McHugh Bluff spans two northwest Calgary communities with a portion running along Memorial Drive. Close to the city's centre, the park is a popular place for commuters, joggers and dog walkers.
Location: Along Crescent Rd. N.W., from 10 St. N.W. to Centre St. N
Area: 27 hectares
Park hours: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the recent public engagement. The limestone surface on Crescent Road Promenade will be repaired starting October 19. The trails along Samis Road and 7a Street will be repaired, and the limestone replaced with trail mix to help prevent erosion. Learn more about this decision and the engagement results.
About the park
The bluff runs along the northern bank of the Bow River as it flows through the centre of the city. It was named after Felix McHugh, who homesteaded this property and was a prominent early entrepreneur. In 2004, the City launched a project to restore and develop the bluff into a natural park.
Though the park is close to the city centre, because of the steep grade it does not have a history of intensive human use. Currently however, on any given day, there is an extremely high volume of commuters, joggers and dog walkers using the lateral pathways and trails.
Experience nature in the city
Take advantage of the chance to view the city in a new way from within this park. From part way up the bluff, particularly at night, there is a dramatic view of the city skyline. But as you walk along the trails, you are surrounded by grassland, which is so important to this area's history. A stairway, with a viewing platform, descends down the bluff and provides an excellent view of the city, the park and the Bow River Valley.
Along the bluff, there are willows, ashes, Balsam Poplar, White Spruce and, at the base, the introduced Colorado Blue Spruce. The bluff is mainly glacial till covered by a mixture of native and introduced grasses such as Created Wheat-grass and Awnless Brome. Due to the location, there are numerous introduced exotic species. One of the most prominent exotics is the Siberian Pea Shrub, better know as Caragana. This plant was imported because it could withstand the cold, dry Canadian prairies.
Caragana is widely planted around farmyards as a wind break. It can grow up to 30 feet and is extremely dense. Even in winter time, it is an effective wind break and is also commonly used as a city hedge. Unfortunately, it is very invasive, readily seeding itself and crowding out native species. It is now a major problem throughout The City's park system. In part, because the vegetative cover is disturbed, the slope is unstable in several locations and slumping is quite apparent on the regional pathway.
The most conspicuous bird species on the bluff is the common Black-billed Magpie, but many species such as chickadees, nuthatches and American Robins can be seen in the park.