exploreCalgary by The Bow River

MC |


mC:t    2105.06.03    #makeCalgaryexplore

Whether you walk, bike, run, or float, exploring the city of Calgary along the Bow River is the perfect way to spend these warm, sunny summer days.


The Bow River is one of Calgary’s trademark natural landmarks. The river is sourced from the Bow Glacier in the Rocky Mountains and from there it meanders, cutting the City of Calgary in half before continuing east. As a glacial river its levels are affected by snowmelt and rainfall. In 2013, after heavy rainfall, the river rose to historical heights, broke its banks and caused severe flooding in Calgary. With some rebuilding it is once again a favorite to explore in the city. And there is no better way to explore the city than by river.



In the late 1960s the City of Calgary started developing bike and pedestrian paths along The Bow and Elbow rivers so that residents could soak in its natural beauty. Since then the initiative has expanded from the river paths into communities via on-street paths, improving accessibility. In winter the city clears many paths of snow, so there’s no excuse. So grab a bike or your walking shoes and get out there!


Start a journey at Edworthy Park. There is parking if you choose to arrive by car. Head east on the path and check out some other Calgary communities and landmarks along the way.


Poppy Plaza, Memorial Drive

Poppy Plaza, Memorial Drive


B. Memorial Drive-as you travel down the river path you will be along side Memorial Drive most of the way. This “landscape of memory” is a public space commemorating Canada’s efforts during wartime.








C. Kensington- turn left off the bike path on 10th St NW and explore the trendy Kensington Village. You’ll find over 250 businesses including cafes, restaurants, and clothing stores.





D. St George’s Island– get back on the bike path and continue east. At 12th St turn right onto the bridge onto St George’s Island. As you’re continuing along you might be able to catch a glimpse of some of the animals at the Calgary Zoo.


E. Inglewood- when you get off of St George’s Island, you’ll be on 12th ST SE, head south to 9th Ave SE and you’ll be in Inglewood, “Calgary’s Original Main Street.”




F. Fort Calgary- head west on 9th Ave and get back on the bike path. Cross the bridge, take the right fork in the path and you’ll come across Fort Calgary, the birthplace of the City of Calgary.







G. Prince’s Island Park- continue west on the bike path, now on the south side of the river. Just past Centre Street, cross the bridge onto Prince’s Island Park. This island is the site of many festivals and events in Calgary, and along with its natural park scenery, makes it something you can’t afford to miss looking around!


Peace Bridge

Peace Bridge


H. Peace Bridge- cross the bridge from the island, back onto the south side of the river. You’ll notice the bright red, space-age bridge spanning the river. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, this is quickly becoming a popular photo spot. Cross the bridge, turn left on the path and head back to your starting point.






End your journey at your start, Edworthy Park

Feeling adventurous? Plan your own route using the city’s maps.

Remember! Check the City of Calgary Website for path closures and diversions.

Be Safe! Wear a helmet (if biking), watch out for pedestrians, cars and bikes, and be aware of safety bylaws.


Float or Surf

Once the weather starts to warm up it’s typical to see people floating down the river on rafts, kayaks and canoes. It can be a relaxing trip down the river, as long as you avoid the geese! Grab your own flotation device, or rent one from vendors such the as the Outdoor Centre at the University of Calgary.


River Surfers

River Surfers near the 10th St Bridge


Some spots on the river, like near the 10th Street Bridge, have rapids. There is a growing river surfing culture in Calgary and they meet to show off their skills. If you don’t have your own wetsuit or are a bit scared to try it out, Active Living at the University of Calgary has some river surfing programs.


Remember! The river is deep, fast flowing and can be dangerous. Be safe and follow city bylaws 



The Bow River isn’t just for the Summer. As the weather cools down and the water freezes over, the City of Calgary maintains several rinks on the river. Once the weather starts to turn, be sure to check their site for hours.


So what are you waiting for? Get out there and see where the river will take you!




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