Here is a map with some trail heads around the Bow Valley area.


Ghost-Waiparous Trails Association

The Ghost Waiparous recreation lease area and trail system, known as the Back 40, is provided for the enjoyment of all, through a partnership between the Municipal District of Bighorn (MD), the Summer Village of Waiparous (SVW) and the Ghost-Waiparous Trails Association (GWTA) under an agreement with the Government of Alberta, Environment and Parks. These facilities are maintained by community volunteers following the Back 40 Resource Management Plan.

FireSmart planning has been undertaken by the partners and will be moving forward under the guidance of the Back 40 Firesmart Committee (a GWTA working committee with members from Benchlands, Ghost, SVW and Forestry) as funding opportunites arise with community information and consultation occuring at each operational planning step. Ghost-Waiparous Back 40 FireSmart Plan questions should be addressed to:

” Back 40″ Trails Information brochure


Ghost Watershed Alliance Society & Ghost Hikers

Ghost Hikers – Guided Walks in the Watershed are planned each year (spring, summer and fall) and listed on the News-Events section of their website

Exact meeting times and places will be posted prior to each walk .

MD Community Trail Maps Inventory


Information on some other local trails:

Bow Valley Provincial Park Trails
Rating: easy Distance: 1.9 to 2.5km
Elevation gain: negligible
Allow: 30 minutes to 1 hour per trail
Access: Drive 83km west from Calgary on Hwy 1 and take the Bow Valley Park exit onto Hwy 1X. Turn left after 1km into the park entrance. All of the trailheads are well-signed.

This small, often-overlooked park is a magical place of wildflowers, beaver ponds, birds and bubbling springs. Six short interpretive walks suited to everyone from toddlers to seniors provide a close-up view of this valley environment.

Heart Creek
Rating: easy Distance: 4km return Elevation gain: 100m
Allow: 1 hours return.
Access: Drive 92km west of Calgary and take the Heart Creek/Lac des Arcs exit. Follow the signs to the south side of Hwy 1 to the trailhead parking lot.

This popular trial winds its way up Heart Creek to a hidden waterfall. It’s an ideal stroll for kids of any age who are fascinated by water.

Grotto Canyon
Rating: easy Distance: 4.2km return to waterfall. Elevation gain: 50m
Allow: 1 hours return.
Access: From Calgary, drive 83km west of Hwy 1 and take the Exshaw exit. Follow Hwy 1X north for 4.3km and turn left onto Hwy 1A. Continue 11.2km west to the signed Grotto Mountain trailhead on the right.

This trail leads up a creek bed into a narrow canyon enclosed by imposing gray limestone walls. If you’ve got very sharp eyes, you may also spot a couple of 500 to 1,000 year-old native Indian pictographs.

Trans Canada Trail – Bow Corridor Link Trail
Rating: moderate Distance: 8.5km one-way. Elevation gain: negligible
Allow: 2 hours each way
Access: Drive 92km west of Calgary and take the Heart Creek/Lac des Arcs exit. Follow the signs to the south side of Hwy 1 to the trailhead parking lot.

This section of the Trans Canada Trail was officially opened in 1997. While this trail parallels the Hwy 1 between the Heart Creek trailhead and Dead Man’s Flats, most sections are buffered from the traffic noise and allow for a wonderful and accessible nature experience.

Centennial Ridge – North Approach
Rating: very strenuous Distance: 21km return to the summit of Mt. Allan Elevation gain: 1400m
Allow: 12 hours return
Annual Trail Closure: April 1 to June 21 for the bighorn’s lambing season.
Access: From Calgary, drive 99km west on Hwy 1 to Dead Man’s Flats. Make three consecutive right turns to cross the overpass to the south side of the highway. Continue another 1.5km to Alpine Resort Haven and turn right just before the resort into the gravel parking area.

It is not surprising that the highest maintained trail in Canada rewards fit hikers with the best views of the area. Although the north approach is not as popular as the south approach, it does offer a couple of advantages: If you’re doing the entire traverse, you ascend rather than descend the difficult rock steps on the north ridge.

Wind Ridge
Rating: moderate Distance: 12.6km return Elevation gain: 760m
Allow: 6 hours return
Annual Trail Closure: Dec. 15 to June 15.
Access: Located 10.5km east of Canmore on Hwy 1 at Dead Man’s Flats exit. Turn south toward Alpine Resort Haven and continue about 200m past the entrance to Alpine Resort Haven to park in the small trailhead parking area.

This trail leads to a long ridge in a secluded valley that offers some of the most spectacular views in the Canmore area

Thanks to Gem Trek Publishing for these area trail descriptions. For details on Gem Trek and their detailed maps go to