Griffith Woods Park is a primarily natural environment park that lies along the banks of the Elbow River in the southwest part of Calgary.
Location: Discovery Ridge Blvd. S.W.
There are multiple entrances into the park from south side of Discovery Ridge Blvd.
Area: 93 hectares
Park hours: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m.
- Paved pathways
- Gravel and dirt trails
- Soccer fields (located at 160 Discovery Ridge Blvd. S.W.)
- Basketball (located at 160 Discovery Ridge Blvd. S.W.)
- Playground (located at 160 Discovery Ridge Blvd. S.W.)
About the park
Griffith Woods Park lies along the banks of the Elbow River in the southwest part of the city. The park was created in 2000 and named after Wilbur Griffith who, with his wife Betty, donated a portion of their estate to The City of Calgary to be set aside as a nature preserve. Griffith Woods is classified as a Special Protection Natural Environment Park because of its overall environmental sensitivity and significance.
Griffith Woods Soil Solarization Trial
Parks is currently testing an environmentally friendly method of controlling weeds at Griffith Woods. This is done by placing clear plastic on top of the ground in order to heat up the soil (over 30 °C). The intent is to inhibit weed growth, including weeds such as brome grass and thistle. The trial will continue through 2012 with repairs to the plastic being done in the spring of 2013 if needed. This pilot project will be assessed at the end of the season in 2013 and next steps will be determined at that time.
Experience nature in the city
Walk quietly through a dense White Spruce forest. Watch aquatic wildlife in crystal clear, spring-fed wetlands. Or, just sit and enjoy the Elbow River as it runs between you and the Tsuu T'ina reserve on the other bank.
Griffith Woods has one of only two large stands of White Spruce in The City's park system. The moisture combined with protection in the valley from drying winds has allowed for the growth of a mature White Spruce forest. In some areas the forest is extremely dense resulting in very little undergrowth on the forest floor.
Because the Elbow River is a wild river and still experiences frequent flooding, there is a thick growth of Balsam Poplar which require flooding for regeneration.
Boardwalks cross the clear wetlands providing you with a great opportunity to see aquatic plants and invertebrates. The white spruce forest offers an ideal place to watch the birds and other wildlife that prefer the coniferous forest. It is one of the best places in the city to see species such as Red-breasted Nuthatches and Gray Jays that frequent this habitat.
The Elbow River, with its headwaters in Elbow Lake high up in Kananaskis Country, flows unimpeded down and through Griffith Woods. Seldom can one experience a "wild river" within a major city. Within this park, the river is relatively straight but it has abandoned ancient curves leaving "oxbow" wetlands.
These oxbows combined with the wetlands associated with spring-fed streams that flow into the park, result in a rich variety of aquatic ecosystems. The land has been ranched since the late 1800s and most recently was part of the Griffith Estate.