12 Easy Hikes for Beginners near Calgary, Alberta

 

Following is a collection of easy hikes to introduce new hikers to several spectacular hiking regions in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

  

Easy hikes for beginners 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.

 

Calgary

 


1.  Paskapoo Slopes


 

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.

 

Old Cars 

Derelict car at trailside on Paskapoo Slopes in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 


2.  Waterfall Valley


 

Tackle Waterfall Valley from the Silver Spring trail access for an interesting day with great views, interesting detail and some minor elevation.

 

Waterfall Valley

Bluffs on the Bow River from the bottom of Waterfall Valley in Calgary, Alberta

 

 

Following are some easy, introductory hikes in areas outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Kananaskis Country

 


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.

 

Many Springs   

Scenery from the bridge on Many Springs trail in Bow Valley Park

 


4.  Mount Lorette Ponds


 

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.

 

Mount Lorette Ponds  

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

Elbow Falls in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Canmore

 


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 MapBow 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.

 

Canmore Coal Mine

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.

 

Grassi Lakes

Beautiful Grassi Lakes above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Hikes below will require a Parks Canada Pass

 

Kootenay National Park

 


8.  Marble Canyon


 

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.

 

Marble Canyon

The waterfall feeding Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada 

 

Lake Louise in Banff National Park

 


9.  Lakeshore Trail


 

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.

 

Louise Lakeshore

The Lakeshore trail beside Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Yoho National Park

 


10.  Field


 

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.

 

Field

Historic church in Field, British Columbia with Mount Stephen in the background.

 


11.  Emerald Lake Circuit


 

The hike around Emerald Lake is relatively flat and accesses a cornucopia of visual extravaganzas.

 

Emerald Lake

Mountains at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 


12.  Hamilton Falls


 

Hamilton Falls is easily accessible from the Emerald Lake parking area in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.  There are signs.  The hike further on to Hamilton Lake is not easy.

 

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

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.

 

 

 

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Comments

Good luck on your mission, Dana. I will follow your journey. You have achieved the most important part and that is beginning. Good luck. I am living proof it can be done many times over. FYI, all last names, personal information and links are removed from comments for the protection of the commenter from spammers and hackers.

I have hiked to all at least once as I am from Banff.

Congrats, Albert. I hope you agree these hikes are a fairly good place to begin, even if only part of the hike can be completed.

Thanks for this. One of my favourite places in our beautiful country. As we easterners come out of hibernation, dig out and thaw out this will encourage us to find our own special hikes.

Fabulous! Thank you for this, I have just started hiking and this info is priceless to me.

Is any of this stroller accessible? Beside Fish Creek and Nose Hill...

Yes, some of it will be. This is not a topic I know well but you can search for a wealth of information on several websites and blogs which deal specifically with this issue. Also, there are Chariot type strollers with large wheels which I have seen out on the trails in some reasonably rugged terrain. There are probably specific hiking books which deal with stroller accessibility. One I am familiar with is 'Take a Hike With Your Children in the Canadian Rockies'. Good on you for getting the young ones out there. I believe it is a huge contribution to their lives and long-term well being.

You would be doing what everyone should do, Tracy. Start slow and build skill set and ability gradually. A good pair of boots and some fundamental clothing and gear can be optimized over time. I wish you great success. In the beginning, I had no idea how important the relationship with nature would become over time. Best wishes on your initiative. To achieve the sweeping vistas at higher altitudes is very rewarding but often the beauty and wonder is in the detail. Good luck. Happy trails and stay safe.

Thank you for this Barry. I have a medical condition that makes hiking difficult, but I'm pretty sure that if I can just get started on some easy hikes, I'll be able to increase the difficulty at my own pace. I'm very much a country girl, and some of these sound like just the thing. Out in nature on inspiring trails I can work up to

You've got to include Nose Hill and Fish Creek Park if you're going to list places in the city. Also, Douglas Fir Trail and Edworthy Park area- heck, the whole pathway system including the magnificent new Riverwalk between Chinatown and Inglewood!

There is no intent to create a list. What you are suggesting is easily available from the City of Calgary Websites. This summary post recommends a few day hikes which I believe are worthy of an introduction to key areas near Calgary that offer a wealth of subsequent opportunity. The City of Calgary pathway system is a treasure for every resident to choose to enjoy. Individual posts on my blog cover the significant areas you mention. They can be accessed by using the 'Search' facility on my blog. Happy Trails.

Fantastic blog Barry; thank you. Yes I agree with John (above)! Nose Hill Park for sure! There are endless miles of flora and fauna to discover there. May I suggest geocaching as a great way to help introduce newer hikers to fascinating and intriguing areas.

Thank you for your comment, Tamara.  No argument about Nose Hill.  A fabulous urban resource.  Geocaching is an increasingly popular recreational activity which employs route finding skills.  There are several clubs in Calgary, and most urban centres which promote geocaching.  Great skills to acquire.

Enjoyed the post, Barry - and thanks for sharing, Lynn!! A good one that's missing is Troll Falls, out from the Ribbon Creek parking lot. Very easy, and the kids always enjoyed looking for "fairy houses" under the mossy logs on the way up to the base of the falls (which are seen from a beautifully different perspective than most). Keep writing - you have a new follower!

Agreed, Troll Falls is a classic easy hike accessible from the Ribbon Creek/Nakiska area of Kananaskis Country. There are many opportunities to begin hiking near Calgary. The long term rewards are substantial in my experience. Thank you for your comment, Cat. I may be off the grid for a short time as a result of recent eye surgery.

You are so lucky to have all this natural beauty on your doorsteps. We don't have scenery like this in the UK, especially in the south of England where I live.

In Alberta and British Columbia, we are truly blessed to have the mountains so accessible. Beauty comes in many forms and I suspect the coastlines of England offer many treasures similar to those we find on our East Coast in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It is just a matter of getting out there. I hope I will have an opportunity to visit and hike in the UK one day. Thank you for your comment, Simon.

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