Waterfall Valley is a coulee south of Silver Springs in the Bow River Valley, NW Calgary, Alberta.
Waterfall Valley, also known as Silver Springs Coulee, is a short, easy, urban hike in northwest Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Parking is available near 54th Avenue NW at the south end of Silver Springs Boulevard. The Waterfall Valley Trail-head can be accessed by bicycle or foot via the Bow River Pathway on the north side of the Bow River. The City of Calgary Pathway Map is an excellent resource.
At the Waterfall Valley Trail-head there is an excellent vista to the south across Bow Valley, Bow River and Bowness to Calgary Olympic Park on Paskapoo Slopes.
The civilized descent to the Bow River proceeds on wooden stairs and boardwalk through new, aromatic Spring growth on trees and shrubbery. Fresh green grass is making its appearance. Soon the small valley will explode into maturing new foliage for the 2015 summer and fall seasons.
Interesting interpretive plaques at the trail-head and along the boardwalk explain the unique nature of the valley and its history. Tufa monuments, formed over hundreds of decades, stand sentinel on the approach to the colorful springs. Early season spring water is running more heavily and the termination of the short, scenic trail provides excellent views of the fast-flowing, emerald water at the Bow River.
The viewpoint at the Bow River provides excellent views of spring water nourishing new growth of tufa and plant life, prior to the short journey to join the mighty Bow River. Flowing water masks urban interruption to create a peaceful, natural oasis within city confines. Best experience is achieved at less busy times of the day and week.
The return to the top can be achieved more aggressively via sketchy trail from the viewpoint to the top of the westerly bluff but most use the reverse direction on the boardwalk.
Spring water is flowing from the base of the large tufa formations. Later in the year it will likely become dry. Small trails lead over the top of the tiny, colorful waterfalls and a variety of paths intersect for further exploration or return via steeper trail to the Bow River Pathway.
The return to the top via the boardwalk is the easiest option. There are small steps along the boardwalk that can be overlooked by focus on surrounding beauty.
Spring in Calgary has become a favorite season. Everything is fresh, vibrantly colorful and shiny. Aromas from flowering trees and shrubs are potent and sensory. Spring flowers are prolific and the breeze makes waves in new green grass growth. The season announces a prophecy of better things to come. It feels good.
The view across the valley of Canada Olympic Park is a fitting conclusion to a short, easy and beautiful hike in one of Calgary's vast assortment of coulees. The Bow River Pathway stretches for miles along and above the Bow River throughout the City of Calgary.
More than 500 KM (313 miles) of paved pathways provide a variety of wonderful cycling experiences and are particularly interesting at the present time as flood recovery continues. Funding is underway for the new pathway which will connect Calgary with Cochrane. It is also a portion of the TransCanada Trail.