Tom Campbell's Hill is near the Calgary Zoo in Bridgeland, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Despite a modest total area of 18 hectares (44.5 acres), Tom Campbell's Hill is a worthy place to stretch the legs surrounded by the sights and sounds of the City of Calgary skyline and the Calgary Stampede grounds to the north, with the Calgary Zoo and Telus Spark Science Centre to the south.
Parking from the 12th Street bridge over Memorial Drive is acquired by winding north and east along St. Georges Drive NE at the base of Tom Campell's Hill past the Telus Spark Science Centre. Access west from Deerfoot Trail or downtown is fairly straight forward. Take the Zoo exit. An alternate and potentially more sensible solution to avoid downtown traffic is to approach via the Zoo C Train Station.
A small parking area is available at a tiny playground on the south side of St. Georges Drive, NE a short distance west of pay parking at Telus Spark. Trail here begins on the other side of St. Georges Drive and leads past a wetland to a left turn under and past hydro towers to easy, or short, steep access, onto the flat top of Tom Campbell's Hill.
The entire flat top of Tom Campbells Hill is visible from nearly any position. Interesting features include an assortment of very large boulders scattered about, any or all of which may be a glacial erratic deposited by receding glaciers many thousands of years ago. Today they are photogenic objects useful for establishing scale and distance.
An impromptu and arbitrary decision leads to hiking the circular perimeter of the hill in a clockwise direction leading past the stone and granite pillars at the east entrance from Bridgeland. Within a short distance sweeping up-close and impressive views of the Calgary City skyline consume the view. On gravel trail past the lumpy patch of ground, several trail alternatives track around the top surface and slopes of the hill towards the arch at the west top boundary. In the spring, the hill will be green and alive with wildflowers.
Paved bike path around the top of the hill leads past a circular array of shrubbery and stone benches to an elaborate circular stone and granite structure hosting interpretive information about the nature of this location with its interesting and diverse historical place within Calgary's rich history.
Tom Campbells Hill has served a wide variety of useful purposes including escape from relentless development. There are spectacular views west across the city to the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains in the distance.
The Calgary Zoo is well camouflaged by features and forest in its southeast location occupying the north shore of the Bow River along with new and impressive features occupying downtown access via St. George's Island. Substantial new infrastructure along the Bow River is courtesy of the June 2013 major flood event. Definitely worth a look.
The scenic, circular loop continues around the top of Tom Campbells Hill and passes above outstanding views to the east over the perpetually busy Telus Spark Science Centre surrounded by huge paid parking areas and a phenomenal playground which apparently adults are not encouraged to use.
Tom Campbells Hill is an interesting and easily accessible place to hike for early season conditioning as well as being perfectly situated as an addition to other planned activities in this popular urban area.