Just Northwest of Calgary on the lower end of Big Spring Coulee, is Big Hill Spring Park. This is a favourite day trip destination for us because we can walk the dogs, exercise the toddler and get some fresh air all within our 2-hour toddler limit.
I call this the Toddler Park because it is great for any small kid who is active; there’s lots to see, water to play in, and neat rocks to climb on. There’s even the occasional surprise like a giant spider on a web, squishy mud puddles, a beaver, or ducks. The park has several waterfalls and at the base of the park near the parking lot is a little picnic area.
The hike around the park is neither tough nor long but like the name suggests the park is situated on a hill so there is a bit of steep climbing as you work your way up the hill. However, what goes up must come down and the final bit of the journey is a steep downhill.
A word of caution, if you’re in the park with a little one and they like to run down hills — particularly on their own — it can be pretty dangerous. There are lots of roots, rocks and cliffs that can trip up a super fast toddler who likes to be chased down hills.
How to get there: Head west on Crowchild Trail and out of the city. About 10.5K past Nose Hill Drive / Crowchild turn right onto Lochend Road. From here drive North for another 11 km until you reach a junction and turn left. About 3 km later you will see the sign for Big Hills Spring Park; here you turn left. Drive until you find the parking lot.