The best hiking companions are the ones that hike alongside you on all fours. No, we’re not implying you should suddenly start crab walking on your next adventure. We mean your furry best friend! Most humans agree dogs make life better, and in turn, hiking better. Don’t leave them at home the next time you seek out the great Canadian outdoors—instead, bring them to any one of these 20 awesome dog-friendly parks and trails near Calgary.
For more information on rules and regulations surrounding pets in Alberta Parks, click here.
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park
Length: 25 km
With over 25 kilometres of trails to explore on the bank of the Bow River, Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park offers wide open spaces for you and your pup to explore. With lush green rolling hills and small patches of wetlands, this is a great park for both small and large dogs. As this is a working ranch, you and your pup are likely to spot cattle, horses and ranching equipment. Please do not approach.
Length: 2 - 3 km
Another great spot to explore with your dog in the city (and maybe even go for a swim if you don’t mind the wet-dog smell) is the route from Roxboro Park to Erlton Bluffs. Following along the Elbow River, this trail is accessible in all seasons and features beautiful views of the downtown city skyline. Dogs must remain on-leash on the trail, but can explore off-leash in the designated dog park.
Boundary Peak and Ridge
Distance: 10 km
If you and your pup are up for something more challenging, Boundary Peak and Ridge is a great trail to take on. This is a full day hike near Kananaskis that offers stunning views of Mount Athabasca and its glacier once you reach the summit. Take plenty of water as it is quite a steep climb. It's perfect for fitness lovers and strong dogs looking for a good workout.
Nose Hill Park
Length: 11 km2
You don’t need to go far to be able to enjoy the great outdoors with your best friend. Nose Hill Park offers covers 11 square kilometres with several hiking trails. With specific on- and off-leash areas, this park is perfect for a game of fetch, throwing around a frisbee or just letting your dog run free. You’re likely to run into some wildlife here, as the park is a natural grasslands environment which is home to many deer, coyotes, porcupines and gophers. Even though it feels like you’re escaping the city, keep an eye out for incredible views of the downtown city skyline from the highest point of the hill.
Jumpingpound Summit Trail
Distance: 5 km
This moderate trail near Kananaskis is about an hour drive outside the city. Get lost in the woods with your pup on this trail. This area is very popular for all kinds of wildlife, so make sure to keep your dog close if they have the tendency to chase deer and rabbits. A stunning view of the surrounding mountains can be enjoyed from the top of this trail.
Length: up to 17 km
Another customizable trail, Glenmore Reservoir offers a 17 kilometre hike if you wish to loop the entire lake. Your pup is likely to meet a lot of friends along the way, as this is a very popular place for dog walkers and cyclists. Despite tempting water views, there’s no swimming in the lake as it provides majority of the drinking water in Calgary. Be careful that your pup doesn't contribute shedding fur to everyone's tap water.
Fullerton Loop Trail
Distance: 6.8 km
This is an easy loop trail featuring classic views of Alberta's rolling green hills. These hills seem to be never ending as they stretch out throughout the valley, truly showing off what authentic prairie lands looks like. The trail is pretty gradual for most of the hike, perfect for a more relaxed adventure with Fido.
Banded Peak Connector Bench
Distance: 6.1 km
The Banded Peak Connector Bench is a great loop trail that’s only a short drive outside of the city. With the majority of the trail in the woods, hikers and their furry friends can enjoy small ponds and multi-coloured wildflowers that grow along the trail. Take your lunch with you and picnic by the river.
Length: 165 hc
Get lost in the city in Bowmont Park. With trails through the woods and along the riverside, this park is a great place for you and your pooch to get some fresh air and enjoy the scenery. This park features a fenced off-leash area to enjoy as well as on-leash trails. Some trails are located alongside the Bow River, offering the perfect place for your furry friend to cool off. The river current can be quite strong, so make sure your dog is a strong swimmer.
