Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary - Calgary - Hiking Alberta

 

Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary at the west end of Bowness Park in Calgary, Alberta.

 

Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary, Calgary, Alberta

 

From Bowness, in northwest Calgary, Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary is a short bicycle ride across the Bow River and through Baker Park to the fully repaired pedestrian pathway under the Stoney Trail Bridge.  Let's begin with photos of spring-storm rainbows captured through the living room window near Canada Olympic Park a couple of days prior.

 

Rainbow over Paskapoo Ridge from Bowness in Calgary, Alberta, Canada Rainbow over Paskapoo Ridge from Bowness in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Rainbow over Paskapoo Ridge from Bowness in Calgary, Alberta, Canada Rainbow in heavy weather over Paskapoo Ridge from Bowness in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Rainbow over Paskapoo Ridge from Bowness in Calgary, Alberta, Canada Rainbow, sun and thunderstorms over Paskapoo Ridge from Bowness in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

On the ride into Bowmont Natural Environment Park, high water is affecting the banks of the Bow River and there is considerable evidence of gradually collapsing river boundaries.  The bicycle ride west through Baker Park along the north shore of the Bow River and across the Bow River via Stoney Trail bridge is very pleasant on this fine, sunny, summer day.  The Frisbee (Disc Golf) courses are busy in Baker Park.

 

Bowmont Natural Environment Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Will this park bench become a hoodoo in Bowmont Natural Environment Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada?

 

Bowmont Natural Environment Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada This compromised section of trail under the 85 Street Bridge was damaged by June 1013 flood water in Bowmont Natural Environment Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 2014 high water is a new threat.

 

On the south side of the Stoney Trail Bridge, at the shore of the Bow River, there is a wooden viewing platform immediately to the west.  From here an excellent view of high water is available of the Bow River under the Stoney Trail Bridge.

 

Douglas Fir Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada 
 
 
In the opposite direction, the entrance to the Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary is well signed, long established, and clearly obvious.
 
 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Flood damage along the Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Some damage and dead fall makes the short, easy hike on the Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail more interesting in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Major obstacles have been cleared on Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail in, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Beautiful spring flowers are in bloom at Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The short, flat, easy hike though Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail passes through magnificent and reverent old growth forest.  Some of the trees are more than 400 years old and tower over newer trees which will inevitably replace them just like human population.  There are a few obstacles which may prevent everyone from participating but the short trail is a wonderful forest experience and not limited to this short span.

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The relatively easy trail continues past its short span.  The canal may prevent access to Bowness Park, which is closed for rejuvenation and flood damage repair, but an uphill link connects the trail to Wood's Home in Bowness.  There is an opportunity to return west for exploration of a well established side trail and thoroughly enjoying this magnificent forest section on the way back to the Stoney Trail Bridge.

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The same sign at the other end of Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Old fence on a well-established side trail in Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Flood damage closer to the Bow River near Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Back on the main trail at Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

There is evidence of flood damage along the trail but also many indications that time and new growth will overcome.

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Flood damage along Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Back at the Stoney Trail Bridge, the paved cycle path continues uphill on an impressive set of railed and paved switchbacks, initially beneath the bridge, to communities above where Stoney Trail approaches its intersection with the TransCanada Highway (16th Avenue through Calgary).

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Paved bicycle and pedestrian path switchbacks from the Stoney Trail pedestrian bridge to the top of the valley ridge in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Initially the switchbacks pass under the rather noisy Stoney Trail Bridge in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Paved bicycle and pedestrian switchbacks at Stoney Trail in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Switchbacks at Stoney Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The final stretch on the climb from the Bow River to the top of the valley at Stoney Trail in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The paved path meets Stoney Trail and continues into the community of Valleyview in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

On the way up the paved switchbacks, a trail entrance heads west and the excellent trail initially heads across west before beginning descent.  At a sharp right turn it becomes obvious the trail is a loop back to the junction at the Bow River.  How convenient.  Partway down I intersect with a lateral trail.  Turning right will return me to the bottom of the Stoney Trail Bridge.  Turning left (west) will continue through Douglas Fir Forest .  There is a goldmine of urban hiking available here as an extension to the elaborate Calgary Pathway System.

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada An official trail branches off the paved switchbacks near Stoney Trail in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The trail descends down the ridge in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada A park bench is placed for those climbing since there is no view other than forest directly in front.

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The formal trail makes an abrupt right turn and descends on big steps that need refilling.

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The trail travels east through beautiful trail above the Bow River and back towards my starting point.

 

There are park benches along the way to rest and enjoy the forest.  On the final stair descent, the trail returns to near river level and offers a grand view of Stoney Trail Bridge prior to the ride home through Baker Park and Bowmont Natural Environment Park to Bowness.

 

Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Trail through Douglas Fir above Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Trail through Douglas Fir above Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, Canada Trail through Douglas Fir above Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Trail through Douglas Fir above Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, Canada Trail through Douglas Fir above Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Trail through Douglas Fir above Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, Canada A grand view of the Stoney Trail Bridge and the Bearspaw Pumping Station along the Bow River from the trail through Douglas Fir.

 

On the ride home, a stop at the park bench near where the Bow River flood in June 2013 destroyed the link beneath the CPR bridge new rock fill, to protect the banks, allows the possibility to walk around the bottom to trail on the other side even though river levels are quite high. 

Sitting on the bench in the sun and enjoying the relaxing sound of rushing water for half an hour is occasionally interrupted by a sturdy raft, or inflatable kayak, passing by and carrying fully equipped and experienced pilots downriver.  Bow River is in spring runoff and unpredictable obstacles from last years flood make the river unsafe, and outright dangerous, for marginal craft and inexperienced crew.

 

Bowmont Natural Environment Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada 
 
 
After enjoying a thoroughly satisfying day of urban cycling and hiking in Calgary after a seemingly harsh and endless winter, the hiking season draws near.
 

Rainbow photos were taken on June 20, 2014 and the hike and bike photos to Wood's Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary and beyond were captured on June 22, 2014.

 

 

 

 

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