Grab your bike and jump on the LRT for linear rides that let you connect the city in new ways. Bikes are allowed on the trains at any time and there are so many cool destinations to ride to in Calgary, let’s hit the trails!
Fish Creek Park to the East Village
Big nature, birdlife, vistas, neighborhood gardens, colorful homes, natural water parks, public art, ice cream and coffee
Disembark from the train and cycle the pathway along Shawnee Drive to Shawnee Rise into Fish Creek Park. Cycle on the paved Fish Creek Pathway east under McLeod Trail to Bow Valley Ranch, where Annie’s Café might be calling your name with a pre-ride treat or lunch.
At this point you can decide if you’d like to continue along the flat Fish Creek Park pathway east to Mallard Point, or cross to the south side of the Bow River and climb to the McKenzie and Douglasdale escarpment, where the regional paved path offers up the perfect pelican viewing spot. The birds can be seen on the Bow River in this area in the spring and summer so keep an eye peeled.
Far-reaching views over Fish Creek Park and beyond to the Rockies continue until your descent into Mallard Point at the far east end of Fish Creek Park. The park offers birds places to feed, nest, and raise young, but is also a resting spot for spring and fall migrants, as well as many year-round residents. Over 200 species of birds have been identified in the park, from hummingbirds to owls, and swans, gulls, and eagles. The Bow River pathway continues along both sides of the river.
If you want an extra hill climb, take the west side path from Mallard Point and continue to Sue Higgins Off- Leash Park where you can cross back over the Bow River or continue straight. If you choose to cycle the flatter and quieter east side of the river, then continue north on the Bow River Pathway past Quarry Park and Carburn Park before you decide whether to climb to Lynnwood and soak up big views of the Rockies, the river and the downtown or cross to the west side of the Bow River via the Glenmore Trail overpass to the flat west side Bow River Pathway and watch for birdlife on the Bow (more pelicans!).
Continue north past the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Pearce Estate Park and Harvey Passage, the white-water park on the Bow. Take a dip and watch the kayakers perfecting their surfing skills before pedaling through Inglewood, past colorful homes, folk art, little free libraries, and fruit trees, as well as lots of cafes, craft breweries and tasty pit stops. Pathway pedaling picks up again and continues along the RiverWalk where playgrounds, people watching, St Patrick’s Island’s Trout Beach and lunch at the Simmons building are highly recommended before riding into the East Village. Watch for art and murals that are tucked into roundabouts and alleys. Park your bike at the library and borrow some books before jumping on the train and riding the rails to your starting point.
Starting Point: Fish Creek Lacombe Station
End Point: Central Library Station
Distance: 21 km
Destinations: Annie’s Café in Fish Creek Park, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Harvey Passage, ice cream or craft beer in Inglewood, lunch at Sidewalk Citizen Bakery in the Simmons building along the River Walk, picnic, playground and a natural water park on St Patrick’s Island, and the Bounce Games Park and the gorgeous Central Library.
Facilities: Bathrooms at Fish Creek Park trailheads, Annie’s Café, the Bow Valley Ranch Visitor Centre, Carburn Park, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Pearce Estate Park, St Patrick’s Island, and the Central Library
Dalhousie & Silver Springs Botanical Gardens to Stampede Park
Gardens, wetlands, neighborhoods, cycle tracks, ice cream, coffee, and pathways
Ride or take the train to Dalhousie Station, then grab a coffee or some snacks at Euphoria Café before deciding on your first destination. You have a choice between a shorter paved pathway start following the Varsity Ravine Pathway, or the longer ride to the Botanical Gardens. The shorter ride leaves the Varsity Ravines Pathway and continues south to 52 Street past Batman’s lair (watch for it!), followed by the Bow River Pathway past Shouldice Park or the Bowness Road cycle track that leads you east past Abby’s Creations and Fringe Coffee, and continues all the way to Edworthy Park.
The longer Botanical Gardens ride heads west from the Dalhousie LRT along Varsity Estates Drive to Silver Springs Gate where you cross into the Botanical Gardens. Hop off your bike to explore the gardens in all their colorful glory. Specialty gardens include a theme garden as a tribute to Shakespeare and his writing, a low-H2O garden featuring plants that require little water, and Canada’s largest labyrinth that is a swirl of flowering wild thyme in the springtime. Circle inward among the masses of delicate, star-like flowers offering up spicy and therapeutic scents. Over one hundred species of roses bloom in the summer in the rose garden and a rock and crevice alpine garden hosts the hardy plants that survive harsh climates and short summers. And be sure to visit there in August when the cheery sunflowers are in their towering golden glory.
At the north end of the gardens, follow Silver Springs Road to the paved ravine pathway that descends to the Bowmont Park wetlands and the Bow River Pathway. Continue across the two pedestrian bridges to Bowness on the south side of the Bow River and immediately cycle under the train tracks to connect to Bow Crescent, a pleasant riding street where you can check out gardens and homes along the river. At the end of Bow Crescent, cross the Bow River on the Hextall pedestrian bridge and choose between the Bowness Road cycle track or the Bow River Pathway; both lead you to Edworthy Park.
Both short and long rides continue east on either side of the Bow River Pathway. When choosing which side to ride, consider that the north side is busier and offers up stops like Lazy Loaf & Kettle and LICS Ice Cream Shop at Parkdale Crescent while the south side is wilder with fewer people and more nature. Continue eastward past the Peace Bridge to the East Village, where the Elbow River meets the Bow River at Fort Calgary. This place of confluence is where the sharing of ideas and opportunities naturally come together and the Indigenous peoples have their own names for this area that have been in use long before Scottish settlers named this place Calgary. The Métis call the Calgary area Otos-kwunee. In the Blackfoot language, they call this place, Moh-kins-tsis. The Stoney Nakoda Nation refer to the Calgary area as Wîchîspa Oyade and the people of the Tsuut’ina nation call this area Guts-ists-i. At this confluence, follow the Elbow River Pathway south all the way to Stampede Park where you can park your bike at the bike corral lock up during Stampede, give a big YAHOO! and join the fun in early July, or jump on the Erlton train and ride back to your starting point.
Starting Point: Dalhousie Station
End Point: Erlton Station
Distance: 18 km
Destinations: Silver Springs Botanical Gardens, Abby’s Creations and Fringe Coffee along Bowness Road cycle track, Shouldice and Edworthy Park playgrounds and picnic spots, The Peace Bridge, Sweet Tooth Ice Cream in Chinatown, Simmons building for lunch, Stampede Park festivities during Stampede in July.
Facilities: Bathrooms in the Botanical Gardens, Edworthy Park, cafes along the route and at Stampede Park.
Lori is the author of Calgary’s Best Bike Rides: 50 urban cycle tours and pathway pedals and the best-selling guidebook Calgary’s Best Walks: 45 urban jaunts and nature strolls. She is the owner of Fit Frog Adventures where she leads walks, hikes, and snowshoe days. Lori partners with the Calgary Library to offer free guided urban walks every month. Connect with her, see upcoming events, and get signed copies of her books on Instagram @lorifitfrog and at fitfrog.ca and at bookstores and cool shops throughout Calgary.
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