One of the perks of training to climb a giant mountain is the joy of discovering cool day hikes in Calgary. Such was my delight when a web search revealed a kid-friendly trail in the community of Silver Springs called Waterfall Valley.
Located in Bowmont Park, the path is an easy one-kilometre trail that descends gently between wildflower-studded hillsides, meanders through a lovely grove of aspen trees and parallels a little stream (that bubbles up from various springs in the vicinity) before dead-ending at the Bow River. There, a “waterfall” rushes down a hill to join the river.
My kids loved how the trail alternated between dirt path and elevated boardwalk. Avery ran ahead searching for the garter snakes that inhabit the coulee, while Bennett was content to spot bees landing on the many blooming wildflowers including yellow potentillas and orange black-eyed Susans. The highlight for both was the waterfall by the river. The only downside? You have to retrace your steps back up the coulee (yay, some real training for me!) to return to your car, a fact that can irritate young children.
There’s ample parking at the trailhead and interpretive signage that explains how the area formed. The walk takes about 20 minutes each way, but if you pack a snack to enjoy at the river overlook plan to spend about an hour round-trip.
During most of the hike you’d never know you’re in the middle of a big city. Avery and Bennett gave it two thumbs up.