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Griffith Woods

All City of Calgary parks | Southwest parks | Contact Parks

Griffith Woods Park is a primarily natural environment park that lies along the banks of the Elbow River in the southwest part of Calgary. This park is very large and is primarily a natural environment park. There are many trails throughout this park, both paved and unpaved, to explore. All of the trails at Griffith Woods Park are flat and easy to walk. The park is a great food source and habitat for animals of all kinds. While visiting the park, please be aware of your surroundings and take BearSmart precautions.

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.

Park features

  • Paved pathways
  • Gravel and dirt trails
  • Pond
  • Wetland
  • Benches
  • 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 habitat to a wide variety of flora and fauna including orchids, moose, deer, a variety of birds and its unique and sensitive natural spruce and balsam poplar forest. It is designated as a special protection natural environment park.

The spring and summer months see a lot of activity in Griffith Woods Park. The Parks & Pathways Bylaw contains regulations to help make City parks and pathways safe and enjoyable for everyone. Violations of these bylaws are subject to fines up to $1500.

NOTE: Fires are not permitted in Griffith Woods Park. If you find a fire pit, see any damage or observe unsafe behaviour please contact 311.

Plant life

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.

Wildlife

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 Northern Flickers, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Gray Jays that frequent this habitat.

History

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.​​​​​​​​​​

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