Address: 5050 Spruce Dr SW, Calgary, AB T3C 3B2
Opening hours: 05:00 until 23:00 daily (the main gate is locked outside of these times)
Car: The car park is located south side of the river (next to the train tracks), at Bow River Pathway, Calgary, AB T3C 3B2. This car park is accessed from Spruce Drive via a steep, windy and at times quite narrow road that takes you down to the river. Especially in the summer, you need to navigate around cyclists and people (and dogs) on foot.
Foot: There are several access points to the park via foot: (i) you can access the off-leash section of the park by coming down the big hill on the north-east side of the off-leash park; (ii) you can access the park via the Douglas Fir Trail, or (iii) you can walk down the ravine road that starts at the Woodcliff United Church.
Accessibility and Terrain
Difficulty level: Easy
Terrain: mostly flat with grass and some copses of trees.
Paths: There are four main walks in this part of the park.
The first one is accessed from the bottom left corner of the car park and runs more or less parallel to the train tracks. This path takes you through a small meadow with picnic tables (past Picnic Site 1) and then into a forested bit that (I have been told) you can follow all the way to WinSport (however, I have not personally tested this out). This path is grass/dirt.
The second path is known as the Christmas Tree Trail and is accessed by crossing the train tracks and turning left, walking past Picnic Site 9, where you enter a forested section where the path is lined with pine trees (the path is dirt). This path more or less follows the path of the river, and you eventually end up joining up with the train tracks (at which point you can turn around, or cross the train tracks and continue West until you get to WinSport).
The fourth path (also confusingly called the Bow River Pathway) is the one that takes you across the train tracks from the car park, and you follow it straight ahead until you reach the bridge the crosses the river and takes into the north section of the park. I have also seen people swimming their dogs on a small section of beach next to the bridge, as the water is quite shallow and not too fast.
Accessibility: The paths are relatively flat, so babies and young children can be transported in an off-road stroller or red wagon. Alternatively, the paths are can be accessed by bike. During the winter months, I can highly recommend popping your toddler into a toboggan and pulling them along behind you – this not only makes the walk more interactive for them, but my son also enjoys sliding down the small hills by himself. I have not seen any wheelchairs attempt to use this park.
Amenities: This is a very family-orientated park, with lots of picnic benches and BBQ stations. There are also several playgrounds where kids can run around, and seasonal toilet (closed during the winter months).
Safety: The paths that run next to the train line have no fence or barrier separating them from the tracks. So if your dog is scared of loud noises with a tendency to bolt off at the sound of an approaching train, then ensure that your dog is securely leashed if you choose to use this part of the park.
Bins: There are bins at the car park and near the picnic areas and playgrounds.
Poop bags: There are no poop bag dispensers in this park, so remember to bring your own.
If you want to combine an on-leash walk with some playground or picnic time for your kids, then this is a great park to come to, especially in the summer. In addition, you have a variety of paths to choose from, depending on the length of walk you want to do.
Copyright © 2020 Katalin Hall. All rights reserved.