It might not officially be fall but the weather has been sitting around 7 C. The brisk air has been a nice change from the smoke but can still be a bit of a shock compared to the 30C sunny summer weather. The colder weather is also the beginning of the battle to convince littles to wear their jackets. But the changing colours of the leaves are not to be missed and fall hiking with littles can actually be really fun! Here are some great fall hikes to do around Calgary with preschoolers/toddlers!

Ok… before I continue I just have 3 tips to make your hike more enjoyable with your little ones in the colder weather..

1. Bring a toque, mitts, warm packable jacket and warm pants or full suit. 

2. Keep the hike short

3. Bring Hot Chocolate

 

Fall Hikes to do around Calgary with Preschoolers/Toddlers

 

Note: Start with some of the easier hikes especially if the weather is colder. Sometimes little hikers that are strong in the summer find it more challenging to hike in the colder hiking temperatures. Also make sure to check out the trail report to know the condition of the hike here. A few of these hikes are known for getting snow even in summer as well as on colder fall  days.

Find the Alberta Parks trail report here and Canada Parks trail report here. 

 

Tiger Lily Loop

Easy- 1.4 km 70 m elevation – *Stroller Friendly – 38 minutes from Downtown Calgary

Located just 38 minutes from downtown Calgary at Glenbow Ranch is the Tiger Lily Loop. From the parking lot head west. Take a right through the fence to head onto the trail or take a minor detour and head straight to enjoy the look out of the valley. Once through the fence the trail takes you down through the trees. Enjoy the changing colours of leaves before looping around and climbing up past the park office back to the parking lot. Learn more about Tiger Lily Loop here.

*A stroller could go on the path but would need a lift over top of the fence that is meant to keep out bikers.

Forget-Me-Not-Pond

*UPDATE* Closed for the 2017 season due to Construction

Easy – 2 km, 0 elevation – Stroller friendly – 1 hr from downtown Calgary – Closed December 1st- May 14

Located in Bragg Creek at a Day use area is this beautiful short hike around Forget-Me-Not-Pond. This hike offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. When the sun shines on the pond in mid-day it turns a beautiful turquoise colour. New walkers can try to tackle this hike on their own two feet. All children will enjoy the many different spots where they can throw rocks into the water. We like going around the lake counter clockwise so we cross the two bridges at the end of our hike! Learn more about Forget-Me-Not-Pond here.

Note: There are many benches and picnic benches along the trail around the pond to stop and rest.

Heart Creek

Moderate- 4.2  km RT, 100 m elevation – 1 h 20 minutes from downtown Calgary

Close to Canmore and only 15 minutes East is Heart Creek Trail.  The hike is relatively flat and rated moderate because of the longer distance for little feet. The first 500 metres is also  challenging since that is where the majority of the elevation occurs. The hike is beautiful with mountain views and the many bridges are really fun for littles to cross. The destination is not necessarily the most exciting but you can hear a waterfall and throw rocks into the water. The good thing is that you don’t have to worry about missing anything  if your little ones get tired and you need to turn  around.

Learn more about Heart Creek  here    but note that  although it says 2.8 km return, the actual distance from the Heart Creek parking lot is closer to 4.2 km return.

 

Eau Claire Hiking Trail Loop

Easy – 1.5km, 0 elevation – 1 hour 21 minutes from downtown Calgary

A short flat interpretive trail that  is perfect for early walkers and located in  Kananaskis Country.  The trail starts  at the Eau Claire campground. The hike shows views of the surrounding mountains, takes you along side the  river and ends by looping back through the trees.  This trail is fun to trail run with your little ones or to take slowly and enjoy throwing rocks into the water. Learn more about the Eau Claire hike here. 

Canmore Nordic Centre

Easy to Difficult – Various Trails – Some trails stroller friendly – 1 hour from downtown Calgary

The Canmore Nordic Centre is not just for winter skiing or summer biking. You can also hike there! There are various trails  ranging from moderate to difficult. The Nordic Centre building is open year  round which means you can head inside  ask the staff for a hike that best suits your needs for the day.  If you forget food you can always buy hot chocolate or lunch at their cafe! Learn more about the Nordic Centre here. 

