The Most Beautiful Parks in Calgary, Alberta

Calgary's parks and green spaces offer an urban connection to nature
Calgary's parks and green spaces offer an urban connection to nature | © Rosanne Tackaberry / Alamy Stock Photo
Calgary triumphs for its outdoor activities, open blue skies and snow-capped mountains. But for those who prefer to hang out city-side, it’s also home to parks and green spaces, offering visitors an alternative nature fix. Some feature folk festivals, others are a refuge for coyotes, while some even give way to small beaches. Culture Trip gets the Calgarian scoop from local insiders.

Nose Hill Park

Park
Calgary Skyline from Nose Hill Park
© Nicholas Lepine / Alamy Stock Photo

Featuring 11sqkm (4sqmi) of native grasslands, Nose Hill Park is Calgary’s biggest park. It might be surrounded by residential neighborhoods, but the overall effect of the wild moors is one of rugged remoteness. Visitors are asked, kindly (this is Canada, after all), to stay off the grasslands as they’re a threatened ecosystem, but hikers and cyclists are still privy to panoramic views of downtown Calgary in the distance. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a crafty coyote or two – probably up to no good. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Prince's Island Park

Park

Located on a tiny island in the Bow River, directly north of the city center, Prince Island’s Park is where Calgary hosts its Folk Festival every year, with knee-slapping concerts alongside food and drinks. This urban park is a local favorite, thanks to its easy access to the city over the scenic Bow River Pathway. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Fish Creek Provincial Park

Park, Natural Feature
A bike path winding over a bridge in Fish Creek Provincial Park  Calgary Alberta Canada allows urban commuters a scenic route for work or play in the
© Ramon Cliff / Alamy Stock Photo

It’s the second largest urban park in all of Canada. Located in the south of the city, the park borders the Tsuu T’ina (Sarcee) First Nation. The ecosystem is made up of dense spruce and aspen forests, a natural habitat for songbirds, wood warblers, towhees and finches. Eager bird-watchers can also glimpse rare sights of the great blue heron and the American white pelican. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Weaselhead Flats

Park, Natural Feature

Go off the west end of Glenmore Reservoir (where Calgary gets its drinking water) and you’ll find the city’s only delta and wild preserve, which is connected to trails that lead hikers up and around the reservoir. During the summer, the area is filled with people fishing, sailing, canoeing and kayaking. It has the largest strands of coniferous forest in the region, and is hands down a hotspot for North American wildlife. No weasels, though. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Bowness Park

Park
Family skating on a frozen lake
© Natrow Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Bowness Park is a serene idyllic green space off Bow River, replete with a lagoon, paddling pool and picnic spots. A fun and often overlooked feature of Bowness Park is that during the winter months the lagoon freezes over – providing visitors with a rock-hard natural ice rink. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Sandy Beach

Natural Feature

If you didn’t think Calgary had any beaches, think again. Sandy beach is a popular park on the Elbow River in Calgary. The park trails lead to a sandy, secluded cove where visitors can swim (if you have nerves of steel, that is, as it gets a bit nippy), have picnics and go rafting. The water is usually crystal-clear in the summer, with smooth pebbles that act as stepping stones underfoot. Pack a few blow-up boats when you go, as locals love a good race. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Glenmore Reservoir

Natural Feature
Boats on the Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary Alberta Canada
© Michael Mckinney / Alamy Stock Photo

Calgary’s reservoir is an artificial pool of water on the Elbow River – and the main source of Calgary’s drinking water. The area is popular with locals, with cycling and walking trails dotted all around the lake. There’s a rowing and sailing club if you’re up for a bit of exercise. And the reservoir is right next to Heritage Park, a live interactive museum with a Wild West-inspired village with costumed actors and vintage props. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

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Eagle Lake

Natural Feature

This one’s off the beaten track – and off the map. You’ll have a hard time researching this lake online, as there is relatively little to read up about it before you go. But doesn’t that make it all the more intriguing? While locals in the know come here for fishing burbot, northern pike, walleye and yellow perch, it’s often overlooked by visitors. It’s only a 40-minute drive from downtown Calgary, so it makes for a great day out. Just pack a sweater or two: the open moorlands can get a tad windy. Recommended by local insider Yamila

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Edworthy Park

Park
A man is sitting on Bench in Edworthy Park with two bikes beside him along Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
© Astrid Hinderks / Alamy Stock Photo

Located on the banks of the Bow River, Edworthy Park is a big park with a lot to offer. There are picnic tables, gazebos and other amenities for comfortable outdoor leisure. And there are more untamed bits of wilderness, such as the Douglas Fir Trail, where some of the trees are more than 500 years old. Edworthy Park also includes the Lawrey Gardens, a kind of natural garden where many pretty wildflowers take root, from polka-dotted, round-leaved orchids to bright white, small wood anemones and vibrant purple milk vetches. Recommended by local insider Yamila

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Sue Higgins Park

Park

Situated along the west bank of the Bow River, located in the southeastern corner of Calgary, this park spans roughly 153 acres (62ha). All that space makes it popular among dog walkers – and there’s also a large fenced-in area to let the pooches roam off-leash. But it’s a great place to hike, whether you’ve got two legs or four, and enjoy nature near the river. Recommended by local insider Yamila

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