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Hit the Trails in Calgary


Eneey, meeny, miney, moe, with 340 kilometers of paved pathways, where do we go, as a family, in safety, and with washrooms, please, all in a row? Calgarians are blessed with one of the most extensive recreational multi-use pathway systems in North America. It is Calgary's number one recreational facility. There is something for everyone, so grab your bicycle and your walking shoes, pack a picnic and explore this wonderful facility.

There are a number of great areas to cycle or walk as a family and the following are a few suggestions for families at various stages of development.


Approximate ages: seven to nine years--just learning how to keep control of a bike.

Carburn Park Located in S.E. Calgary at the south end of the Community of Riverbend (18th Street S.E., South of Glenmore Trail). The Bow River Pathway system goes through this park. There is a paved pathway around the perimeter of the lagoon, which is a great place to practice. No hills or dips. When you get tired of cycling or walking, there is a playground on the west side of the park and trout fishing in the lagoon. During the summer, there is often an ice cream truck in the parking lot. The flush toilets are located at the entrance of the park off the parking lot.

Pearce Estate (Sam Livingstone Fish Hatchery) to Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. The round trip is approximately 4 kilometers. The Pearce Estate is located off Blackfoot Trail at the north end of 17A Street S.E. The Bird Sanctuary is located at the east end of 9th Avenue S.E. Great picnic areas at both ends of this trip and washrooms. There are bicycle stands at the Bird Sanctuary, so you can park your bikes and walk around. There is also a new Interpretive Centre. Caution: The pathway crosses 9th Avenue and carries on south, so be prepared to stop and look for any vehicles before proceeding into the Sanctuary parking lot.


Approximately 10 to 12 years--can cope with hills and more distance.

Fish Creek Provincial Park Something for everyone. For this age, try: West end of the Park: Shannon Terrace to Votier's Flats and back. Approximately 11 kilometers. Some open areas, but mostly in forest. Washrooms available at either end, near the parking lots. East end of the Park: Mallard Point through to highway 22X and back. Approximately 12 kilometers. Mostly through open field. Forested area/golf course after you cross the McKenzie Pedestrian Bridge. Washrooms available at the various entrances to this pathway beside the parking lots.


Approximately 12 to 14 years--good control and lots of energy!

A Ride on the Wild Side! Approximately 15- to 18-kilometer loop. Park in one of the two parking lots on the south side of the Calgary Zoo (12th Street S.E.). Pick up the path on the north side of the Bow River (Memorial Drive and 12th Street). Ride through the Prehistoric Park, the North American Section of the Calgary Zoo, be sure to slow down or stop to watch the bears sun themselves on the rocks. Proceed east and hook up to the Western Headworks Irrigation Canal Pathway (known as the W.I.D.), then follow the pathway over the Deerfoot and then down the hills at Max Bell Arena. Continue south under the Deerfoot, dismount and cross the road at the entrance to the Inglewood Golf Course and continue along the Canal to 50th Avenue S.E. Dismount and cross at the traffic light and pick up the Bow River pathway system again.

Go to the right onto this pathway (you'll now be heading north), passing the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, the Pearce Estate, the Weir, the Dean House and Fort Calgary. On the west side of Fort Calgary, cross the bridge onto St. Patrick's Island, go through Centenary Park out to the parking lot where you started. Mini Version of A Ride on the Wild Side!

Approximately 10-kilometer loop. Reverse the direction starting with Centenary Park, over the Bridge to Fort Calgary, then east, around the Dean House, past the Weir, the Pearce Estate and continue to 17th Avenue. Instead of proceeding through, go right and up the hill to 17th Avenue S.E. Walk your bikes along the sidewalk to the east side of the river. You will pick up the pathway on the east side of the Bow River and head north along side the Deerfoot, past the start of the Canal system, and the Nose Creek Pathway entrance, continuing west through the Zoo and Prehistoric Park. Turn left at 12th Street back into the parking lot.

  1. Obey the pathway rules, especially keeping to the right of the centre line.
  2. From personal experience, the pathways are less busy in the mornings. The crowds seem to come out after 1:00 P.M.
  3. Invest in a Pathway and Bikeway Map (cost: approximately $1.00).
  4. Treat yourself to a new book on Pathways entitled KILOMETERS OF THINGS TO DO ON CALGARY PATHWAYS. (Cost: $20, of which $10 goes to Calgary Parks and Recreation.)
  5. Call the Pathway Hotline before starting out to get the latest information on detours or closures. (268-2300, wait for voice, then press "41" for the message.)
  6. Pack a picnic, pack a smile and--most important--have fun!
Robyn is the chairman of the Calgary Pathways Advisory Council and was the editor of the PATHWAY POST for four years.

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