This summer has really got me out exploring new easy-level hikes. With a newborn, I’ve been focusing on finding hikes that are as close to the city as possible, to limit the driving time to and from the trailhead. On top of that, I’ve tried to find hikes that don’t exceed 6km or 2 hours, with relatively easy incline, since I’m front-carrying my little mini. I wrote a whole post about hiking with a baby. And I also shared a hiking scavenger hunt you can print out when hiking with your toddlers or older kids! Now, let me share some very family-friendly hikes in Alberta…
Ann & Sandy Cross Conservatory
There is so much goodness about this conservatory! I would consider it more of a nature walk, than a hike, but it is perfect for all ages and skill levels. It’s out by Millarville, so nice and close to Calgary. It’s very clear where the trails are, and relatively flat. If you choose the Aspen trail, you’re looking at a 5.5km loop, but you can shorten it with some of the other trails, or go multiple times to switch up the paths! There is a suggested $10 cash parking fee. Washrooms are available there (however, are closed during Covid), and there are picnic benches near the entrance. There are also benches along the paths for some nice stops to enjoy the beautiful view. This one is super family-friendly!
Fish Creek Provincial Park
In fear of sounding like a broken record, I wouldn’t necessarily consider this one a hike either, but a definite nature walk. I wanted to include this one, because often I have people ask me if any trails are stroller-friendly, and this is the only one I’ve yet to mention on my site that is stroller-friendly. There are so many different paths you can take in Fish Creek Park (right in Calgary, by the way). If you’re there, you should walk to Annie’s Cafe and enjoy a treat! This walk is good for everyone, and also a great place to bike, for all skill levels.
This hike is super family-friendly – if you want more of a challenge, take the “more difficult” trail up (you’ll be going clockwise, to the left first…don’t worry, there’s a sign), and then you can make it a loop and take the “easy” trail down. With young kids walking it, or with a kid on your back, you may want to choose the easy path both ways. It’s 4.3km and 233m of elevation. You will get the most gorgeous view of Canmore, and when you reach the top, you will find absolutely stunning water – save yourself some time to check out the rock climbers that you’ll usually find up there too!
Paddy’s Flat Trail
The trailhead for this hike starts at a campground, so if you’re going to hike here without camping, you will have quite a trek from the parking lot. This trail is great for kids, as it’s super easy to follow – you won’t get lost, but you may not realize where to “end”, as it is an out and back hike, but leads off to other hikes at the top. It is 3.1km and only has 100m elevation, so it’s very do-able for young kids to walk on their own!
Wild Rose Loop
This hike is in Brown Lowery Provincial Park, close to Priddis, this 4.8km loop with 143 metres of incline, is always muddy and full of mosquitos no matter what time of year you go, so pack your bug spray and your good hiking boots. There are many divides that go off into other hikes, but each has a map, so you can take a peek – I suggest downloading the map on AllTrails ahead of time if you can, even though it’s a short loop (it can be a little confusing in some sections). This one has a parking lot and toilets to use, so that’s a family-friendly win in itself. In the depths of the trees here, you really appreciate all the beauty that nature has to offer!
Heart Creek Trail
A huge detail of these family-friendly hikes are that the trailheads have parking lots and toilets available, and this one is no different. This trail is amazing – not only do you get to enjoy the calming sound of running water the whole way, but there is beauty for the full 4.7km out-and-back trail. There are lots of rock climbers to see here, and you’ll spot a waterfall! This one has a 302m elevation, it is quite rocky, and there are some small bridges that have no railings (or only a railing on one side)…that probably makes it sound a little scary, but it isn’t – I felt safe doing it while wearing my front baby carrier, but just something to consider when committing to this one!
Big Hill Springs
This hike out near Cochrane is so family-friendly that I don’t think you’ll see anyone there without kids, not that you can’t go enjoy it regardless. It’s a quick 1.6km hike with lots of hills and water, as its name suggests. The entrance has a ton of picnic benches as well, so pack a picnic to enjoy for the whole family!
Happy Family Hiking!