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Winding its way from the Rocky Mountains all the way to the Alberta foothills, Bow River is an expansive waterway. Along its route, the river passes through Calgary and the river banks are a popular outdoor recreation spot for the city dwellers. Many walking paths and scenic vistas can be found along the river. Outdoor sports enthusiasts can find kayak rentals, fly fishing options, cycling tracks and much more. Deer, great horned owls, and beavers have been spotted along Bow River.
Whether your idea of outdoor adventure is a multi-day mountain expedition or an afternoon of in-line skating, the Outdoor Program Centre at the University of Calgary will have you outfitted. The center offers everything from hiking trips to cross-country ski outings, first aid courses to bicycle repair clinics, and sea kayaking tours to avalanche survival training. Its rental department loans out equipments of all kinds, whether you need a camping stove or a canoe. Prices are reasonable and the staff seems to know everything about everything.
Step out of your comfort zone and experience the thrill of learning a new skill while getting the benefit of a cardio and muscle workout at the Calgary Climbing Center. This indoor climbing facility fosters a safe environment while allowing challenges, whether climbing rocks, boulders or using their gym facility. Build teamwork skills where as one climbs, the other acts as guide. The Calgary Climbing Center is a good place for increasing stamina, strength, building social skills, and has become a favorite hang-out for schools, corporate events, parties or even families that like to climb together.
Situated on the Glenmore Reservoir, Glenmore Sailing School is the largest sailing school in Canada. Instructor-led sailing programs are offered May through November, and a popular program of sailing lessons for junior high and high school students are organized during May, June, September, and October. Visitors can rent boats for sailing excursions on double occupancy junior boats, or the “Jane Mary," a 22-foot sloop-rigged Catalina day cruiser fit for up to eight adults. Boats are rented on a first-come, first-serve basis and cannot be reserved. Please note, the sailing school rents boats daily from July through October, and usually on the weekends during others parts of the year.
Located on the northern side of the Bow River, Bowmont is a lush natural park established in the 1980s. The park features miles of hiking trails, picnic tables, playgrounds, a soccer and baseball field. This expansive park is spread out over 164 hectares (405 acres) and attracts adventure sports enthusiasts, families, birders, dog walkers and those looking for a fun day outdoors. Be sure to check out the park near sunrise or sunset for spectacular photo opportunities!
Canada Olympic Park was the venue for the 1998 Winter Olympics and offers a variety of adventure sports facilities. These facilities are used both by high-performance winter athletes and by ordinary, adventurous, Calgarians. The bobsled track immortalized by four Jamaican sledders continues to be used for World Cup events. The downhill ski slope is a popular entry-level spot for skiers, while the half-pipe area crawls with local snowboarders. The park also gets steady summer use by cross-country and downhill mountain bike racers. Inside the main COP building there is a restaurant/bar and the Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum. Prices vary according to activity.
Muller Windsports, founded by the Muller family gliding enthusiasts, organizes paragliding, hang gliding, and kite handling lessons from the top of Cochrane Hill, just west of Calgary. The hangar and sales center has a fully-stocked equipment store and repair shop dealing in water and wind kites, hang glider stock, accessories, and the latest in gliding and kiting gear. Cochrane Hill is a good place for soaring and training, strategically situated high above the prairies east of the Rocky Mountain Foothills and exposed to strong winds from three directions.