Bowmont Park – Bow River Pathway

View of the Bow River from Bowmont Park
© Katalin Hall. All rights reserved.

Location

Address: Corner of Silver Springs Blvd NW and 54 Ave (Bow River Pathway), Calgary, AB T3B 3P5

Opening hours: 05:00 until 23:00 daily

Car: There is a small car park on the corner of Silver Springs Blvd NW and 54 Ave NW. Alternatively, you can usually find parking along Silver Crest Dr NW. While relatively quiet in the mornings, the car park gets busy between 3pm-5pm on weekdays and weekends.

Foot: You can access the park at any point along Silver Crest Dr NW, Silverview Dr NW, or Silverview Way NW.

For an official map of the off-leash park, see here.

Accessibility and Terrain

Difficulty level: Easy to difficult

Off-Leash: Note that only certain parts of the park (marked in grey on the map above) are off-leash. The signage for the start/end of the off-leash sections is rather confusing, but roughly speaking, the northern part of the park is off-leash (until the paved path), whereas the other side of the park that runs along the river is a nature reserve area and is not off-leash. However, there are two fenced off-leash dog areas next to the river as well, though these are rather small.

Terrain: Since this park is located on the side of a cliff, it is very hilly. The park is composed of grass, shrubs and some copses of trees. The grass in the designated off-leash sections is not cut during the summer months, so it can get up to waist-height (meaning that you can lose balls, Frisbees and occasionally dogs)

Paths: The main path (which is paved) runs from the car park all the way to Dale Hodges Park. It starts at the top of the hill and works its way down to the river. Please note that this path is a favourite for cyclists in the summer months, and the pathway can get rather busy. Also, the paved path is not part of the off-leash area, but you can walk along the path and have your dogs run in the off-leash area next to you. There are also various dirt or grass paths that criss-cross the park. These paths are not cleared during the winter; however, any new snow is usually trodden down within a day, which means that the park is always accessible (however, can be slippery if the snow has melted / refrozen).

Accessibility: One of the great things about this park is that it is accessible with a stroller or wagon all year-round, if you stick to the main, paved path. Kids who are able to ride a bike can cope with the section of the path that runs parallel to Silver Crest Dr NW (as this is quite flat), though my son (aged 3) has also cycled the hilly section that takes you down the hill towards the river (which runs more or less parallel with Silverview Dr NW) with some parental pushing assistance on the bigger hills. If you want to walk the dirt or grass paths with babies and/or small children, it is recommended to put them into a child carrier (backpack or sling) as these paths are not wide enough to cope with an off-road stroller or red wagon. During the winter months, you can consider popping your toddler into a toboggan and pulling them along behind you, but you need to commit to pulling them back up the hill (which can be a bit backbreaking in fresh snow). I have not seen any wheelchairs attempt to use this park (probably because it is quite hilly).

Amenities: There are several benches located through the park, and there are also a couple of look-out points. There are no toilets or picnic benches in this section of the park.

View of the Bow River
© Katalin Hall. All rights reserved.

Doggy Matters

Safety: The northern edge of the park runs along residential roads and there is only a simple rope fence separating the park from the road, so dogs can unwittingly wander into the road. In addition, there are signs in the park telling you to beware of coyotes (we actually saw one on the island in the middle of the river), but we have not had a ‘close encounter’.

Fetch: This is probably not the best part of the park to play fetch in, as the probably of losing the ball of Frisbee in the tall grass during the summer is very high, as is the chance that the toy bounces or flies off the edge of the cliff.

Bins: There are a few bins located around the park along the paved, main path.

Poop bags: I have not seen poop bag dispensers at this part of the park, so remember to bring your own.

Personal Feedback

We only use this park intermittently for the following reasons:

  • It is very hilly, so it is quite a workout to come walking here, even if you stick to the paved path
  • Since the dirt and the grass paths are narrow and hilly, we cannot make use of a stroller, wagon or bike to transport our son the kind of distance that we normally walk

However, this park is HUGE, so I am hoping that as our son get bigger and more capable of walking longer distances by himself, we will be able to make more use of this park in the future. There are countless paths to choose from, including a walk along the edge of the ravine, as well as walks next to the river, so there is quite a lot of variety in just one area.

Socks and Indy in the snow
© Katalin Hall. All rights reserved.

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