Looking for a way to explore the beauty of Calgary and experience tons of health benefits? Go for a walk! The city of Calgary features more than 10,000 hectares of parkland and natural areas to explore, as well as more than 1,000 kilometres of pathways to enjoy. The best walks in Calgary are bursting with greenery, wildlife, and even waterfalls—some of which are only accessible by foot!
Walking is one of the best (and easiest!) ways to access some of Calgary’s most beautiful destinations, all while bettering your mental and physical health. This weekend, ditch the hustle and bustle of the city streets and take one of the best walks in Calgary instead.
But First, What Are the Benefits of Walking in Calgary?
Here at Neurvana™ Naturopathic Medicine, we’re proud of the cutting-edge advancements we offer our patients, like QEEG brain mapping. But sometimes, some of the best health advice we share is much simpler: Just get moving!
Keeping your body active can significantly improve both your mental and physical baseline for stress, and even improve your lifespan. While walking alone can’t miraculously cure chronic aches and pains, it offers dozens of health benefits that can enhance your happiness and quality of life.
Don’t believe us? Check this out:
- A daily 30-minute walk, five days a week can lower your risk for coronary heart disease by nearly 20 percent.
- Short walks after meals can significantly improve 24-hour glycemic control and can help lower blood sugar.
- Walking 5 to 6 miles a week dramatically reduces arthritis-related pain, and can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place!
Forming a habit of walking each day can also boost overall immunity, improve energy levels, and better your mood. Not to mention, routine walking can burn calories and tone muscles, helping to keep your body in shape.
With all of us slowly working our way out of quarantine, walking is the easiest way to improve both your body and mind.
The best part? It’s free!
The Best Walks in Calgary
Now that Neurvana™ Naturopathic Medicine has relocated to a brand new clinic in the vibrant neighbourhood of Mission, we can’t stop exploring the area. Most of us are Calgary natives, but there’s something special but wandering new blocks of the city, isn’t there?
When we’re not checking out our new location, we do our best to spend time in the nature that surrounds us in the beautiful city, all while enjoying the benefits of a nice, long walk. Check out what we think are the best walks in Calgary to better your mental and physical health!
1. Fish Creek Provincial Park
Looking for a getaway that doesn’t require hopping on a plane or driving hours out of the city? Fish Creek Provincial Park is the place for you. Located in south Calgary, it offers more than 80 kilometres of pathways, 30 of which are paved and 50 of which are shale. The paths take you through constantly evolving landscapes, from grasslands to forests and even riverfront.
On a sunny day, stop and unwind by Fish Creek or Bow River. If you like to fish, the Bow is a world-class trout fishery. You can access the Bow River by boat from a boat launch located off Bow Bottom Trail South at the east end of the park, from April 1 to October 31. In the winter, some pathways are cleared of snow for easy access, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are possible.
Most day-use areas offer spots to stop and picnic, or bird watch. In fact, more than 200 bird species have been spotted at Fish Creek, including great blue herons, Swainson’s hawks, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, great horned owls, and even songbirds. There’s so much to see and do in Fish Creek, but a simple stroll is more than enough to experience its beauty. Visit from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7 days a week.
2. Bowmont Park
Though you can hang at the Bow at Fish Creek Provincial Park, get another view at Bowmont Park. Bowmont is a massive environmental park that lies along the northern bank of the Bow River in northwest Calgary. With over 164 hectares to explore, there is always something to see here.
There are a ton of reasons why Bowmont Park is one of our favourite spots and one of the best walks in Calgary, but the first is the beautiful Waterfall Valley. This shorter, 1km-long walk is ideal for children or older adults, as its pretty trail features an established walking path, stairs, and a boardwalk to view the area’s natural springs and small waterfalls. No bicycles are allowed in this protected area and all dogs must be on leashes, so Waterfall Valley is easily one of the most quiet, peaceful walks in Calgary.
Also in Bowmont Park are steep cliff faces that tell the fascinating geological history of Calgary. Layers of rich soil and sediment hold the secrets of long-melted glaciers and make for a stunning backdrop as you explore the area. There are tons of gravel trails to hike alone in the hills, creating a calming atmosphere to better your health. Bowmont Park is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
3. Douglas Fir Trail
Last but not least, one of the best walks in Calgary for more adventurous folks is the Douglas Fir Trail. With great access within the city, the Douglas Fir Trail is part of Edworthy Park, which sits in a valley along the Bow River in southwest Calgary. It’s a perfect fit for those who are wanting a more challenging walk, as the trail winds along the side of a hill and branches into narrow gravel and dirt paths.
But you know what they say, the hardest climbs come with the best views. In addition to hillside wildlife and rippling creeks, the trail features stairs and bridges that offer fantastic sights of the greenery around you. Massive Douglas-fir trees, most hundreds of years old, canopy the trail and line your walking path, some seven and one-half feet in diameter!
The Douglas Fir Trail is certainly not for the faint of heart—the trail runs along a densely wooded steep slope that some call “dead man’s drop.” However, at the highest peaks of the slope, you can see jaw-dropping views of the Bow River Valley. The trail is closed in winter and early spring to avoid extreme icy conditions, but can be accessed in warmer months during the park’s hours of 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Where’s Your Next Walk?
So, what are you waiting for? There are more than 10,000 hectares of land ready for you to explore and so many health benefits to gain. Which one of these best walks in Calgary will you adventure to first?
Looking for ways to get healthy in Calgary?
Discover the naturopathic and holistic services offered at Neurvana Health Naturopathic Clinic in Calgary and book your consult today.