Considering a move to Cochrane Alberta, and wondering what the best neighbourhoods might be?
Cochrane is such wonderful place to call home – wether you’re looking for a place to start your family, more room to expand for your growing one, or searching for a vibrant place to retire. This amazing town boasts great accessibility to both Calgary and the Canadian Rockies.
Fireside was officially voted the “best neighbourhood in Cochrane” for 2022 by a local paper. Of course, that may be true for the folks who voted. But each neighbourhood in Cochrane has different things to offer residents who choose to make it home.
Are newer homes more important to you, or are you drawn to larger lots and more mature trees? Are you looking to be closer to the City for a commute, or closer to the Mountains for activities?
In this article, let’s break down the strengths and weaknesses of different neighbourhoods in Cochrane, Alberta. As always, feel free to reach out to me via text, call or email if you have any questions. No question is too small and I’m always happy to help!
Since it was voted best in 2022, this seems like a great place to start! Fireside is one of Cochrane’s newer neighbourhoods, located on the SW side of town, along Highway 22. This charming area is a great place for families, and was first opened in 2011. The final buildout will be complete by ~2024, and will consist of 1500 single family homes and 500 multi-family homes. While some homes in Fireside will have mountain or greenspace views, the location and density makes it a bit harder to get these. Larger homes built for young families and fair lot sizes make this a lovely neighbourhood for kids.
Fireside has the Fireside School (K-8), as well as the Holy Spirit Catholic School (K-9). The commercial area near the neighbourhood entrance has gas, a Tim Hortons, dental clinic, pharmacy and more. Pathways throughout provide great walking opportunities for families, kids and strollers!
Fireside is approximately 15 minutes to the western edge of Calgary, and 35 mins to Calgary YYC airport. Most of Fireside Cochrane is about 60 minutes to the Banff National Park gates. This neighbourhood is not very walkable to downtown Cochrane shops, and it may be a bit slower to get to grocery stores during rush hour – though there is no need to wait for pesky trains! It is one of the closest neighbourhoods to the Highway 1 (via 22), meaning commutes to work could be shorter for some, if your workplace takes you to the Western side of the City.
On the other side of Highway 22, approaching from the TransCanada, you will find River Heights Drive, which takes you into the fantastic area along the south bank of the Bow River. Here you will find the sub-neighbourhoods of Riversong, Rivercrest, Riviera, The Willows, and Precedence. This is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Cochrane! Lots of trails interconnect different areas, culminating in pathways right along the river for great walking. This area mainly consists of Modern Single-family homes in the 1500-2500sqft range, as well as great multifamily options (including some right on the river).
Most of the amenities for this area (besides the natural ones!) are located near the entrance at River Heights Drive. Several auto dealerships (Toyota, Ford & Nissan), plus gas stations and convenience stores line the drive. The area has a Catholic Church, Bow Valley High School, and lots of playgrounds for kids. Downtown groceries and shopping are made more accessible thanks to the newer bridge, cutting down on time driving via the Highway 22. You will also avoid waiting for trains during rush-hour as your home is in the opposite direction when you’re in this neighbourhood.
Due to the nature of this area, many of the homes head downhill towards the Bow River. This can make for some difficult access if you don’t like walking uphill! Thankfully, two bridges connect the area to downtown Cochrane as well as the Spray Lakes Sawmills Family Sports Centre. The newer bridge opens up commuting options for those looking to use Highway 1A to access Calgary, as well as making it easier to get across town. Besides this, commute times to Calgary & Banff areas are similar to those of Fireside above.
OK – these neighbourhoods aren’t right next to each other, but as they share a lot of characteristics I thought they would be good to discuss simultaneously. All three areas have loads of great single-family home options for younger families! Sunset Ridge also has multifamily options with amazing views. Homes and lots range in size and style similarly to Fireside and Riversong above, with more focus on the home as families seek more space in which to grow. This is typical of the “newer” Cochrane neighbourhoods.
The amazing location of these two neighbourhoods gives them potential for amazing views. But – it is also one of the downsides, access can require a climb onto the ridge, and also, traversing the Highway 1A/22 interchange. This intersection is a bit of a construction warzone at the moment, as it is being upgraded to address growing traffic. Once completed, traffic concerns should be alleviated – much to the relief of many commuters in this area!
For schools, Sunset has St. Timothy’s Highschool, plus the Rancheview K-8 school. Sunset also has a restaurant, locally-owned bakery cafe, gas and convenience store. Heritage Hills and Heartland have more commercial: a great pizza place (Mr. Mozzarella!), Co-op liquor store, fitness, restaurants and Petro-Canada gas.
For all of these neighbourhoods, the highway of choice for both Calgary and Rockies access will tend to be the Highway 1A. This is a huge benefit (once the 1A/22 interchange is crossed), as its typically smooth sailing in either direction and much of town doesn’t need to be crossed. Access to downtown and grocery stores is fair, though it can be impeded by rush hour traffic and trains coming through town.
