho National Park when measured by water volume. Subsidiary trails lead to the river banks below. The access trail is on the west side of Yoho National Park. Yoho is a small park but there are huge and spectacular hiking opportunities within a broad range of experience and endeavor. This park is a grand place to build experience and knowledge.
Wapta Falls roars in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
These easy hikes offer an introduction to some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet in several areas reasonably accessible from Calgary. There is no doubt you will learn of other opportunities in each area as you build your skill, knowledge, inventory of gear and physical ability. It might be wise to purchase an annual Parks Canada Pass.
The following links may also be helpful:
Happy trails and Stay safe.