Scenic parks and wilderness await you in the Edmonton region, made all the more dramatic by the prairie’s expansive clear blue sky.
Parks for the Picking
No matter where you are in Greater Edmonton, a lush field of grass and a tree to relax beneath is not far away. Stop at a playground, skip a few stones, rest in the shade, roast a marshmallow, or take to the paths by foot, bicycle or rollerblades.
- Edmonton River Valley Park. It is 22 times larger than New York’s Central Park, and eight times larger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park. It includes 150kms of multi-use trails, playgrounds, picnic sites, golf courses, off-leash areas and more. For a map call 311 in Edmonton or 780-442-5311 outside Edmonton.
- Edmonton Queen Riverboat. One of the most picturesque ways to view the scenic river valley is aboard the 315-passenger paddlewheeler, Edmonton Queen. Board at Rafters Landing, across the river from the downtown core. Inquiries: call 780-424-BOAT
- Fort Edmonton Park. Enjoy Edmonton’s history at the 1846 fur trade fort or on the streets of 1885, 1905 and 1920 before settling in at one of the many picnic sites in the park. 780-442-5311
- Heritage Trail. Retrace the steps of the pioneers beginning at the Alberta Legislature. This self-guided tour offers a beautiful view of the river valley. 780-427-7362
- Strathcona Wilderness Centre. Explore 550 acres of parkland with 12km of interpretive trails, spruce bog boardwalk, camping and picnic sites plus enrichment programs at the Wilderness Centre. 20 minutes east of Sherwood Park on Township Road 530 and Range Road 212. Call 780-922-3939
- Fort Saskatchewan. Check out the sheep ‘mowing’ municipal lawns around town Thursdays through Sundays. Across the street at the CN Station visit the farmers’ market on Thursday from 4:30 to 7:30pm. 780-992-6200
- Spruce Grove’s Heritage Grove Park. Fifty acres of natural wooded area in the heart of Spruce Grove are linked by 30km of all-weather trails. Also, check out Central Park for skateboarding, water-play and more. 780-962-2611
- St. Albert Red Willow Trail System. 34km of multi-use, paved trails run along the Sturgeon River and beyond. Check out Woodlands Water-Play Park for water-play, skateboarding and volleyball (780-459-1500). Or head north to Cardiff Regional Park (780-939-4321) and toss a line into one of the area’s many fishing holes. The kids can also enjoy nearby playgrounds.
- Trails at Stony Plain. Over 14km of pathways link the entire community. Stop at Shikaoi Park to experience the Japanese-inspired friendship garden or relax at the Rotary Park pond and feed ducks and geese. 780-963-2151
For more information on campgrounds visit www.travelalberta.com.
Three times the size of Prince Edward Island, the unique historic, cultural and natural area just east and north of Edmonton offers eco-fun for everyone. Home to more than 40 designated or informal natural areas, it’s sure to put rewarding views at the end of your binoculars or camera. (For more on Kalyna’s historic side, see page 8) 1-888-452-5962, www.kalynacountry.com
- Elk Island National Park. Second only to Africa’s famed Serengeti for wildlife viewing opportunities, with hundreds of bison, elk, moose and deer. Hike, picnic, camp, bird watch, golf and more. 780-992-5790
- Watchable Wildlife Tours. Observe wildlife in its natural habitat including deer, moose, elk, bison, beaver, porcupine and a wide variety of bird species. 780-405-4880
- Beaverhill Lake. Join the serious bird watchers who flock to this protected habitat. Watch over 270 species of birds, hike the Nature’s Marsh and learn at the interactive Nature Centre. Tofield. 780-662-3269
- Elk Island Retreat. Sleep in a teepee explore hiking trails, and learn about Aboriginal culture. 780-998-0708
- Cooking Lake – Blackfoot Recreation Area. Hike, mountain bike, canoe or ride horseback through 97 sq. km. of backcountry which includes 170km of trails running over rolling hills and past ponds, bogs, small lakes and wildlife. Interpretive Centre and four staging areas with picnic facilities. 780-922-3293
- Strathcona Wilderness Centre. Hike and picnic along 12km of trails. Enjoy views of Bennett Lake or explore a black spruce bog. Rent canoes, take a learn-to-canoe lesson, watch wildlife, and stay in a tent at a walk-in campsite. 780-922-3939
- Waskahegan Trail Association. Join a Sunday hike on the Waskahegan Trail looping through Kalyna Country.
