From brilliant hues of aspen, golden shades of larch, year-round sunshine, crisp cool nights, warm days, jaw-dropping views of the Rocky Mountains, and historical museums, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is a delightful city to visit.
Calgary, a city of 1.6 million, is located in Southern Alberta. It is Alberta’s largest city and the third-largest city in Canada. The city is known as one of the most livable cities in North America. An efficient mass transit system makes Calgary an accessible city to navigate. The best times for fall colors in Calgary are September and early October.
Here are some of my favorite places to enjoy the fall foliage.
Where to Enjoy Nature’s Fall Colors
The Bow River Pathway is a 27-mile network of pedestrian and bicycle paths connecting several parks. Edworthy and Shouldice are two of the most popular parks.
Edworthy Park, located in Southwest Calgary, offers lovely skyline views of downtown Calgary with fall colors of the turning leaves of aspen, willow, and balsam poplar. The ??? acre park includes the Douglas Fir Trail and Lawrey Gardens. There are picnic sites, ample parking, public washrooms, and off-leash areas.
Shouldice Park, in Northwest Calgary, has beautiful river walking paths and is part of a giant athletic complex with an aquatic center and arena. There are also picnic sites, fire pits, and BBQ stands.
Bowness Park, also in Northwest Calgary, is an urban park of 74 acres. Situated along the Bow River, the walking paths along the shallow lagoon are a favorite for many. There are ample parking and picnic sites.
Confederation Park, a 395-acre park in NW Calgary, was created in 1967 to celebrate the centennial of Canada’s Confederation. Stroll along the pathways, stream, and wetlands and enjoy the sparkle of the yellow poplars. Great for leaf peepers and birders. Look also for small wildlife. There is ample parking, picnic sites, tennis courts, and a golf course.
Where to Find Alberta’s Golden Larch Trees
The Alpine Larch trees are found throughout southern Alberta in the mountain regions, such as Lake Louise and Banff. This makes a lovely day trip from Calgary- only about 79 miles. On the drive, you will be awed by jaw-dropping views of the Rocky Mountains.
Whereas other conifer trees stay green all year, larch trees turn a spectacular golden color in the fall before the needles drop to the ground.
The season is very short – only about mid-September to early October. Then, all the golden glitter is gone. So plan your trip accordingly. Here is a link to 19 amazing larch hike trips.
Other Adventures To Enjoy In Calgary
Along with marveling at the fall foliage, explore these exciting places.
Glenbow at the Edison
The Glenbow at the Edison was previously known as the Glenbow Museum. The center is being renovated and will re-open as the JR Shaw Center for Arts & Culture. The focus is on Western Canadain History and Culture. The museum works closely with First Nations to preserve their stories. The collections include artifacts from Blood, Cree, Siksia, and other peoples. I have spent many hours at the museum. I also enjoyed learning about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and reminiscing over the collection of vintage toys. Check the link for updates.
Another of my favorites is the Lougheed House National and Provincial Historic Site. The Victorian Mansion, built in 1891, was the home of Sir James Lougheed and family. The stained glass windows feature the flora and fauna of Alberta.
Guided tours are available and highly recommended – must be booked in advance. Click this link to book.
Winsport: Formerly called Canada Olympic Park (COP), home to the 1988 Winter Olympics, offers visitors many sports events. Fall events include hiking, mountain biking, summer bobsledding, mini golf, wall climbing, and zip-lining. Readers of a certain age will recall the debut of the Jamaican National Bobsled Team and Eddie, The Eagle, ski-jumper. We all cheered them on!
Spruce Meadows, the multi-purpose equestrian and sports facility, has twice been named the #1 show jumping facility in the world. With their own production studios, they produce “Spruce Meadows Chronicles,” the show-jumping TV series broadcast to over 100 countries. They also have a fine reputation for training and breeding Hanoverian horses.
The Calgary Zoo is the second-largest zoological park in Canada, with over 1,000 different animals from more than 100 species. Visit different sites such as the Canadian Wilds Area, Destination Africa, Exploration Asia, Prehistoric Park, and the Dorothy Harvey Gardens.
One of the missions of the zoo is research and conservation. Check Gorillas On The Line to learn about the plight of gorillas in Africa and what you can do to help by collecting and recycling old cell phones. The Calgary Zoo is the only Canadian partner in the Whooping Crane Recovery Program, which has saved the species from the threat of extinction.
Fall is one of the nicest times to visit Calgary. The colors of nature dazzle and Canadian hospitality and traditions delight visitors. Plan a visit soon – you will be glad that you did!