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Big Hill Springs Provincial Park: Who Knew? This Place Is Great!

By Joanne Cook
September 5th, 2011

My husband and I agreed, the only agenda we had for the Labour Day weekend, was to spend time together.  We had a great summer, filled with lots of activity and visiting with friends and trips with family. But now it was time to hang out, uninterrupted, as a family.

Because of that notion, we stumbled on a great, new discovery.
That discovery is Big Hill Springs Provincial Park.

I loved it there!

It was the perfect place to hike, especially if your companions are of the ankle-biter variety. It’s like this place was made for 4 year-olds! There were shallow streams you could easily cross.

There were fallen trees and branches acting as bridges and gateways to the other side. There were waterfalls and muddy pathways and a huge rock you could climb on or hunker under. It was the type of place a kid’s imagination could run wild.

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

The main trail itself was gentle and easy to walk. If you are feeling more adventurous, there are different ways you can wind and scrambled your way to solid ground.

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

We decided to be adventurous. My 4-year old had no problem traversing the roots and rocks and slippery ground. And at no point, do you ever feel lost. You are never far from home base.

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

We packed a lunch and when we were done hiking, we claimed a spot by the stream and had our picnic. The sun was shining, we were surrounded by water and trees and gently rolling foothills. The kids were happy. The parents were happy. It was the perfect way to spend our afternoon.
Close to home

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

The park itself is off the 1A (Crowchild Trail west), the turn-off just past Bearspaw. From there, it’s only 16 kms to the park! To be out of the city and smack dab in the middle of this nature retreat in about half an hour… fantastic! We rounded out the afternoon with a little stop in Cochrane at MacKay’s ice cream (come on… we were so close, how could one not stop?). We were still home well before dinner, in plenty of time to, well, actually figure out what to have for dinner. (We made individual pizzas, complete with homemade dough – FYI).

My point is, this place has everything we are looking for when we want to escape the city. It’s close enough to home that you don’t feel like you are spending more time driving than actually doing. The park itself is just lovely. I kept saying to my husband “it’s just so pretty here – who knew?” And I really think it’s a perfect spot to explore the great outdoors, if you have younger children.

Check it out and let me know what you think?
Just don’t spread the word too much. I’d like to keep this place as my own little secret.

About Joanne Cook

Joanne loves travelling, Mexican food, being in nature and above all enjoying family time with her husband and their kids, Ben and Sam. Joanne is a guest blogger on Family Fun Calgary.


  1. Zara Bloom says:

    You wrote: “Just don’t spread the word too much. I’d like to keep this place as my own little secret.” You’re secret place? It’s been our little secret since we were kids and you told everyone. It was only a matter of time before you Calgary people came out to Cochran and wrecked everything.

    • Calgary people came and wrecked everything? Last time I checked this is a provincial park, funded by all tax-paying, Alberta citizens. This is one of the closest provincial parks to the city, especially those living in the north, not just Cochrane. You are not holier than thou, who gets their own park that is paid for by the rest of us. Don’t be so greedy.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. With Day one of Heritage Park being closed (which we attend normally 3-5 days a week) I was googling free fun in Calgary this morning and yours was the first thing I read. It sounded PERFECT. I have 3 year old twins girls and a 22 month old little boy. Without searching any farther I called my sister in law and we were off. Just got in from a wonderful day. Thanks for letting us in on your secret. We wore rubber boots and brought a change of clothes. SO worth it so they could get right in there and play to their hearts content. Appreciate you pointing us in the right direction.

  3. I plan to tell everyone in Ontario….radio, tv, fb, tweet (I’ll have to learn how first)!!!!
    Love the photos and glad you were able to get away from the inlaws for some peace. : – )

  4. 5 minutes from my house– we love it there! Glad you made it out there to discover!

  5. haha i was going to say the same thing, psst don’t tell! we’ve been going there for a few years and sadly (to me) the word is spreading and it’s getting busier and busier. But it is still a wonderful place to go!

  6. Ohhhhh this kinda sounds cool. Its like camping for the non camper. I might actually try this. I too won’t tell anyone… after I tweet and Facebook it. >smile<

  7. Wow…who knew is right! My kids would love it there. Thanks for sharing that little secret…I won’t tell anyone, I swear 😉