Several of our staff members enjoy this less-well known park just north of Calgary.
The best thing about Big Hill Springs Provincial Park is the proximity to Calgary. (See the map and directions on their webpage.) The park is small and there are only a couple of picnic tables, so take a blanket and a cold lunch. The waterfalls all run down into a series of creeks and bridges at the entrance to the park. It's great for toddlers because the creeks are shallow and slow moving. The kids can play for hours. For older kids and adults, the walking trail is quite steep in places but is only about 2km and takes you through a variety vegetation zones.
Its a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I found a wonderful clipping about Big Hill Springs in our files. Dating from 1934, the article starts as follows: "Memories of Highland glens, of the coombes of Devon or the Derbyshire dales, are apt to rise in the minds of many former residents of the Old Land who follow the winding road that leads from Cochrane to Big Hill Springs. Even without the fairy-like glade that surrounds the springs, with its miniature waterfalls and crystal pools, as the objective, the journey through the wide valley is well worth the visit." The article ends with a letter to the editor from Mrs. C.D. Casey who enjoyed the springs as much then as we do now. "Big Hill Springs...is a veritable little paradise tucked away in a secluded valley."
If you are looking for fun Calgary Staycations, check out this book, Day Trips From Calgary (2006), by Bill Corbett. This book has a nice section on Big Hill Springs Park as well as other great places to visit. Mr. Corbett says in the 2002 edition, "I wrote this book to entice Calgary residents and visitors to consider all directions of the compass when embarking on a day trip from the city. Those who do so will be wonderfully surprised.