Visit Edmonton’s Countryside
- Country Soul Stroll. The Country Soul Stroll U-Drive Tour is a self-guided driving adventure of summer surprises— farms, gardens, crafts, museums, greenhouses, historical sites and more. 780-986-0063
- TELUS World of Science – Edmonton - Get a free telescopic view of the magnificence above us—constellations, stars, sun spots and the northern lights can all be observed.
Edmonton Valley Zoo
- Valley Zoo - Nestled in the banks of the North Saskatchewan River Valley, the Edmonton Valley Zoo is a special place that inspires love and learning of animals and nature.
- Alberta Legislature. Enjoy beautifully landscaped grounds and free guided tours of the majestic Legislature Building in downtown Edmonton. 97 Ave. & 107 St. 780-427-7362
- Aqualine Aquatic Plants & Waterfeatures. Many beautiful water garden displays set in a natural setting, ranging in size from a large natural pond, to a small pondless waterfall. Sherwood Park. 780-467-3450
- Devonian Botanic Garden. Whether you are a plant enthusiast, nature-lover, or someone seeking to spend a few hours in beautiful natural surroundings this garden is for you. It features 80 acres of display gardens, 110 additional acres of natural areas and ecological preserves, indoor show houses, a butterfly house, Kurimoto Japanese Garden and much more. Guided tram tours are available. Located north of Devon on Highway 60, call 780-987-3054.
- Fort Edmonton Park. Heritage Gardens include many traditional flowers and herbs. Fox Dr. & Whitemud Dr. 311 in Edmonton or 780-442-5311 outside Edmonton.
- The Enjoy Centre. Endless varieties of plants and colourful show gardens. Located in the Enjoy Centre at 101 Riel Dr. in St. Albert. 780-419-6800
- Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. Enjoy the beautiful gardens overlooking the North Saskatchewan River while sipping tea on the patio. 780-424-5181
- Multicultural Heritage Centre Gardens. Walk the grounds or enjoy a cup of tea on the patio while taking in the wonderful flowers, peaceful fountain and magnificent trees surrounding this historic building in Stony Plain. 780-963-2777
- Muttart Conservatory. Edmonton’s premier horticultural attraction, featuring four beautiful glass pyramids filled with rare and wonderful plants from all over the world, with educational programs for all ages as well as an easily accessible gift shop and cafeteria. 9626 - 96A St. Call 311 in Edmonton or 780-442-5311 outside Edmonton.
- Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm. Bring the kids for hours of fun with a great line-up of on-farm festivals, a corn maze, u-pick gardens, petting farm, and fabulous gardens. 56311 Lily Lake Rd. Bon Accord. 780-921-2272
- The Royal Alberta Museum. Wander through the gardens and sculpture park at the Museum and Government House. Stop by the Museum Café and pick up a picnic lunch. 12845 - 102 Ave. 780-453-9100
- Sherwood Park Greenhouses. Spend the afternoon viewing show gardens, plant displays and water fountains at Salisbury Greenhouse. 780-467-5743. Or stop by Greenland Garden Centre for a diverse selection of home and garden décor, and jewelry. 780-467-7557, www.greenlandgarden.com
- Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. Tour the gardens and find out why the village received top honours in the “Communities in Bloom” program. Register for the historical garden tour program. 780-662-3640
Other areas in the Edmonton region offer their own opportunities for outdoor adventure. Visit or call any visitor information centre for a “Visit Edmonton’s Countryside” brochure with all the details you need to travel informed. www.edmontonscountryside.com