Nose Hill Park is a natural environment park that lies in the northwest part of the Calgary and is surrounded by 12 residential communities and covers 11 square kilometres. Nose Hill Park has numerous hiking trails and dedicated off-leash areas.
Location: 5620 14 St. N.W.
Area: 1129 hectares
Park hours: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Events in Nose Hill Park
About the park
Nose Hill Natural Environment Park lies in the northwest part of the city, surrounded by 12 residential communities. The park was created in 1980 and covers over 11 square kilometres. The hill most likely gets its name from the fact that, from certain locations and with a little imagination, it looks like a nose.
Experience nature in the city
Take a hike on the hill, but slow down to appreciate the Rough Fescue grassland that you are passing through. Nose Hill Park contains one of the most significant examples of this grassland ecosystem left on the Canadian prairies. From the plateau, there are vistas including the Rocky Mountains, Bow River Valley and the vast plains to the east.
The trees, shrubs and wildflowers in the coulees are very different from the species found in the fescue grassland. Apart from the native grasses, one of the dominant species in the park is the Trembling Aspen. The aspen, along with the willows occupy the north-facing slopes of the coulees and provide a refuge for many of the wild animals living in the park.
Large mammals such as deer and coyotes can be seen roaming the grasslands and coulees. The park is home to porcupines, northern pocket gophers, Richardson's ground squirrels and several species of mice and voles. These smaller mammals are the main prey for the northern harriers and Swainson's hawks, which are often seen in the skies above the park.
Please note: although coyotes also mainly feed on small mammals such as mice, they have on a few occasions attacked and killed pets in Nose Hill Park. If you want to ensure the safety of your pet, keep it on a leash at all times (even in the designated off-leash area on the top of Nose Hill). Coyotes are generally no threat to people but should be treated with respect and never approached or fed. For more information (or to report coyote sightings/encounters), visit Living with Coyotes.
Nose Hill and Broadcast Hill, which lies on the other side of the Bow River Valley, are the two remaining examples of the high plains which once covered this area. Ancient rivers, successive glaciers and their run-off have eroded the landscape producing the surrounding valleys and lowlands, leaving the two hills towering over the area. The most recent glaciers left their mark in the form of "glacial erratics" which consist of rocks and debris carried from other places and deposited in the park. One such erratic is on the east side of Nose Hill and was once a part of Mount Edith Cavell in Jasper National Park.
The park contains significant archaeological sites, including stone circles. These were formed by using stones to hold down the edges of tipis and are called "tipi rings". Because of it's height, the hill was also a sacred place used for ceremonies and burials. European settlers began using the area in the late 1800's for farming and ranching.
Large areas of the plateau have been ploughed and planted to agricultural crops. Some of these areas are being returned to native grassland. There is an old gravel pit on the plateau which is slowly being reclaimed by nature. In the '80s, much of the park was destined for residential development. However, vigorous citizen action saved the land for the magnificent park we have today.