After 28 years of living in the City of Calgary, I thought I had discovered all there is to discover. Boy, was I wrong. I love to get out of the city, be in nature and smell the fresh air and never in a million years did I think Calgary had something like Paskapoo Slopes. A friend suggested this hike to me as he loved the idea of an urban hike. Personally, I had never even heard of an urban hike before but when we got there I was pleasantly surprised.
Paskapoo Slopes is located in the community of Cougar Ridge and while trying to find the trailhead, you are driving through a community of massive houses, schools and playgrounds. The whole time I was thinking "As if there is a beautiful nature hike around here!!". I tell you, I was pleasantly surprised.
We arrived at the trail head and were immediately immersed in trees and shrubbery as soon as we got onto the path. Within a few feet, I completely forgot I was in the city. I could hear the birds in the trees, and at one point even the sound of a bullfrog croaking as we walked by. The noise pollution was virtually non-existent and we could no longer see the massive houses that framed our drive to the trail head.
It is a substantially large natural area with numerous trails spreading everywhere like a web. There are so many options of which route to take, you could do it differently each time you go. The coolest part though, is if you stay on the main trail you will come across a couple of old abandoned cars that have been there since the dawn of time it seems. Keep exploring and if you're lucky, you'll get to see an old Buddhist monument. We were on a bit of a time crunch and we were not able to find it. It's easy to get yourself lost in the walk because there are so many directions to take. Just know, that you continue to drop in elevation so be prepared for the trek back up!
Just as my mind was forgetting about the fact that we were in the city, the dreaded sound of construction started creeping through the trees. Turns out, this beautiful piece of nature is slowing being encroached upon by urban expansion. A large portion to the west and north of the slopes is disappearing and there is currently construction underway. I don't know how much longer it is going to remain as serene as it is. If you stay away from that area and head east though, you won't have to look at the construction eyesore.
It's a great place to go to unwind. You feel like you are away from the city limits and can just let all the stress and pressure of the day go. I highly recommend that you take the opportunity to enjoy this hidden gem, while it you still have the chance.