Now for some of the older neighbourhoods and areas of Cochrane! When it comes to these areas, due to their central location in town, a larger amount of property has been devoted to commercial spaces. This makes these areas excellent for rental investment properties, as there are jobs, amenities and shopping close by for potential tenants. This proximity also makes it very convenient for residents and owners as well. Much of these areas are devoted to older single-family homes backing on to green space, as well as some higher density multifamily properties.
If you need it in Cochrane, this is where you’ll find it! Between Downtown, West Valley and the East End, the vast majority of services and shopping in Cochrane is right here. Proximity to the light industrial and commercial areas of town also means things are just that much more accessible. Groceries, restaurants, and big-box stores (like Canadian Tire and Walmart) are all walkable or a short drive. Not to mention historic Cochrane MacKays Ice Cream! Yum.
For locations locally in town, commute and access is excellent. Often you won’t be waiting behind trains like other residents commuting may, and being in “town”, you don’t have to cross it. Depending on where your commute is however, be it to Calgary or the Rockies, you may find yourself crossing a lot of lights just to get out. The 1A into Calgary is likely the commuter route of choice from these neighbourhoods, unless your work is near the TransCanada access to the City.
Do you like great views and walking along riverside paths? These neighbour hoods might be for you! I always like to say that most of the “best” areas of any town are built on first. Thats why some of these older neighbourhoods have such amazing access to green space, riverside walking and big views from the ridge. Homes in these areas are older, but on generously sized lots, with mature trees and landscaping. Many of Cochrane’s schools are in these areas: Cochrane High School, Elizabeth Barrett Elementary, Manachaban Middle, and the Cochrane Christian Academy.
The Riverview area has the Cochrane Golf Club – a great smaller course with 9 full holes, plus 18 holes of mini golf. Along the Bow River, you’ll find off-leash dog areas, plus a great paved trail for running, walking and cycling. There’s even disc-golf down here. Up in Cochrane Heights, there’s excellent access to the Cochrane Ranche House, Cochrane Arena, plus great trails for mountain biking and hiking. Not to mention the views!
Due to their “core” locations in Cochrane, these neighbourhoods may have a bit longer time to get out of town on any commute to the City or Mountains. More intersections and lights means more time at rush hour – though when you’re home, you’ll feel further “away from it all”. When it comes to accessibility, with the exception of a steep walk for Cochrane Heights, these neighbourhoods boast excellent access to key amenities in town.
Last but not least – one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Cochrane! Gleneagles is an idyllic and scenic area, wonderfully planned around a stunning golf course. Nearly every home in this area backs on to green space – be it golf course, park land, trails or epic viewpoints west towards the Rocky Mountains. Homes here are on the older end (beginning from the 1990s mostly), but because of this, lot sizes and footprints are more generous. Homes tend toward then 2000-3000+sqft range, with double or triple garages. Mature trees and manicured landscaping complete the lovely feel of this special neighbourhood in Cochrane.
The main feature for Gleneagles has to be the Links of Gleneagles 18-hole golf course & Clubhouse. This destination course features greens and tee boxes floating in the air along the ridge overlooking the Bow River, Cochrane, and west towards the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The majestic clubhouse also makes a great spot for brunch or an event. Due to the eastern location on the edge of Cochrane, Gleneagles residents need to head down the “big hill” to town for many of Cochrane’s amenities and schools. But a benefit of the proximity to Calgary means residents are closer to Rocky Ridge Co-op, Stoney Trail, and the Rocky Ridge YMCA than other Cochranites might be.
Commuters in this area will look only to the Highway 1A for their Calgary and Rockies routes. There is no shorter way to get into the City than from the 1A at Gleneagles, and drive times to Downtown Calgary, YYC Airport and the University of Calgary are very quick with less lights and no cross town/railway traffic. Accessibility to town is possible via wonderful, paved trails that connect to the trail system along the Bow River. But beware – going downhill is easy. The climb back up is something else entirely!
So what is the Best Neighbourhood in Cochrane Alberta? Ultimately, the answer will depend on a lot fo different factors for each family or individual considering the area. If a turn-key, newer home with modern finishes and technology is what you desire – some of the newer areas may be right for you. If a larger lot and great location is important to you, and you don’t mind putting in a bit of elbow grease, a home in one of the older areas may be a great fit.
No matter what you’re searching for however, having the help of a trusted and experienced real estate agent is the best way to ensure you get exactly what you want out of your home purchase. I’ve helped many families relocate to Cochrane and love the area and all it has to offer. If you have any questions about homes, neighbourhoods, or the community in general, please feel free to reach out to me via text, call or email. I’m always happy to help!