Grab your microspikes, it’s time for spring hiking! Spring’s the perfect time to try out some new hikes near Calgary. You get all the beauty of the mountains with fewer crowds, and if you’re lucky the bears are still hibernating. Just beware, you might get a knee-deep snow surprise if you’re not careful. It’s all in the beauty of spring hiking season!

TUNNEL MOUNTAIN

At just about 1,700 metres high, this hike is perfect to get some views without all the snow. It’s a favourite for early spring hikers for its views of Mt. Rundle and Banff. Bring microspikes if you have them, or be prepared for some light sliding. Nothing wrong with some light sliding. Pro tip: bring lunch for a little summit picnic!

Where: Tunnel Mountain Dr across from the Tunnel Mountain Trail parking lot
Distance: 3.9 KM
Difficulty: Moderate

PRAIRIE MOUNTAIN

prairie mountain

This lil guy is the go-to conditioning hike at the beginning of the season. The sun-facing slope means it’s among the first to clear up come spring. However, it feels a lot like being on a stairclimber at level 10 the entire time. On the plus side, it’s nice and close to Calgary so you can promptly get your tush in an Epsom salt bath afterwards.

Where: Highway 66 just past Elbow Falls
Distance: 6.4 KM
Difficulty: Hard

PTARMIGAN CIRQUE

spring hikes calgary

This is a super quick hike for impressive view payoff. The interpretive trail takes you partway up Mount Rae until you’re chilling in the middle of a mountain bowl (AKA cirque, if you’re feeling fancy). You’ll have to wait patiently for Highway 40 to open, but the minimal effort required to enjoy this little oasis makes it a great late spring hike. Go back up in the summer to climb all the way to the Rae Glacier for max views!

Where: Highway 40 near the Highwood Pass parking lot
Distance: 4.3 KM
Difficulty: Moderate

RAWSON LAKE

rawson lake

Stroll around Upper Kananaskis Lake to this gorgeous spot. You’ll fare a bit better if you have spikes, but the packed-down snow means this hike is great for early season adventurers. Enjoy views of stunning Sarrail Ridge while you picnic, and maybe plan to come back when the weather warms to get yourself up there (there’s avalanche risk on that side of the lake in spring so… just don’t). However, just don’t be that guy and venture onto the lake. It might not be frozen all the way anymore, and you’re gonna be cold if you take a surprise swim.

Where: Near the Upper Kananaskis Lake day use area
Distance: 8.9 KM
Difficulty: Moderate

SHOULDER OF YAMNUSKA

yamnuska

Good ol’ Yam might not quite be thawed enough to take on the famed chain route. However, the shoulder of Yamnuska (also called Raven’s End) clears out a bit faster. Of the three routes up Yamnuska, this one is the most shoulder season friendly. Take a jaunt up for perfect south/west views minus all the snow.

Where: Off Highway 1A from Yamnuska Trail area
Distance: 7.2 KM
Difficulty: Hard

GRASSI LAKES

grassi lakes

If you’re on the novice end of things, no worries. This hike is notoriously easy while still being super pretty. The “easy” route is open year-round, and the “difficult” side opens in early spring. Take the kiddos and the dog, no special equipment or skill needed! Although, there’s a pretty dope waterfall if you go the hard way… might be worth it, pals.

Where: Ken Richie Way off Highway 742
Distance: 3.2 KM
Difficulty: Easy

JUMPINGPOUND SUMMIT

jumpingpound

This is the easiest summit you’ll ever bag, promise! It’s a quick run up for great views. Since it’s lower in elevation, there’s not that looming threat of an avalanche that can put a damper on other spring hikes. Once you’re at the trailhead, the path is easy to follow. Great if you want pup to join as well. Then again, do you ever NOT want pup to join?

Where: Off Powderface Trail
Distance: 6.1 KM
Difficulty: Moderate

HEART CREEK

heart creek

Heads up: don’t confuse this one for the formidable hike up Heart Mountain. We don’t recommend that this early, or if you want to feel your legs the next day. However, Heart Creek is a nice little adventure with prime views, minus the elevation gain. It’s perfect for a casual outing or little ones.

Where: Off Range Rd 91A across from Lac Des Arcs
Distance: 4.7 KM
Difficulty: Easy

CHESTER LAKE

chester lake

This snowshoer’s paradise is ideal if we get some classic spring snow. Let’s be real, there’s always some classic spring snow. Make the most of it and go explore Chester Lake, which stays easily accessible despite the white stuff. You can hike on the packed down trail or snowshoe on the fluffy stuff. Bonus points if you build a snowman.

Where: On Highway 742 near the Burstall Pass day use area
Distance: 9.7 KM
Difficulty: Moderate

TROLL FALLS

hike

This one’s a great beginner outing. It’s ideal if you’ve got kids restless from being inside all winter, or if you want the great outdoors without getting all sweaty. Spring is ideal to catch the waterfall still frozen without all the snow on the trail. Such views! Keep your eyes peeled for the Trolls. We haven’t spotted them yet but we hear they’re feisty.

Where: Stoney Trail off Mt Allan Dr
Distance: 3.4 KM
Difficulty: Easy

We’re itching to get out there too! Grab your bear distractions friends and get exploring on some spring hikes near Calgary. You’ll be that much more in shape when your buddies want to take on Ha Ling in July. Leave em in your dust!