The Best Hikes Near Calgary: Scenic Views, Family-Friendly Trails, and Short Adventures

June 5, 2024

he Best Hikes Near Calgary: Scenic Views, Family-Friendly Trails, and Short Adventures

Hey Earthlings!

In case you didn’t know, our family and Earthing team are based in and around Calgary, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. A gateway to some of the most breathtaking places in Alberta (and, dare we say, Canada!), we are grateful for our proximity to the great outdoors.

One of our favourite ways to get in nature is hiking; lucky for us, there’s no shortage of treks around us! Whether you’re after stunning views, a fun family outing or a quick escape outside, there’s a trail for everyone.

Here, we put together a guide for the best hikes near Calgary so you can find your perfect adventure. Oh, and all of these spots are dog-friendly, just make sure your furrever friend is on a leash. 🙂

Best Family Friendly and Beginner Hikes Near Calgary

In need of a hike that’s nice for little ones and beginners? Check out these easier yet exciting trails.

Heart Creek Trail

Stationed near Canmore, Heart Creek Trail offers a delightful and accessible 4-kilometre round-trip hike. As you follow alongside the charming Heart Creek winding through a narrow canyon, you’ll stumble upon some small waterfalls.

The terrain is relatively flat and well-maintained, appropriate for hikers of all skill levels. With minimal elevation gain, it’s a comfortable stroll through a visually striking landscape of limestone cliffs and boulders.

Grassi Lakes

Just a short drive southwest of Canmore, Grassi Lakes boasts bright turquoise lakes that are easy on the eyes. With a distance of 4 kilometres round trip and an elevation gain of 250 metres, this trail has options for families and those seeking more of a challenge.

Choose between the easier route, which is gradual and suitable for families with children, or the more difficult one with better views of the waterfall. Either way, you can hike, rock-climb and picnic amidst the vibrant colours of the water and lush surroundings.

Troll Falls

For a magical adventure for the whole family, visit Troll Falls in Kananaskis Country, near the Nakiska Ski Area. This 3.4-kilometer round-trip hike is terrific for young children, providing a gentle walk through lush forests and along Marmot Creek to a scenic waterfall.

With minimal elevation gain and well-marked trails, Troll Falls is a favourite among families who want a fun yet easy outdoor affair. You can picnic at the Stoney Trail Day Use Area before or after your hike, and don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the falls and surrounding scenery!

Best Scenic Hikes Near Calgary

Insta-worthy views for days!

Ha Ling Peak

Ha Ling Peak is a must-see if you’re craving sweeping vistas and are up for a bit of a challenge. Located southwest of Canmore, this popular mountain peak offers a panoramic snapshot of Canmore and the Bow Valley. You can start your journey at the Goat Creek Day Use Area, just off the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Trail. The round trip spans approximately 7.2 kilometres, with an elevation gain of 800 metres.

As you ascend, you’ll pass through forested areas before reaching the tree line, where the trail transforms into a rocky ridge leading to the summit. While the final ascent may be steep, rest assured the unforgettable scenery makes every step worthwhile. Along the way, keep an eye out for all the cool plants and creatures, adding to the trail’s natural charm!

Lake Agnes Tea House Trail

If you’re looking for a picturesque hike, look no further than the Lake Agnes Tea House Trail. Starting at the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, this moderate 7-kilometre round trip trail leads you to the enchanting Lake Agnes Tea House, nestled amidst towering peaks. Along the way, delight in the Mirror Lake waterfall, flora, and fauna.

Upon reaching the historic tea house, you’ll be treated to a cozy atmosphere and incredible vantage points of Lake Agnes. Indulge in teas, coffees, and treats while soaking in the serene vibes.

Jewell Pass

For a longer, more varied hike, explore the Jewell Pass loop. Situated in Kananaskis, this 15.9-kilometre trail offers a diverse environment, ranging from tree-covered walkways to alluring viewpoints overlooking Barrier Lake. With an elevation gain of 823 metres, the route can be done clockwise or counterclockwise, each offering a unique experience.

Best Short Hikes Near Calgary

When you’re itching for a quick outing, these short hikes offer rewards that exceed their distance.

Grotto Canyon

East of Canmore, Grotto Canyon is a gem waiting for you to explore! This 4.2-kilometre round-trip hike has it all: unique rock formations, ancient pictographs, and a peaceful creek, making it a pleasant excursion for hikers of all ages and skill levels.

Following the narrow limestone canyon carved by the creek, you’ll encounter smooth rock faces, seasonal waterfalls, and fascinating geological features. With minimal elevation gain and well-marked trails, this is a solid choice for a short, worthwhile hike.

Barrier Lake Lookout

For jaw-dropping sights without the jaunt, head to Barrier Lake Lookout in Kananaskis Country. This 6-kilometre round-trip hike offers a moderate incline leading to vast scenes of Barrier Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Located in Bow Valley Provincial Park, this hike features a mix of steep inclines, forested sections, and open ridgelines, providing an exciting escapade. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife!

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

If your heart desires a leisurely hike amidst quaint waterfalls and lush vegetation, Big Hill Springs Provincial Park is the answer. Just a short drive northwest of Calgary, this park offers a 2.3-kilometre loop trail that’s great for families and beginners.

Hike To It

Hiking is such a fantastic way to connect with nature and experience the beauty of our planet, so we hope you and your fam get lots of hikes in this summer if that’s your thing. Make sure to wear comfy shoes, bring plenty of water, snacks, and sun protection, and check the trail conditions before heading out, as there could be closures or maintenance. Lastly, always respect the wildlife and leave no trace to preserve these natural wonders for future generations.

Happy hiking!