Nose Hill Park - Calgary - Hiking Alberta

 

Nose Hill needs time to grow on a person but eventually captures the soul.

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

To be honest, Nose Hill Natural Environment Park, in northwest Calgary, does not look like much from it's peripheries, or from a distance for that matter.  The first time setting foot on this big grassy hill, prominently rising above the City of Calgary, may quite possibly be underwhelming.  If blindfolded, and dropped by helicopter into the middle of Nose Hill, being in a Saskatchewan prairie when your sight is restored would be a valid assumption. 

Nose Hill Park is a mysterious place which gradually captures the heart over time.  The magic is in the detail.  Nose Hill deserves to be featured as an outstanding urban hiking or biking location in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  The short drive from Bowness culminates in the large parking area of the Edgemont entrance off Shaganappi Trail south of Country Hills Boulevard.  The busy parking area features a shelter, public washrooms and posted trail maps to help get started.  There are two trail entry points on either side of parking.

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The shelter and washroom facilities at the Edgemont parking area for Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Overview information at one of the formal trail entry points at Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada 

 

There are several other formal entry points to the Nose Hill Park.  Different beginning points can provide substantially different experiences.  Hiking will limit coverage in a single trip whereas riding a bicycle will be far more efficient.  This large hill has hosted human habitation for thousands of years and many significant archeological discoveries have been discovered on this land.  Nose Hill has a fascinating history and is important to first habitation and the establishment of Fort Calgary.

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Nose Hill Natural Environment Park is an inner city prairie above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Plains of fescue are accented by wildflowers and stands of trees in low lying areas in Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Many trails intersect and cross the grassland to different views and features in Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Lesser used trails through the grass lead to shelter beneath trees in Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Mounds on the ground beg for explanation in Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Many significant archeological discoveries have been made here.

 

Fields of wildflowers stretch as far as the eye can see at Nose Hill Park.  Memorial benches are placed throughout the park to remind us of dearly departed.  Many wandered this park.  Some, far too young to leave are loved and remembered by family and friends.  We are honored to be made aware of their presence.

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Large fields of wildflowers in Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The seeds of a thistle are nearly ready to blow into the breeze on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Memorial benches are conveniently scattered throughout Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose_Hill__21

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Hints of the city peek over edges of grassland punctuated by stands of trees in Nose Hill Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

There are major paved trails, many good gravel trails and old roads from previous years when cars were able to drive onto the hill.  The trail intersections provide a virtually infinite number of hiking variations and distance but today's plan will hike predominantly south and central to views over Calgary's downtown core.

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada A plethora of beautiful wildflowers on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Typical long view scenery on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Side trails lead into shady forest alcoves from more established trail on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The Calgary downtown core as seen from Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

From high points near the edges of Nose Hill, there are expansive views of Calgary which stretch for many kilometers, even on this hot and hazy day.

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada A large variety of fescue on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada A view of Calgary past the University of Calgary Campus from Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada A hazy view of Canada Olympic Park from Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ski hill height extension seems less impressive from the top of Nose Hill.

 

As the hike proceeds east along the south side of Nose Hill, more city views open up and on the turn north, there is a clear view to the Calgary International Airport which currently hosts the longest runway in Canada.

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wildflowers on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Calgary downtown core from Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Long lens, hazy view of Calgary's downtown core from Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Old road and excellent hiking path travelling north on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

There are many birds and lots of small wildlife on Nose Hill.  It is uncommon to see coyotes on the hill, where attention to detail can be very rewarding.

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Flutterby's along the trail in Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Flutterby's on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada An old transmission tower on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park above Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

On the return loop, random, less traveled path is chosen in the general direction that will return, in a large, sweeping loop to the beginning point.  Mixed in with endless visions of wildflowers are many curious features on the hill which fire the imagination.

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Alberta's provincial flower, the Wild Rose, is commonplace on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wilderness sights merge with urban development on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada A pond with surrounding marshland is tucked away in surrounding forest on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The curious hill, with path around and over, fires the imagination on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Old, broken, concrete foundation appears to more a dump site than previous construction on Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Eventually, familiar scenery suggests the route decision may have stumbled onto a moderately efficient return route on a very large loop around the top of Nose Hill.  There are fascinating features on the northeast quadrant of Nose Hill Park, which are beyond reasonable reach on this day which creates an excellent reason to return, perhaps on the bicycle for extended range.  The magic is in the detail. 

On the final stretch the hike proceeds through a depression containing old growth forest on well established, wide trail hosting adjacent picnic benches and a makeshift tipi-style shelter.  From the far side it is a short climb to the parking area a short distance past the top of the hill.  An urban cell phone tower has been my guide for much of the return hike.

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Entering a familiar alcove of trees at Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada A memorial bench and a picnic bench at my entry point to this enchanted forest at Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Well established path through the final forest on my return loop at Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada A makeshift teepee shelter in the forest at Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada A final look back to the forest from the top of the hill past this forest at Nose Hill Natural Environment Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Nose Hill Park is an excellent place to wander away a morning or afternoon without the longer drive to the mountains.  This natural park is a popular place for people to bring their dogs for exercise.  There are several off leash areas.  Most people are practicing thoughtful etiquette and due diligence.

The city currently has an initiative underway to formalize the trail structure on Nose Hill.  Whatever they do will upset someone.  No doubt, new off trail travel should be discouraged but, in my experience, some of the less traveled path is the most naturally intimate and interesting.  There are different kinds of people.  Some people need or prefer paved path.  Others, not so much.  If the path is sufficiently worn to suggest frequent use, logic might suggest it is a good idea to leave it alone.  From a hiking perspective, more options are good.

Photographs for this hike at Nose Hill Park in northwest Calgary, Alberta, Canada are captured on August 3, 2014.

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Tags: 

Comments

Are you still doing the hikes up the hill? I am trying to find a couple of sites - one being the 'Hawkwood Site' - archeological site but not sure where it is exactly - also want to ask you a few more questions. Please email when you have some time - happy hiking!! Connie B.

I try to get on the hill a couple of times each year to enjoy the views over the city and the fresh air.  I have no knowledge of specific archeological sites.  My focus is on a bit of pure, unblemished relaxation.  There must be groups who delve into the historical depth of the hill and I am sure it is fascinating, just not my thing.  Wish I could provide more specific information.  Good luck on your quest.  Take care.  Wishing you well on your quest.  Perhaps another reader can be more helpful.  Glenbow?

Add new comment