For a mini-adventure close to home, explore Brown-Lowery Park and look for mountain bluebirds along Plummers Road.
Brown-Lowery Provincial Park is a pretty little park in the foothills that offers great mountain views from the west side. Named for James Lowery and Robert Brown, who founded Home Oil Company and donated the land to the province in 1969, the park has 12 kilometres of forested trails to explore.
As we turn off the Cowboy Trail, and head west on Plummers Road, we gaze intently at nest boxes on fence posts (there are dozens along the road but not many places to pull over), hoping to catch a glimpse of mountain bluebirds that live around here. At a pullout beside mailboxes, we are rewarded by the sight of tree swallows and a mountain bluebird hard at work. While bluebirds are known for being quite friendly, this particular one is shy, retreating to the trees when cyclists pass by, so we observe it afar. The tree swallows, meanwhile, aren’t concerned with us at all and continue to catch bugs midair and bring them back to their nest box.
Idyllic ranches give way to forest, and before we know it, we’ve arrived at Brown-Lowery Provincial Park. We decide to hike Wildrose West to Lookout and return via Pine Hill, Old Mill West, and Wildrose East for a 5.4 km loop with 95 metres of elevation gain. After crossing a few little bridges, we quickly gain the ridge. A map at the trailhead and every junction makes it easy to find our way.
Aspens add drama to the ridgetop with their spotted trunks and almost neon new leaves, while purple shooting stars (wildflowers) dot the sides of the trail. From time to time, little windows in the trees reveal mountains, but the best is yet to come. When we think we’ve missed the viewpoint, we arrive a large clearing with a bench on the left, and another about 50 metres to our right. “Eagle View” at right offers a lovely view of the Rockies, while “City View” offers a less impressive view of downtown Calgary. We enjoy a little snack while soaking up some sunshine, then head back into the trees to return to the parking lot.
From the lookout, you can return the way you came, or make a loop. See the Alberta Parks | Brown Lowery Provincial Park Trail Map for options.
All in all, we were pleasantly surprised by this little park and recommend it for a short, midweek jaunt if you live in south Calgary.
Know Before You Go
- Parking is limited, so go early in the day or midweek if you can. Please note that parking is not permitted on the north side of the road.
- At time of writing, some bridges were being built/rebuilt on Wildrose East and Old Mill West. To avoid huge puddles and deep mud, choose another trail.
- Please do not feed the birds; human food is bad for them!
Brown-Lowery Provincial Park is located southwest of Priddis, off Highway 22. Get Google Map directions here: https://goo.gl/maps/sg6PJgy4bwHFgJmJ7.
More Trails to Try
- Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, Cochrane
- Heart Creek Bunker (aka Bow Valley Bunker)
- Midnight Peak, Kananaskis
- Mockingbird Lookout, Ghost River Wilderness
- Sunrise Hill, Elbow Valley