6 jaw-droppingly beautiful hikes to take near Calgary

Apr 18 2023, 10:15 pm

The best part about living in Calgary is that we have easy access to both the Rocky Mountains and the prairies, which is a truly amazing combination.

As a result, there are some unbelievably beautiful hikes that surround our city just waiting to be explored.

Even if you’re not an avid hiker, several of these trails are short and not too strenuous, but enough to make the view 100% worth it when you get to the top. Anything for the ‘gram, right?

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. Always remember to leave no trace, pack out what you pack in, stick to designated trails, and refrain from feeding wildlife. Parks Canada visitor guidelines are available here — and please note that irresponsibly-taken selfies (even if they look great for the ‘gram) can be fatal

Up for the challenge? Get outdoors this summer and check out these six magnificent hikes in close proximity to Calgary.

Bow Summit


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With the picturesque backdrop of Peyto Lake, this hike boasts a number of switchbacks that gain an elevation of 280 metres, but once you pass the tourist-filled trails you will be rewarded with a view that most people only dream about.

Difficulty: Moderate
Location: The trail begins at Peyto Lake, a parking lot is accessible off of the Icefields Parkway
Length: 6.6 km
Elevation: 280 m
Route type: Out and back

Lake Agnes Trail

You will begin your trek to this iconic tea house at the base of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Hikers then climb for one to two hours past Mirror Lake and the waterfalls that run from the mesmerizing Lake Agnes. Treat yourself to specialty teas and decadent homemade baking at the tea house before turning around, or continue to the High Line Trail or the Lake Agnes Lookout.

Difficulty: Moderate
Location: Trail begins from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (111 Lake Louise Drive, Lake Louise)
Length: 7.4 km
Elevation: 435 m
Route type: Out and back

Cirque Peak

Located directly beside the beautiful waters of Helen Lake, this hike presents an easy scramble for those just getting into the hiking mode. When you reach the narrow ridge at the top, you’ll bask in a stunning view of the Wapta Icefields, Bow Glacier, Bow Lake, and the crystalline waters of Peyto Lake. This is one where you’ll want to leave an extra hour or so just to hang out at the top and take in the view.

Difficulty: Hard
Location: Trail begins off of Highway 93 north of Lake Louise, leave your vehicle at the Bow Lake Car Lot
Length: 15.93 km
Elevation: 1,135 m
Route type: Out and back

Jewell Pass

This hike is a beautiful loop that, depending on which way you begin (clockwise or counterclockwise), will range in difficulty due to the changes in elevation and incline. This trek also features stunning views of Barrier Lake and is pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend along for the adventure.

Difficulty: Moderate
Location: The Jewell Pass trailhead is located on Barrier Lake Road, off of Highway 40/Kananaskis Trail in Kananaskis
Length: 15.9 km
Elevation: 823 m
Route type: Loop

Ptarmigan Cirque

When taking this hike, you will end up in a mountainous bowl (cirque) above the Highwood Pass. Don’t be fooled by the interpretive trail signs, as this several-kilometre hike can be a bit steep and surprisingly strenuous. However, you will be heavily rewarded if you stick with it, as the landscape of the cirque area is like nothing you have ever seen before.

Difficulty: Moderate
Location: The Ptarmigan Cirque Trail Parking Lot is located off Highway 40 in Kananaskis
Length: 3.5 km
Elevation: 258 m
Route type: Loop
Note: Access to the trailhead by road is blocked off until June 14, 2023

Ha Ling Peak


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The trail up to Ha Ling definitely does not let you off easily. This is not a hike you should try if you’re new to the sport, but it will be one of your best accomplishments once you work your way up to the challenge. It’s a moderate scramble in parts, to say the least, but the views at the top are definitely worth the extra effort. It’s recommended to go on this hike during the week or start earlier in the morning, due to the popularity of the trail and its tendency to get overcrowded.

Difficulty: Hard
Location: The Ha Ling Peak trailhead is located right off of Highway 742 in Kananaskis, southwest of Canmore
Length: 7.2 km
Elevation: 748 m
Route type: Out and back

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Kristy ArchibaldKristy Archibald

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