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Take an Urban Hike
Experience nature in the city on Calgary's Douglas Fir Trail
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Hiking in the Rocky Mountains is great, but sometimes you just don’t have the time or desire to leave town and fit in a full day’s hike. Enter urban hiking!
Cailynn recently returned to a Calgary trail that does not disappoint: the Douglas Fir Trail. It’s the best type of urban hike (in her opinion) because you can easily access it by bike from the Bow River Pathway, when you’re on the trail you quickly forget you’re still in the city, and there’s a great lookout with expansive views (pictured above).
The Douglas Fir Trail is considered part of Edworthy Park, in the city’s southwest. It’s about 2.5 kilometres one way, if you follow the trail from the west entrance to the east entrance, though note the “bail out options” on the map below.
Cailynn biked along the Bow River Pathway and parked at the west entrance (pictured below — you’ll find bike racks and signage there). If you’re driving, you can park at Edworthy Park and walk over to this west entrance. There’s also an east entrance near Cedar Crescent SW.
The trail runs along a densely wooded escarpment and features various stairs and bridges, making for an interesting urban hike. This is nature in the city at its finest — you won’t see any roads or vehicles, though you may hear a train on the tracks below.
Note it can be muddy at certain times of the year, given the various natural springs here.
The trail’s namesake are the Douglas Fir trees, and this forest is one of the most easterly stands of these species in Canada. Some of the trees are around 500 years old! (Not sure which trees are the firs? The needles are soft and flat, not sharp and spiky like the White Spruce you’ll also find here.)
Another treat of this trail is the lookout, offering expansive views of the Bow River and surrounding city. This viewpoint is particularly lovely in the fall with all the autumn colours.
Overall, the Douglas Fir Trail offers a great urban hiking experience. Immerse yourself in nature, without leaving the city, and enjoy a rugged trail with rewarding views. Happy hiking!
⛰️🥾️ Go Outside is written by Annalise & Cailynn — writers, outdoor enthusiasts and sisters who’ve been hiking, biking and skiing near Calgary since childhood and continue to be happiest outside.
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