“Would you like to join us for a little hike on Sunday at Brown Lowery Provincial Park? It’s just a little Calgary day trip, about 30 minutes south of the city.”
Pretending I know what my friend with small children is talking about, I enthusiastically reply, “Oh yes that would be great fun!”
Meanwhile I madly search the internet for this unknown-to-me Alberta Provincial Park. Is it Brown Laurie park?
No that search brings up John Laurie Park in Calgary.
My friend, sensing my lack of Albert Provincial Park knowledge, kindly spells it out for me. It’s not Brown Laurie but Brown Lowery.
How is it that for three years we have sought out Calgary activities for our granddaughter and have not heard of Brown Lowery Provincial Park?
What is there to do at Brown Lowery Provincial Park?
When thinking of things to do in Calgary and beyond, often a Banff tour comes to mind. We love Banff National Park, as do 4 million other visitors each year. Finding space where one is not elbow to elbow in Canadian National Park paradise, can be a summer game of hide and seek.
Although considered small at 700 acres, Brown Lowery offers over 12 km ( 7.5 mi) of easy to moderate trails. If you are looking for extreme hiking this Provincial Park does not offer it.
With views of the Canadian Rockies and rolling foothills, as well as a glimpse of downtown Calgary, the assortment of trails are primarily a lovely wander in the woods.
Small creeks, wildflowers, assorted mushrooms and moss, keep the kids enthralled in discovering species.
Our friends’ daughter carried a wildflower book and loved entertaining us with descriptions of what we might use assorted plants for should we become stranded in the forest.
Is there wildlife at the park?
Known as a prime destination for birders, there is no shortage of feathered friends to be seen. I admit that my bird knowledge includes robins and woodpeckers. I am happy to report I identified both.
The Brown Lowery Provincial Park is also known to be home to moose, elk, deer, cougar, black bears and lynx. Cheeky squirrels scampered up and down trees during our hiking.
The assortment of bugs, bees and butterflies spark curiosity of young hikers. Why did that worm cross the hiking trail?
History of the park and where does the name come from?
In 1943 Home Oil acquired this land which had been used for logging from 1896-1915. Some of the old logging roads remain as part of the trail system today.
In the 1950’s, seismic lines ran through the property, in the quest for oil and gas. These too are part of today’s trail system.
In 1969, Home Oil donated the land to the people of Alberta and the government of the Province of Alberta. The gift of wild land was to be kept in its natural state. In 1974 the natural habitat became a provincial recreational area.
On October 27, 1992 the land was designated Brown Lowery Provincial Park. Named in memory of Robert Brown and Major James Robert Lowery, founders of Home Oil and considered pioneers in the Alberta oil industry.
“Home Oil trusts that Brown Lowery Provincial Park will be enjoyed by all who tread these paths and serve as a reminder of the oilmen who helped build this province.” (Excerpt from a commemorative plaque at the park trail head.)
Brown Lowery Provincial Park directions
Approximately 30 minutes southwest of Calgary, Brown Lowery is accessed via Highway 22x and 22. Turn right on to 242 Avenue, then right again at Plummers Road. Park on the north side of Brown Lowery Provincial Park.
Tips for Visiting Brown Lowery Park
-Brown Lowery has a small parking lot and parking is allowed on Plummers Road. Since the park appears to be Calgary’s best kept secret day trip, overcrowding is not an issue.
On arrival at 9 am on a holiday weekend, we are the fourth car in the lot. At noon the lot is full and four vehicles park on the road.
-Washrooms equipped with vault toilets, are available at the parking lot and include toilet paper and hand sanitizer. We suggest to bring these supplies along, just in case the supplu has run out.
-There is no garbage pickup at the park. Please pack out everything you bring in.
-Volunteers maintain the trails, however, they are not wheelchair accessible. Some of the trails have roots and would not be suitable for strollers.
-Dogs are welcome if on leash. Remember to pick up after your pets.
-Brown Lowery is a day use Provincial Park.
-When arriving check the notice board for any updates and wildlife advisories. Although we saw no evidence of bears we suggest carrying bear spray when hiking in Alberta.
– Do not feed wildlife. For more information on safety around wildlife read this article from Alberta Parks.
-Please stay on the designated trails and share space with other hikers. As tempting as it might be to pick wildflowers or mushrooms, please do not disturb these natural ecosystems.
Where is your favourite place to hike? or a best kept secret trail in your neck of the woods you are willing to share?
Other articles about Alberta