6 hiking trails with the best views within an hour of Calgary

Mar 24 2022, 8:15 pm

The original version of this article was written for Daily Hive by Tammy Bogdane

It’s that time of year again! Get off your couch and into nature to nurture your soul.

Calgary is an amazing place to live because it has so much to offer its residents, but one of the best things about the city is how easy it is to get out of town and straight to natural beauty.

There are endless hiking trails around Calgary, and just an hour’s drive can get you to a multitude of them. Each trail offers exceptionally unique views with routes that range from easy to hard skill levels.

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from Albertaparks.ca and AdventureSmart. Parks Canada visitor guidelines are available here. Always remember to leave no trace, pack out what you pack in, stick to designated trails, and refrain from feeding wildlife — and please note that irresponsibly taken selfies (even if they look great for the ‘gram) can be fatal. 

Check out our list of spots within an hour of the city to get your hiking season started.

Wind Ridge Trail


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The summit of this trail is low enough to the ground that it is still covered in grass, and it offers plenty of bridges to cross, foliage to see, and mountain peaks to take in along the way.

Difficulty: Hard
Location: The Wind Ridge trailhead is located just south of Dead Man’s Flats, Alberta, on George Biggy Sr. Road (96 km/one hour drive from Calgary)
Length: 12.7 km
Elevation: 950 m
Route type: Out and back

Grassi Lakes Trail

Home to some of the clearest water that Alberta has to offer, Grassi Lakes Trail is sure to leave you mesmerized. This is a must-do hike, especially because it doesn’t require a lot of skill to accomplish.

Difficulty: Moderate
Location: The Grassi Lakes trailhead is located off of Ken Ritchie Way in Canmore, Alberta (108 km/one hour and 15 minute drive from Calgary)
Length: 3.4 km
Elevation: 178 m
Route type: Loop

Yamnuska Ridge & CMC Valley Trail


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Safety first! Rated as an advanced hike, this mountain has a chain to hang onto in order to cross a skinny ledge at one point. How’s that for an adrenaline rush?

Difficulty: Hard
Location: The Mount Yamnuska trailhead is located off of Highway 1A/Bow Valley Trail in Seebe, Alberta (85 km/one hour drive from Calgary)
Length: 8.9 km
Elevation: 915 m
Route type: Loop

Jewell Pass via Prairie View Trail


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This is a great hike to bring your furry pal on. The trail is a loop, so there are two options to take: counterclockwise (easier route), or clockwise (harder route). Counterclockwise is easier due to a difference in incline.

Difficulty: Moderate
Location: The Jewell Pass trailhead is located on Barrier Lake Road, off of Highway 40/Kananaskis Trail in Kananaskis, Alberta (84 km/one hour drive from Calgary)
Length: 15.93 km
Elevation: 823 m
Route type: Loop

Grotto Canyon Trail


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This trail has mysterious drawings on the surrounding rock walls that are said to be between 500 and 1,000 years old. Can you find them?

Difficulty: Easy
Location: Grotto Canyon can only be accessed by foot; take the trail from the Grotto Mountain day-use parking lot in Bighorn No. 8, Alberta (93 km/one hour and five minute drive from Calgary)
Length: 7.1 km
Elevation: 395 m
Route type: Out and back

Big Hill Springs Trail


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Located just 40 minutes outside of the city, this trail in Big Hill Springs Provincial Park makes an easy mid-week escape for the whole family. There is a little bit of incline, but it’s pretty flat most of the way. The main attractions on this hike are the beautiful waterfalls.

Difficulty: Easy
Location: The Big Hill Springs parking lot is located off of Big Hill Springs Road/Range Road 34A in Cochrane, Alberta (43 km/40 minute drive from Calgary)
Length: 1.6 km
Elevation: 69 m
Route type: Loop

When did Canada get so beautiful? By the time you complete these six trails, you’ll have fallen in love with this big, enchanting country even more.

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