Weaselhead Flats - Calgary - Hiking Alberta

 

Weaselhead Flats reside at the confluence of the Elbow River with Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Weaslehead Flats, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The headwaters for the Elbow River begin at Elbow Lake, fed by the Rae Glacier, in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  The river wiggles its way east from the Rocky Mountains to merge with the Bow River in Calgary with one significant interruption. 

In 1929 the City of Calgary gained public approval to construct the Glenmore Dam creating the Glenmore Reservoir which provides a reliable, urban water supply.  The bonus has been peripheral development of popular recreation areas in North and South Glenmore Park hosting Heritage Village, the Calgary Canoe Club, the Calgary Rowing Club and boat rentals at the Glenmore Sailing School

Where the Elbow River enters the Glenmore Reservoir, a wide river delta known as Weaselhead Flats, is a popular urban, wilderness recreation area, with a fascinating history, in Weaselhead Natural Environment Park which separates the west end of North and South Glenmore Park

There is a civilized, paved path from Weaselhead parking at 37th Street SW and Lakeview Drive but the choice is to don hiking crampons and drop off the edge of the bluff on muddy, then icy, trail.

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The labyrinth of wilderness path leads to the main paved trail, then abruptly to the footbridge over the Elbow River.  An occasional cyclist joins the mix of hikers and strollers on this predominantly sunny and comfortably cool day.  Cliff swallows have constructed their mud nests on the sheltered areas beneath the bridge platform.  This is a very popular and prolific area for bird watching.

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Bird dwellings beneath the bridge over the Elbow River delta at Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead_ 015 Weaselhead_ 016

 

Major trail junctions branch to more primitive wilderness areas on interpretive trails.  Many formal trail options are intersected by paths into forest. 

Shortly after crossing the main bridge there is a right turn to a series of interpretive trails beyond a lesser bridge over a canal feeding one of the main channels of the Elbow River.  The hike proceeds along a variation of the 4.1 KM (2⅝ mile) Oxbow Trail which provides close proximity to the major river channel.

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Link to the Oxbow Trail in Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The picturesque Oxbow Trail bridge over the canal at Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The flat river delta is vulnerable to the shifting water levels which provide a robust growth environment for the dense and widely varied collection of plant and forest specimens.  Weaselhead Flats is the home to multiple avian and animal species. 

Interpretive plaques, displayed in attractive stone pillars, inform visitors about the rich history of the indigenous people who originally settled the area.  In the Blackfoot language the area was called 'moll-inistsi-in-aka-apewis' or 'Elbow Many Houses' to reflect multiple and changing river courses over and through the flat river plain. 

Further along, another interpretive plaque beside a trench informs of the period beginning 1903 when the Tsuu T'ina Nation leased this portion of their land to the Canadian Military for military exercises.  Sarcee Camp became an important summer military training facility which remained in operation from 1920 to 1945.  There remains an ongoing initiative to locate and report un-exploded munitions.  Many trenches and foxholes punctuate the landscape as evidence of past military exercises.

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada A trench next to the interpretive plaque at Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Significant evidence remains of damage inflicted by the June 2013 flood event.  Displaced bridge decks and accumulations of debris require an impromptu shortcut to find better established trail for the return loop.

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Flood damage on the Oxbow Trail in Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Flood debris along the Oxbow Trail in Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

On the final stretch along the canal, a series of wooden boardwalks provide protection from most of the mud on the sun exposed route.  After re-crossing the main bridge over the Elbow River, a walk on ice beside the main paved trail leads to the top of the bluff. 

There is a convenient bench near the top to remove the hiking crampons from hiking boots.  At the top, on the approach to the parking area, there are grand views into the valley from the Glenmore Pathway.

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Weaselhead Flats, Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Weaselhead Flats provide a major benefit as a wilderness area of this dimension within an urban environment.  There are huge spring, summer, and fall opportunities for inner-city cycle journeys through a wide variety of terrain.  A significant snowfall could make snowshoeing a possibility.

 

Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, Glenmore Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

There are many access points which are clearly documented for North and South Glenmore Parks and the Weaselhead Natural Environment Park on the City of Calgary's website.  There is good parking for access to the west end of North Glenmore Park and Weaselhead Park at the bottom of 37th Street SW south of Glenmore Trail.  Another longer access to Weaselhead Flats could be made from 90th Avenue SW near the Glenmore Sailing Club.

There is no documentation supporting the source of the name 'Weaselhead' but speculation suggests the orifin may have been the name of an ancient Native Chief.

Photographs for this hike into Weaselhead Flats, at the west end of Glenmore Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, were captured on February, 17, 2015.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

I'm glad you are out again Barry, doing your thing on the trails.

Thank you, Ruthie.

It is a catchy name. The wilderness area is inner-city and easy to access. Thanks for your comment, Helen. It appears the comment issue may finally be resolved. Later this year I will be examining the possibility of using a local server and finding an alternative to the WordPress platform. I have had about all the fun I can stand in the current environment. Always enjoying your posts from Australia. Take care.

I love the name 'Weaselhead Flats'. It goes with the wintry trail. When I spotted the birds nests, I at 1st thought they were giant nests of our mud nest building hornets. I'm forever knocking them down.

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