An Edmonton Vacation Offers Endless Outdoor Activities This Winter
Winter Edmonton recreation includes skiing, hiking, ice skating, and much more
Edmonton, Alberta -- A wintertime Edmonton vacation can be an entirely outdoor affair. The city offers the biggest expanse of urban parkland in North America with its gorgeous river valley and vast system of over 22 major parks and natural areas. The river valley itself is nothing short of breathtaking in winter. Twenty-two times larger than New York's Central Park, it includes 150 kilometres (just over 93 miles) of trails for walking, jogging, bike riding, picnicking, snowshoeing or even cross-country skiing. There are many ways to take in Edmonton's charms this winter.
There are also numerous places in the city to enjoy one of the simplest and downright coolest winter sports: tobogganing. Snow conditions permitting, there's tobogganing at Emily Murphy Park, Whitemud Park, Gallagher Hill, Government House Park, and Rundle Park. Those who love skating can enjoy doing so in the fresh air, at particularly scenic outdoor rinks at the Alberta Legislature grounds, City Hall, and Hawrelak Park. As well, there are numerous community skating rinks throughout the city (this is Canada, after all).
Whether you're interested in sightseeing, cross-country skiing, bird-watching, or going for an exhilarating run, the Edmonton recreation areas in and around Edmonton give a person plenty of room to move around in.
At the Alberta Legislature, go for a relaxing winter walk in a beautiful park surrounded by history, grandeur, and parliamentary tradition. Built from 1907 to 1912, Alberta's premier architectural attraction overlooks Edmonton's river valley. Inside and out, the Legislature offers a rich experience in exploring Alberta's past and present, and the Heritage Trail, which starts at the Alberta Legislature downtown, is the perfect place to retrace the steps of the pioneers with a self-guided tour.
Located 20 minutes east of Edmonton, Strathcona Wilderness Centre is a great space for skiing and snowshoeing along 12 kilometres of trails. It's also an opportunity to cross into the darker side of the wild, plunging from light into the deep shade of a black spruce bog.
Elk Island National Park, meanwhile, is second only to Africa's famed Serengeti for wildlife viewing opportunities, with hundreds of bison, elk, moose and deer. It's the perfect place to hike, picnic, camp, bird-watch, cross-country ski, even sleep in a tipi. Adventurous Edmonton daytrips abound including the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Recreation Area, southeast of Edmonton, with 170 kilometres of trail that runs over rolling hills and past ponds, bogs, small lakes and wildlife.
Encompassing the North Saskatchewan river watershed, extending east of Edmonton towards Lloydminister, the Kalyna Country ecomuseum is home to more than 40 designated or informal natural areas, offering plenty of sightseeing opportunities. Located west of Edmonton in Devon, at the east end of Saskatchewan Avenue in the North Saskatchewan river valley, are Devon's Nordic ski trails. Ten kilometres of groomed trails wind through the Lion's campground onto the Devon Golf Course and back.
The incredibly scenic Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area, west of Edmonton, is the ideal spot for nature lovers, with 480 acres of peaceful trails for your choice of walking and horseback riding and 14 kilometres of trails for cross country skiing. Also west of Edmonton is Heritage Grove Park in Spruce Grove, with a stunning 50 acres of natural wooded area linked by 15 km of paved trails. Nearby in Stony Plain, there are over 14 kilometres of trails providing pathways to interesting stops like the Japanese Gardens at Shikaoi Park or Rotary Park, where you can rest and feed the ducks and geese. West of Stony Plain on Highway 628 is Hasse Lake Families, a spectacular 300 acre day use area with a three kilometre trail, an abundant wildlife population, and a lake open for ice-fishing.
For more information on planning an Edmonton vacation or winter recreation opportunities, visit www.edmonton.com/liveallyear.
Executive Director, External Relations