Distance: 1.6 km
Let your dog run free in the forest on this short and rarely busy trail near Bragg Creek. Even on the hottest days in the summer, the tall evergreen trees offer cool shade and often host a variety of songbirds to provide a soundtrack to your hike. Without much more than a gradual incline, this trail is an easy and relaxing route, perfect for hikers and dogs of all levels of fitness.
Distance: 14.6 km
A popular hike just outside the city, Moose Mountain offers a great trail for more experienced hikers and dogs. Keep your pouch on leash as this trail is shared with mountain bikers. Although the beginning starts out quite level, the final stretch is steep single-track on loose rocks. The extra effort isn’t without a great reward: hikers will enjoy a stunning 360-degree view at the summit. If you're up for getting your heart racing and blood pumping, this is the perfect trail for you!
Distance: 9.7 km
Although the name suggests something out of the ordinary, Strange Brew is a simple, easy hike through thick woods. Starting out on Boundary Ridge, the entire trail is roughly a three-hour journey through moderately flat terrain. Featuring rolling green hills and plenty of different paths to take, keep an eye out for Fido as there are many mountain bikers on this trail.
Sulphur Springs Trail
Distance: 12.3 km
Wildflowers and moderate elevation draws hikers, their dogs and mountain bikers to this beautiful area near Bragg Creek. Start along the Highway, cross Moose Mountain and climb up. Many trails intersect here, so watch signage to make sure you don't get lost.
Griffith Woods Park
Length: 5 km
This is a natural environment park where you can escape the city without going very far. Bustling creeks and deep forests make you feel as thought you're way out in the wilderness. With plenty of space for your pup to roam, this is a beautiful place to explore. Choose between the main paved pathway or explore the dirt paths throughout.
Nihahi Ridge Trail
Distance: 8.8 km
This difficult hike gains 380 metres in elevation and takes most hikers three to five hours to complete. Be wary of steep and hazardous sections; this trail should only be attempted with an agile dog (and owner).
Distance: 3.8 km
Treat yourself and your dog to the popular Grassi Lakes hike just outside of Canmore, roughly an hour drive away from Calgary. This trail leads hikers to two breathtaking turquoise lakes that vary in their shades of green and blue. Depending on you and your dog's fitness levels, you can choose between two different routes to reach the lakes: one is the gravel fire road and the other is a slightly more difficult trail that features a waterfall.
Big Hill Springs
Length: 1.6 km
A quick drive outside the city, Big Hill Springs Trail is an easy and popular hike along flat terrain to stunning waterfalls. Although the waterfalls are small, they're the perfect place for Fido to take a drink of water while you stop and have a picnic. This area attracts families with small children, so remember to keep your dog on leash.
Douglas Fir Trail
Distance: 2.5 km
As the name suggests, this trail is great for tree-watching. This quick trail is ideal for an evening jaunt or lunch break exploration with your curious doggo. It also offers excellent views of the Bow River, so bring your camera and get your dog to pose.
Bow River Pathway
Distance: 6.3 km
The Bow River Pathway loop is the perfect place to go for a stroll with your pup. This trail is a paved path with relaxing views of the Bow River. Choose between the main trail or walk along the water. When the river is calm, your dog can enjoy a nice swim. This trail is often filled with a lot of Canadian geese, which bring cuteness overload in the spring when you and your pup can witness the fuzzy chicks wiggle their way to the water.
Fish Creek Provincial Park
Distance: Over 80 km
With 30 kilometres of paved and 50 kilometres of shale trails, you and Fido could easily spend days exploring all the routes this provincial park has to offer. Outdoor activities abound, from fishing to birding to golfing. For smaller dogs, stay along the paved pathway. For larger dogs, take them off-road onto the mountain bike trails that climb over the steep but short hills and cliffs. This park is filled with wildlife, so expect to run into the most common of prairie creatures (like deer) to the more surprising Canadian animals (like bears).
Have you taken your pup to these parks & trails near Calgary?
Tell us about your favourite!
P.S. Looking for more dog-friendly trails across Canada?
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