Friday morning I went for a hike in Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. I didn't have any classes, so I wanted to make sure I took advantage of the beautiful weather and spend some time outdoors. If you follow me on Instagram (getfitfiona), you'll have already seen a few photos from the hike. It's such a pretty spot (and so close to the city – it only took me 25 minutes to drive there), so I wanted to devote an entire blog post to it. We arrived at around 10 am on Friday morning to find only one other car in the parking lot at the trail head. By the time we left an hour later there were probably 10 or 12 other cars there. We only came across two other groups on the trail though, so it didn't feel crowded.
This info was posted in the parking lot. It also had a map of the trail which was handy.
The first half of the hike was pretty flat and stayed pretty close to the water. The waterfalls were created by tufa (deposits of limestone). Tufa is found all over the world, from the UK to Australia. Although the waterfalls weren't very big, they look like they belong in a fairy tale. I think this would be a great hike if you have kids – it's not too tough (or long) and there's lots to see along the way.
This tree was growing out of a huge rock on the very, very end. It looked like all it would take to make it fall over was a big gust of wind. I was amazed that it would grow there for so long.
It felt like everywhere I looked there was something else pretty to see. I feel very lucky that there's such a pretty hike so close to the city that feels like it's in the middle of nowhere.
The huge rock on the left was actually part of what looked like a rock wall. The water ran around the end of it.
Because the water comes from an underground spring and it looked like most of it was sheltered by trees, it was pretty cold.
Apparently there used to be an old hatchery and creamery here. These were the only remains of any buildings that I saw.
I wish we could have kept following the water, but we came to the border of Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. We ended up following the trail up the side of hill where we came to this view when there was a break in the trees. We had a great view of the valley to the hills on the other side.
The second half of the loop back towards the trail head was mostly switchbacks through the trees headed back downhill.
We managed to do the roughly 2.5 km trail in about an hour with lots of stops to take photos. It's a great hike if you're looking something close to Calgary. In addition it's not too strenuous – perfect for a relaxing hike to take in nature, as the elevation gain isn't too much. Now that I've discovered it I want to come back at different times of the year and check out how the plants change. While we did see some wildflowers (anemone, wild rose, and geum), I'm sure there will be different ones blooming in six or eight weeks, not to mention in a few months. I think it would be beautiful in the fall with the leaves changing colors as well.