Calgary is a metropolitan city in Alberta that exudes the urban lifestyle with high-rises that punctuate the Calgary skyline. Though it’s a bustling city, Calgary is also a popular destination for mountain biking. Alberta’s typography is ideal for all levels of experience, with trails ranging from leisurely forest paths, rolling hills, and rocky highland elevations. If you’re a city dweller with a love for mountain biking, Calgary real estate is a great place to live as this city gives you the best of both worlds.
Located on the northwest side of Calgary, Edworthy Park is situated on the banks of Bow River and includes the impressive Douglas Fir Trail and the Lawrey Gardens. Back in 1883, Edworth Park was purchased as part of the Cochrane Ranch, but in 1962 the area was sold to the city of Calgary for the purpose of becoming a park. Today, Edworthy Park offers trails, a playground, picnic areas with fire pits and BBQ stands, Off-leash areas, and seasonal washrooms.
Douglas Fir Trail
The Douglas Fir Trail covers around 169 hectares and primarily runs through a wooded ridge with views overlooking the Bow River Valley. The ridge is about 200 feet high and very steep. Due to these conditions, this trail is seasonal and only open during the summer and fall months. It is advised to double check your v-brake when biking on steep trails to ensure safety. The best v brake pads will offer good stopping power and durability.
The trail gets its name from the Douglas-firs that make up the forest. Though the trees aren’t as big as those found on the coast, some trees are as big as seven and a half feet in diameter and are around 500 years old.
Located north of Edworthy Park and along the TransCanada highway, the Paskapoo Slopes receive a lot of traffic and action year-round. The slopes are comprised of twelve naturally occurring ravines. Though the Paskapoo Slopes are open all year long, they’re only open for mountain biking in the warmer months. For the rest of the year, the slopes’ conditions are ideal for snowboarding, downhill skiing, and cross-country skiing. In fact, the Paskapoo Slopes were once the site of the Canadian Olympic Park for the 1988 Winter Olympics.
As for accessing the slopes, there are five places to enter, but most people enter at Sarcee Trail or next to COP. The good thing about these trails is there are maps located at nearly every intersection so if you’re lost, you can find where you’re at easily. Though these trails were ideal for an Olympic competition, they’re still easy enough for amateur bike enthusiasts. Take proper precautions and read our mountain biking safety guide to to avoid getting hurt.
Fish Creek Provincial Park
Located on the south end of Calgary, is the Fish Creek Provincial Park. This park offers a whole slew of activities, but it’s also a popular place to go mountain biking. If you have a family with little kids, Fish Creek Provincial Park may be an ideal place to enjoy the outdoors. The infrastructure of this park is more of an urban style with paved paths intended for sharing with other users as opposed to more rugged parks in the area, but there are single-path trails too.
One thing that stands out and draws mountain bikers to this park is the bike skills park created with much consideration by the Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance. Bikers can access the skills park near the Burnsmead Day Use parking lot.
Other activities at Fish Creek Provincial Park include:
- Bird watching as the park has over 200 species to see.
- Boating along Bow River with access to launch at Bow Bottom Trail South, located at the east end of the park.
- Fishing in Bow River and Fish Creek. This is a popular area for trout fishing.
- Picnicking. Some areas even include fire pits and washrooms are usually nearby.
- Rollerblading along designated paved pathways.
- Swimming at the Sikome Aquatic Facility.
- Walking and Hiking along any of the paths.
Nose Hill Park
Located in north Calgary, is Nose Hill Park, the third-largest urban park in Canada and offers dirt, gravel, and paved trails. Nose Hill Park is a favourite of many mountain bikers as there is an array of trails featuring different levels of difficulty, making it an ideal place for the pros as well as families. The trails can be accessed from six different lots around the park. There are four lots along the east side and then on the west side near Shaganappi Trail, and another on the south side near John Laurie Trail.
- You Crazy – An all downhill straight black diamond trail with a 21 ft climb that takes about just over a minute to ride.
- Surfing on a Rocket – A blue trail that’s not too steep to be ridden in both directions with a 77m climb and takes about two and a half minutes to complete.
- Gerry’s Extension – A blue trail with a combination of hills and valleys. It is just under 1,000 feet and takes about a minute to complete.
- Charleswood Climb – A rugged blue trail that’s not on a beaten path. It has a steady incline of 184 ft and 1,404 ft long and takes about 5 minutes to complete.
- Jerry’s Trail – A blue trail with a pretty steep incline at the beginning that gets easier towards the end of the trail. The trail is 833 feet long with a 21 ft incline and takes about a minute and a half to complete.
This is a perfect park for those who just want a quick ride without going far from home. Located near the Calgary city centre is Bridgeland, which features trails running through residential neighbourhoods. The paths are considered easy to intermediate cross-country style trails and are popular due to their location and convenience to restaurants, parks, and homes. Tom Campbell’s Park and Murdoch Park are included in the Bridgeland trails infrastructure.
- Tom Campbell’s Park – An 18-hectacre park that overlooks the Bow River.
- Murdoch Park – An open space with a few multipurpose fields.
After exploring Calgary’s amazing trails and parks, head on to Ontario’s best mountain biking trails!