Nose Hill Park is a natural environment park in northwest Calgary and its highest point. This park has a variety of places for photographs. That is why it's one of our favourite parks in Calgary.
It's an excellent place to get outside while still in the city. Connect with nature and take in beautiful views of endless prairie skies, Rocky Mountains, Nose Creek and Bow River Valleys. You'll be reminded that you're still in the city by seeing the downtown with Calgary Tower in the distance, and as the airport is nearby, you can watch the planes take off. Because the park is so big, it's never jam-packed so you can have some quality alone time or family time. With the abundance of hiking and biking trails crisscrossing vast territory, you're in for a treat! This park is a living example of how the high plains looked like.
Getting around the Park
If you love biking, Nose Hill has paved and gravel trails. However, it's better to stay off the dirt trails to avoid additional environmental damage.
You can lose yourself here for hours on the trails. Yet surprising statistic data notes that 10% of visitors to the park don't even leave their cars, preferring to look at the sights from the parking lot.
There are six parking lots located around the park with access to the trails. In addition, there are washrooms at the main entrances.
It was officially declared a regional park in 1980. With 1129 hectares, it's the 4th largest urban park in Canada and 58th globally.
Historically, the hill was a sacred place used for rituals, and the park still has archeological sites dating back thousands of years. For example, stone circles, called 'tipi rings,' can yet be found on the hill.
Rock was brought by the glaciers 17000 years ago from Jasper National Park. Stones and rocks transported by a glacier and left behind after it melted are called 'glacial erratics.' Nose Hill Park has numerous erratics scattered on a hill. One of them is Rubbing Stone, called that because when bison roamed the prairies, they rubbed against this rock and shed their winter coats. The trail of erratics goes past Nose Hill towards Okotoks, where there is the biggest glacier erratic in the world, and towards Montana.
Wildlife and Trees in the Park
The park is a part of the rough fescue grassland ecosystem, and you can imagine how most of the Canadian prairies looked like before European settlers came to this part of the world. There is no bison in the park now, but you can still meet deer, coyotes, porcupines, Richardson's ground squirrels, and northern pocket gophers. The most frequent tree you'll find in the Nose Hill Park is a Trembling Aspen, with some willows, poplars and chokecherries thrown in for good measure. Prairie roses are abundant in the park and add interest with dainty pink flowers in summer and scarlet rosehips in the fall. Prairie crocuses are peeking out of long grass tresses, heralding spring.
There are off-leash dog areas in the park so that you can enjoy the park with your pet companion. In addition, there's a small intermittent lake created with water from melted snow, rains, and runoff in spring. Your dogs would love to swim in that lake.
Get Your Photos in Nose Hill Park
It's relatively easy to get to the park, especially when you have a car. This park offers a lot of great backdrops for your lifestyle and engagement photos.