When driving through the Alberta prairie, it doesn’t take long before you see oil pumps dotting the horizon; for Albertan’s it’s understood, we are the energy province of Canada. However, sometimes we need to look past the pumps to find those little hidden gems of nature, sometimes we overlook our own “Wind in the Willows” landscape because we are too busy focusing on those recognizable metal beasts lining a farmer’s field.
Thankfully, I have found my little “Wind in the Willows” corner of Alberta, personally, I would love to keep it my own little secret; but when there is a large sign on the highway pointing the way, it is no longer mine alone.
Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, a big name for a relatively small park; located just 20 minutes northwest of Calgary on Highway 567. For those of us who have read the quintessential children’s novel, the Wind in the Willows, it is easy to conjure up images in your head of what this park is like; little waterfalls lining the worn pathway, quaint little bridges rising over the babbling creek below, the freshness off the air, and cows mooing in the distance. The only difference, giant tufa’s initially line the pathway, formed when calcium and carbonate water emerged from the crusts surface.
This relatively short hike of only 2.5 kilometers gains a mere 20 meters in elevation; however small, the scenery is beautiful. I have visited this park on numerous occasions and I have yet to see it swarming with people, it still feels untouched compared to other parks in the area. The park entrance provides a small picnic area located near the creek, a perfect setting for a family outing. Keep in mind, mosquitoes and other bugs are plentiful, so keep the bug repellent within arm’s reach. Also, this is bear country; they have the right-away.
Categories: Around Alberta