Bowmont Park is a large natural environment park that lies along the northern bank of the Bow River in the northwest part of Calgary.
Location: 85 St. N.W. & 48 Ave. N.W.
Area: 164 hectares
Park hours: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m.
- Hiking trails
- Picnic tables
- Designated off-leash areas
- Baseball Field (accessible off Silver Hill Rd. N.W.)
- Soccer Field (accessible off Silver Hill Rd. N.W.)
About the park
Bowmont Park lies along the northern bank of the Bow River in the northwest part of the city. The park was created in the early 1980s and occupies about 164 hectares. The name is a contraction of the names of the nearby communities of Bowness and Montgomery.
Several projects are now underway to protect and improve the park. Here’s an overview of what you can expect:
The Bowmont West Fish Habitat Enhancement Project, in the west side of the park near the railroad track, was completed in July 2019. The project was one of several to create healthy habitat for fish to compensate for loss of fish habitat from the repair of eroded riverbanks after the 2013 flood. This project included reactivating a former river side channel to allow water to flow through year-round, and replacing the north pedestrian bridge.
There is some work underway to improve the health of the park through habitat restoration work.
Bowmont East (Dale Hodges Park) Bank Rehabilitation
This project is stabilizing the river bank by planting a combination of riparian plants including balsam poplar and willow shrubs, and controlling invasive plants. This work is needed to:
- protect critical infrastructure,
- support bank stability,
- mitigate erosion,
- increase the biodiversity of native vegetation and habitat quality, as well as
- improve pathway and area safety for users.
The rehabilitation area will be fenced off until 2024 to help ensure the plants can establish.
Bowmont Park Pathway Realignment Rehabilitation:
Since 2014, the river bank has eroded substantially. There was only a small distance between the edge of the pathway and the sharp drop off to the river. In Fall 2020, work was completed to:
- move the pathway away from the edge of the river bank,
- replace a culvert to improve drainage and help reduce winter pathway icing,
- improve pathway and area safety for users.
Some trees and plants were removed. The area will be replanted with native plants to support biodiversity, erosion mitigation and citizen enjoyment of the area beginning in August 2021. The rehabilitation area will be fenced off until 2024 to help ensure the plants can establish.
Dale Hodges Park is a large natural environment park that lies along the northern bank of the Bow River, adjacent to Bowmont Park, on the lands of the former Klippert gravel pit.
A section of the off-leash area near the Silver Springs entrance will remain closed until late fall to allow more time for the new plants to establish. A detour is in place. Park’s staff are currently installing entering/leaving off-leash area signs to define the off-leash area boundaries throughout the park.
You will also see new, updated entrance signs and maps appearing in the park.
Calgary Parks is undertaking habitat restoration work (including slope restoration) in the central west portion of Bowmont Park to enhance biodiversity, increase riparian and ecological health, and improve the park for future enjoyment. Habitat restoration is a multi-year, active process of improving the health and resilience of our parks and green spaces. This work is estimated to be completed in 2020, followed by three years of maintenance. Read more about the Bowmont Park Management Plan Improvement Project.
This fall, Parks will be revegetating a central west portion of Bowmont with native plant materials to improve ecological health, soil stability and flood resilience.
Slope and bank protection
- To reduce sediment going into the river and address eroding slopes. This will help preserve park integrity for users.
- To slow down erosion. Erosion affects water quality and negatively impacts the use of the park.
- To provide easier access from the ridge connecting to the Waterfall Valley outlook platform.
- To improve accessibility and safety through the installation of a new hand rail.
- To reduce trail braiding and lower impacts to the park. Trail braiding is unstainable, disturbs the park and negatively impacts its use.
Trail realignment and repairs
- To create safe trail route options for park users.
- To reduce trail braiding and lower impacts to the park.
Waterfall Valley outlook platform repairs
- To improve safety by upgrading the outlook platform to current building code specifications.
- To improve safety and accessibility by moving the hand rail.
A pilot program has been launched in Bowmont Park to provide dog owners with bags to collect pet waste. Three dispensers have been installed in key park entry locations. Community volunteers will help restock the dispensers as bags are used. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact 311.
Dog owners are asked to pick up pet waste when using our parks to keep them healthy and beautiful. For more information on the environmental benefits to picking up pet waste, please see the P.U.P.P.Y. (Pick Up Pooch's Poo Yourself) program. Dog owners are also encouraged to understand the responsibilities of Responsible Pet Ownership.
Experience nature in the city
Read the geological history of Calgary on the "walls" of this park. Bowmont contains a steep cliff face that illustrates several chapters of the city's geological history. You can also see an unusual, spongy-looking, geological formation called "tufa". Associated with the tufa is a three-metre-high waterfall. Near the waterfall is a scenic lookout over the Bow River Valley. This park provides an opportunity to experience a mature riverine forest with its abundance of flora and fauna.
Bowmont contains grasslands, valleys fed with permanent sources of water and bushy off-shore islands. There is also a mature Balsam Poplar riverine forest. This type of forest was once very common along river banks across the North American prairies. But, because these forests rely on periodic flooding for regeneration and most of the rivers have been dammed, the forests are under threat throughout much of their range.
The waters of the Bow River are home to species such as Canada Geese, Common Mergansers and several species of gulls. The trees and shrubs along the river are migratory routes for many species of warblers and vireos. There is ample evidence of the presence of beavers as many of the trees have been wrapped with wire to protect them from being chopped down. If you like amphibians, Boreal Chorus Frogs and Tiger Salamanders have been seen in the inland ponds.
At the top of the cliff face, you can see a thin layer of soil. This is the rich soil that nurtures the grasslands and crops that are so important in the European history of this area. Under the soil are 18 metres of sediment that were deposited on the bottom of Glacial Lake Calgary. The lake was formed as the last glaciers melted but the runoff was blocked by an ice dam further down the Bow River Valley.
Below the sediments lies the bedrock called the Porcupine Hills Formation. This bedrock was formed about 65 million years ago. When water percolates down from the surface, through the sediments it absorbs calcium carbonate. As it strikes the bedrock it flows sideways and exits out the side of the valley resulting in the falls in Waterfall Valley. The water then deposits the calcium carbonate on the algae covered rocks, producing the tufa.
Two sections of the park have undergone major changes. One area was used for agriculture and commercial greenhouses and the other for a gravel pit and concrete plant. These areas are being restored to a natural environment.