 

West Wind Pass

Difficult  – 4.8  km,  350 m elevation –  1 hr 42 minutes from downtown Calgary

West Wind Pass is a beautiful but challenging hike for toddlers/preschoolers but in the short distance gives your beautiful views of surrounding mountains.   The trail take your through trees with some views of the creek valley. The end of the hike takes you up to the pass where you can view the mountains on the other side. The trail head is  also a little big more challenging to find. From Canmore take the Smith Dorrian Road to Spray Lakes.  After the Canmore Nordic centre turnoff set your odometer to 0. After  18.5 km the parking lot will be on your right. The trail starts on the other side of the parking lot.  Learn more about the hike here. 

Note: This hike can be done by a strong 4 year old hiker but the elevation and distance is significant. Try some of the other hikes that I have posted before tackling this hike with your preschooler.

Flowing Water Interpretive Trail

Easy – 2km RT,  105 m elevation –  56 minutes from downtown Calgary

The Flowing Water Interpretive Trail begins at Willow Rock Campground in Bow Valley Provincial Park in Kanaskis.   It is located just off of the Trans-Canada Highway. Enjoy views of the surrounding mountains and the Kananaskis river. This trail is close to Canmore  which means quick access to amenities  and a great place to go after the hike for some hot chocolate or tea. Learn more about the Flowing Water Interpretive Trail here.

Tunnel Mountain

Challenging-  4.3 km RT, 300 metres elevation OR 3.6 km RT, less elevation – 1 h 30 min from downtown Calgary

Tunnel Mountain hike is located in Banff. It offers stunning  views of both  Banff and Mount Rundle. The hike is challenging for little feet but manageable if they are stronger hikers.  It is also a great way for your toddlers to hike their first peak before the snow makes it too challenging. I recommend bringing along a carrier just in case your little one gets tired and needs a break. It was so much fun watching our newly turned 3 year old hike the shorter version, 3.6 km return from Tunnel Drive, last year while our 1 year old hung out in the carrier.  For more trail information click  here. 

Ptarmigan Cirque

Challenging-  4km RT, 280 m elevation-  1h   40 minutes from Calgary

Ptarmigan Cirque is an absolutely  stunning hike that starts at highwood pass in Kananaskis. The trail is challenging for little feet  but has beautiful Larch trees in the fall. Larch tree are members of the pine tree but whose pine needles actually change colour in the fall. Shortly after the starting the hike the trail climbs up for a steep 1 km of hiking where most of the 280 metres of elevation happens. After the initial climb the hike levels off and you are within in the alpine surrounded by  stunning mountain views,  beautiful landscape, and will spot the occasional ground squirrel. My 3 year old completed the hike while my 2 year old jumped in and out of the carrier. Read more about the hike  here.

Note:   The hike is not accessible between December 1st and June 15th since the road to the start of the hike is closed during that time.

Peyto Lake

Moderate – 1.5 km, 45 m elevation, 2 h 25 minutes from downtown Calgary

In the fall be  prepared for snow especially when hiking to Peyto Lake.   Park at the Peyto Lake parking lot on the Icefields parking lot. At the far end of the parking lot is the trail. The trail begins through the trees and soon you head up the 45 m of elecation  to the view point where you can see the Lake down below in the valley.  The views are stunning and the lake is a vibrant  turquoise colour. Learn more about Peyto Lake here. 

Note: Peyto Lake is very busy in the summer months.  There are very little amenities close by  besides the outhouses in the winter months.

 

 

Check out these other great hikes for preschoolers near Calgary here !!!

 

Want to check out some waterfalls? Try these   “10 Waterfall Hikes for Preschoolers to do Around Calgary”

 

By Annika Mang

 

 

 

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One thought on “10 Fall Hikes to do Around Calgary with Preschoolers/Toddlers!”

  1. Especially on longer hikes such as Ptarmigan cirque and west wind pass, its critical to have a sattelite communication device such as a spot messenger or delorme brand unit, with or without kids. You don’t want an allergic reaction or anything else to end badly when this wonderful tech exists. Also family hikers, never ever do any hiking with out bear spray. As the cliche goes, “Better to have these items and not need them, then need them and not have them”. Unfortunately being in any remote environment involves increased risk if something goes wrong, say a parent sprains an ankle and your group ends up spending the night out with no communication device versus being rescued.

    It’s been a while since I checked the blog; great work!!!! No nature deficit disorder in your family, that’s for certain! Keep up the fine work!

    Tim Mang

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