The Flowing Water Interpretive Trail is a beautiful easy trail near Calgary and Canmore. Our family tackled this hike early spring with our 2 and 4-year-old. Both girls managed to hike the full distance without much of a challenge but if you’re worried about those little feet then bring along a carrier. This hike is great for all abilities but please note that there is a set of stairs. Enjoy the hike and have lots of fun!
Flowing Water Interpretive Trail
Insider Tip for Families
Stay at Willow Rock Campground and enjoy starting the trail from your campsite.
Open: Facilities open April 19th-Oct 27th
Distance:2.5 km or 2 km (1.5 mi or 1.2 mi) loop
Elevation: 50 m (164 ft)
Highlights: River, Mountain Views, Marsh, Beaver Dam, Boardwalk
Amenities: Flush toilets, Camping, Playground,
TrailRider Rating: Challenging
Flowing Water Interpretive hike is located between Calgary and Canmore. From the Trans Canada Highway AB-1 W take the Highway AB-1X N exit. Soon after, turn into Willow Rock Campground. Flowing Water Interpretive Trail starts in Willow Rock Campground.
There are two places to start the Flowing Water Interpretive Loop.
Option 1: There is a trailhead near the bathrooms/showers at the end of the road across from the camp host. This trail is .5 km through the trees in the campground to get the main trailhead.
Option 2: Drive past the bathrooms and turn into the campground and there is a large sign indicating the trailhead. If you are staying at the campground then you could bike to the starting point and lock your bikes to the fence located at the entrance. at 51.08691°N 115.05851 ° W
Flowing Water Interpretive hike was an ideal distance and elevation for our 3 and 4-year-old. Younger children may find it challenging so I suggest bringing a carrier.
Soon after the main trailhead, cross the short bridge and follow the trail through the dense forest. Stay right at the fork to start the loop alongside the Kananaskis River in the trees. After a short distance, there is a set of stairs that go down to the river. Pass the stairs or head down for a break and soak in the views from below. Make sure that you do not let your kids play in the river as it is very unsafe.
After taking in the views, the trees soon disappear and the trail opens to a short set of stairs up the hill. Climb the stairs and take a break on the bench at the top of the hill.
Enjoy the expansive river views and surrounding mountain ranges.
If there is not much wind, this is a great spot to enjoy lunch, a longer snack break, and/or breastfeed if needed before heading down and finishing the loop.
As you forge on along the kid-friendly trail, make sure to look to the other side as there will be fantastic views of the adjacent mountains, including Mount Yamnuska. From there, the trail descends into the trees and eventually passes a beaver dam. The trail then turns into a boardwalk and a second opportunity to view Mount Yamnuska emerges. Only a few more turns and the hike finishes at the main trailhead.
If the family has more energy, consider driving a couple of minutes to Many Springs Interpretive Trail, or Montane Interpretive Trail. Otherwise, drive 20 minutes west to Canmore and enjoy exploring the shops like Rocky Mountain Soap Company, cafes, and restaurants.
Want more hikes like this one?
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