Exploring is my obsession, but the past year’s restrictions had me discovering lesser travelled roads close to home. The Rotary Mattamy Greenway, a dedicated pathway circling the city of Calgary, is one such gem.

Open to non-motorized activity, the best way to explore it is on two wheels. About 90 per cent is dedicated path, but there are segments of shared roadway through residential areas. In theory, it is approximately 140 kilometres long and doable in one long day; in reality, it is best to ride in segments. I recruited some friends and using RidewithGPS, mapped out two routes, each roughly 100 kilometres.

photoSubmitted by BJ Oudman

The Greenway circles Calgary but using two additional major pathways that intersect the city—the Bow River Pathway from west to east and the Great Trail from north to south—we were able to cycle from a central start point and back.

The south half of the route took us from East Village along the Bow River Pathway to the Western Headworks Pathway toward Chestermere. Turning south along 84th St SE led to Ralph Klein Park, crossing a long wooden walkway though wetlands, passing birders with binoculars and through the neighbourhood of Copperfield, we reached the southern border of the city and headed west along Seton Boulevard. Tempted to coast down Cranston Avenue hill, a sharp right mid way followed the Bow River Pathway into Fish Creek Park. Traversing the park, about 20 kilometres from east to west, provided a scenic picnic lunch spot.

We completed the route paralleling Stoney Trail northbound until we entered South Glenmore Park. Through the Weaselhead Flats and up the big hill, the Greenway then continues north, but we took the Glenmore North Pathway to 14 St and followed along the Elbow River Pathway past Sandy Beach before returning to Inglewood for a well-deserved beer.

photoBJ Oudman

A few weeks later I was able to convince my partner to explore the north route. This time we headed west from Eau Claire along the Bow River Pathway. At Home Road, we exited to enter the Greenway north of the river through Bowmont and Baker Park.  An initial steep ascent allowed glorious vistas of the river valley highlighted by fall colours. Approaching the western border, the pathway heads north under Stoney Trail. Exiting the tunnel, options here are up the hill and through Tuscany or parallel Stoney Trail on 12 Mile Coulee Pathway, IMHO a prettier ride. The two join up before crossing Highway 1A using the LRT pedestrian bridge! Wind north past Royal Oak auto mall and athletic parks before skirting the Beacon Hill shopping centre and heading due east along the northern edge of the city.

We followed along Symons Valley Regional Pathway until Carrington, where the city is left behind for long grass fields and frequent wind gusts! At 15 St NE, there is about one kilometre segment of gravel, before officially entering the NE quadrant. Along Barlow Trail north of the airport, we reached the communities of Redstone and Skyview Ranch before turning due south at 68 St NE. The eastern border pathway parallels Stoney Trail all the way down to Piegan Trail, turns onto the 52 St SE regional pathway and intersects to the Western Headlands Pathway that led back to the Bow River Pathway at Memorial and our start point!

This ride allows for exploring so many areas of the city, each with a unique personality. Route signage is very good but a few “we’re not lost” detours created adventures. The Rotary Mattamy Greenway truly is worth exploring, however you decide.

photoBJ Oudman