South Glenmore Park occupies the south side of Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The Glenmore Reservoir is the result of a dammed interruption in the Elbow River between it's source at the Rae Glacier near Highwood Pass in Kananaskis Country and the Elbow River confluence with the Bow River in central Downtown Calgary adjacent to Fort Calgary.
The north shore of the Glenmore Reservoir hosts North Glenmore Park remotely adjacent to Heritage Park Historical Village at the east end. The south shore of the Glanmore Reservoir is accessed west of 14th Street SW at the intersection of 90th Avenue SW with the north terminus of 24th Street SW. Parking is a short jog left then right from boat parking for the Glenmore Sailing School and Club and adjacent to the wheelchair accessible Variety Spray Park and playground.
Paved path heads west past park benches and a historical marker before veering right on shallow descent to good dirt path along and above shoreline offering sweeping views across the surface of the reservoir.
Good quality, straight path tracks the shoreline with forest to the left and water hosting aquatic life to the right, so within a short distance most evidence of urban features are overcome by the sights, sounds and refreshing odors of natural surroundings.
Evidence of the 2013 flood event remains as gentle breeze across the reservoir calms the demeanor and mutes the stress of urban existence. About halfway along the south shoreline an immense and immaculate evergreen forest consumes the south view from the trail as the giant battalion numbers from the slopes of Battalion Park become visible in the far northwest distance.
Into the Weaselhead Natural Area the adventure takes on a more rustic nature as trail quality declines from good, to poor, to route finding on predominantly game trail. The raw terrain virtually eliminates the reality of nearby urban saturation. All along the route, from trailhead beginning, there are optional exits to much better path a bit higher along and above the reservoir. So, the rugged trail at shoreline is completely self-imposed with the intent the loftier and better quality trail will be used for return.
Wet bog and dense brush hosting no sensibly usable trail sets the end point near the pole-mounted bird nesting platform where a short retreat provides clear path over short but aggressive elevation gain to good, gently-undulating path which continues progress west through Weaselhead Flats. This early season hike provides outstanding views of the wetlands below and features beyond. In another month (June) colorful spring foliage on trees and shrubs will block these views and create a substantially different but equally satisfying natural wilderness experience,
The good quality and nearly completely dry path ends at the intersection with the Weaselhead Horse Trail. Hiking options and opportunities from this intersection are substantial through the Weaselhead and on to North Glenmore Park but lower elevation trails are still quite damp and sketchy so the return begins on path recently traveled with the intent to take the forest route back to trail beginning. No military ordinance is discovered on this hike.
The undulating elevation on good quality dirt trail provides interesting trail features including branches to achieve access to communities and paved trail above and along the top of the valley.
One of several highlights along this short, scenic hike is the extended walk through the dense, old growth evergreen forest. The forest aroma and the cool air are intoxicating as trail quality improves again as this loftier and gently undulating route returns to the trailhead near the Variety Splash Park.
Past the end of the old growth evergreen forest, a high point in the trail provides the opportunity for brief ascent to interesting interpretive information along paved path at the demarcation line separating South Glenmore Park from Weaselhead Park at the intersection with the Elbow River Pathway.
Return to the mid-valley dirt trail below continues towards completion of the hike near the start point at the Glenmore Sailing School and Club.
The South Glenmore Trail provides an excellent half day, primarily wilderness experience hike easily accessible within Calgary. A full day alternative might combine a much longer excursion around the Glenmore Reservoir via Weaselhead Flats and North Glenmore Park after confirming passage from North Glenmore Trail to path across the reservoir along Glenmore Trail and south past Heritage Park to parking along South Glenmore Trail.
This is the final post for Spring 2017 Calgary City Parks hiking activity. Each year a few inner-city hikes get winter muscles loosened up for the hiking season in nearby mountains. When I began posting these inner city hikes, the positive response from city dwellers who perhaps cannot easily get out to the mountains convinced me to add a few new entries each year. Calgary residents are very fortunate to have outstanding inner city hiking resources as well as close proximity to some of the most incredible wilderness hiking opportunities on the planet.