Below are detailed descriptions of some of the best walking, rollerblading and cycling routes in Calgary.
Paths less travelled
Nose Creek - goes from the Bow River just east of the Calgary Zoo, north past Beddington Trail to Confluence Park.
Baker Park - along the Bow River at the west edge of the city, on paths in Baker Park you can either cross the river to link up to the Valley Ridge area or travel east to Bowmont Natural Environment Park.
Irrigation Canal - this pathway route starts at Max Bell Arena and offers 28 km of pathway (almost 60 km round-trip!), along the canal to Chestermere. The last 9 km are outside the city.
37th St SW Pathway- connects South Glenmore Park to the west end of Fish Creek Provincial Park.
Beginner pathway loops
(For those looking for a leisurely journey.)Carburn Park (3km loop).
Carburn Park is located along the east bank of the Bow River, south of Glenmore Trail. There is a paved pathway around the perimeter of the pond which, with no hills and no dips, is a great place to practice cycling and in-line skating. When you get tired of cycling, there is a playground on the west side of the park. In the summer there is often an ice-cream truck in the parking lot. Toilets are at the park entrance off the parking lot. Pearce Estate to Inglewood Bird Sanctuary Loop (4km loop).
Pearce Estates is located off Blackfoot Trail, at the north end of 17A Street SE. The sanctuary is at 9th Avenue and Sanctuary Road SE. There are washrooms at both ends and Pearce Estate has picnic sites. Caution: the path crosses 9th Avenue and carries on south, so be prepared to stop and look for any vehicles before going into the sanctuary parking lot.
Intermediate pathway loops
(For those who can cope with hills and longer distances)
Shannon Terrace to Voltier's Flats (11km loop). Enter the west end of Fish Creek Provincial Park at Shannon Terrace (37 St SW) and ride east to Voltier's Flats and back. Some open areas but mostly trees. Watch for deer! Washrooms are located at both ends near the parking lots.
Mallard Point to Highway 22x and back (12km loop). Enter at the northeast end of Fish Creek Provincial Park, and travel from Mallard Point south to Highway 22X and back. You'll travel through both open fields and treed areas and past McKenzie Lake Golf Course after you cross the McKenzie pedestrian bridge. There are washrooms at Mallard Point.
Expert pathway loops
(requires good control and lots of energy)
A Ride on the Wild Side (a 15-18km loop). Park in the parking lots on the southwest side of the Calgary Zoo. Take the pathway north of Memorial Drive over the Baines Bridge, then turn east on the pathway. Soon, you will be riding next to the Prehistoric parks and the North American section of the zoo. Cross Nose Creek, proceed east and hook up with the Western Irrigation Canal pathway, then follow it over Deerfoot Trail and down the hills at Max Bell Arena. Continue south under Deerfoot Trail, dismount and cross the road at the entrance to the Inglewood Golf Course and continue along the canal to 50th Avenue SE. Dismount and cross at the traffic light and pick up the Bow River pathway system again. Go to the right on this pathway heading north, passing the C.P.R. yards, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Pearce Estate, Dean House, and Fort Calgary. Just west of the Fort, cross the suspension bridge onto St. Patrick's Island, go through Centenary Park and back to the parking lot where you started.
For a mini version (about 10km) of the above, reverse direction starting with Centenary Park, over the bridge to Fort Calgary, then east around the Dean house, past the weir, the Pearce Estate and continue to 17th Avenue SE. Walk your bikes on the sidewalk to the east of the Bow River and head north alongside the Deerfoot, past the start of the canal system, to the Nose Creek Pathway, then continue west through the Zoo and prehistoric park. Turn left at the Baines Bridge back into the parking lot.