River Park

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

Location

Address: 14a St SW, Calgary, AB, T2T 3W5

Opening hours: 05:00 until 23:00 daily

Getting here: You can access the off-leash section of the park at any point along 14a St SW (free parking along both sides of the street). Alternatively, you can park at the dedicated car park on the corner of 14a St SW and 50 Ave SW (however, parking spaces are limited). While there is parking behind the car park, please note that there are access limitations in place during school pick-up and drop-off times, due to the park’s proximity to Emily Follensbee School. Also, the car park gets very busy in the afternoons between 3pm-5pm.

For a detailed map of the off-leash area, see here.

Accessibility and Terrain

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

Terrain: The park is composed of grass, with a few shrubs and trees. The first two-third of the park is flat, with the remaining third being slightly hilly, with the incline varying from easy to moderate. If you are looking for a calm stroll, rather than a hike, this is a good place to come.

Paths: There is a gravel path that runs through the middle of the park, with a few off-shoots that take you along the western edge of the park (next to the fence that runs along the top of the ravine). The paths are not cleared during the winter; however, due to the large number of dog walkers who use the park, any new snow is usually trodden down within a day, which means that the park is always accessible.

Accessibility: Due to the relatively flat terrain, this is a very accessible park all-year round for wheelchair users and families with small children. A stroller can easily cope with the path, though in 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. In the summer months, my son cycles his bike along the gravel path.

Amenities: In addition to groups of benches spaced at intervals along the main path through the park, there is also a port-a-potty at the southern end of the park (by the car park on 50 Ave SW).

Safety: The eastern side of the dog park runs next to 14a St SW, and there is no barrier or fence separating the park from the road. While 14a St SW is a relatively quiet road, cars do go past and many dog-walkers choose to park here. Therefore, if you dog has a tendency to wander off, it is best to stick to the other side of the park. In addition, as mentioned above, the western side of the dog park ends in a steep cliff, though there is a fence that runs the length of the park.

Doggy Matters

Fetch: Thanks to the easy grade of the terrain, this is great place to bring your dog to play fetch! Just be careful not to launch your dog’s favourite toy over the fence and down the ravine!

Bins: There are several bins located at intervals along the main path through the park.

Poop bags: There are several well-stocked back-up poop bag dispensers throughout the park, so if you forgot yours at home, or accidentally ran out, then you do not need to worry!

Newsletter: If you live in the local area, or visit the park often, it is worth checking out the Friends of River Park Society, which is a volunteer organisation that helps maintain the off-leash area (which includes filling up the poop bag dispensers and organising a park clean-up). They also produce a monthly newsletter.

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

Personal Feedback

This is probably our second favourite park (after Edworthy Off-Leash Park) because it is a great place to throw the ball for Indy (our ball-obsessed dog) and it is a nice, flat alternative to the more hilly parks. While not as big as some of the other parks, you still get a decent length walk (and you can easily extend it by going down the hill to the river, though this part is not off-leash).

Not only is this a popular park (meaning lots of doggy interaction and socialisation), but everyone who we have met at this park has generally well-behaved dogs and friendly humans. Like Edworthy Off-Leash Park, since it is exclusively an off-leash park, apart from the occasional lone runner or cyclist, the park is pretty much only used by dog walkers, so you can have a super relaxed off-leash walk without needing to worry about herding your dog away from runners or cyclists.

Cherry tree in bloom
© Katalin Hall. All rights reserved.

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