10 trails worth walking in winter in the Edmonton area

If you’re done with circling your own neighbourhood on your socially distant stroll, here are some hiking trail suggestions that might help.

'There’s a lot of things we’re continually told we can’t do and I think the outdoors is something we can do’

Danny Au takes his regular stroll along the Fort Edmonton Footbridge in southwest Edmonton. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

Danielle Weiss admits she's a creature of habit when it comes to running and walking; she travels the same paths in central Edmonton over and over.

But during the pandemic, the volunteer coordinator with the Edmonton section of the Alpine Club of Canada has been making a point of finding new routes, most recently landing in the southwest. 

"That was the first time exploring over there in the 10 years I've lived in Edmonton. We ended up in this field; it doesn't even feel like you're in the city anymore."

Weiss found herself near the Fort Edmonton Footbridge. "You couldn't even really see many buildings. It felt like getting out of town, without getting out of town."

Fort Edmonton Footbridge

Fort Edmonton Footbridge by the numbers

2 years ago
Duration 1:14
Take a stroll across the Fort Edmonton Footbridge along the trails and enjoy the view from the top of the Wolf Willow stairs.

You can see more from the Fort Edmonton Footbridge and trial system on Our Edmonton Sunday at noon and 11 a.m. Monday on CBC TV and CBC GEM. 

Kinnaird Park

Weiss says Alpine Club of Canada members often venture into Borden Park and into lesser known Kinnaird Park. A hidden gem with "great views" and a connection to Dawson Park. 

 "We've done that hike in all seasons," Weiss says, adding the two-kilometre stroll is a bonus for people without a vehicle as it is close to the Stadium LRT station. 

Gold Bar Park

Nestled in east Edmonton, Gold Bar Park is another top pick for Alpine Club members.

Weiss says it's perfect for snowshoeing, skiing and long walks with connections to Capilano, Goldstick and Rundle parks. 

Terwillegar Park Footbridge links to Oleskiw River Valley Park on the north side of the river in southwest Edmonton. (Harmony Medland-Wolgemuth )

Terwillegar Park 

The ample parking and versatility of this space puts Terwillegar Park at the top of this River Valley Alliance staffers list for spots to explore. 

"There's a lot of things we're continually told we can't do and I think the outdoors is something we can do," says Makennah Walker.

"It's a great place for all users, whether you're going with your dog or if you want to go on some of the more adventurous trails, also great for fat-bikers on the upper trails." 

Whitemud Ravine

"It kind of puts you feeling like you're in the mountains cause you're away from the traffic," Walker says about the Whtemud Ravine not far from the Alfred H. Savage Centre.

From here you can head north or south, in the ravine. "It's pretty magical," she says.

The Whitemud connects to the Blackmud Ravine, the Twin Brooks area and spots like the Larch Sanctuary.

A downy woodpecker spotted in the Larch Sanctuary in the Whitemud Nature Reserve. (Rick Bremness/CBC)

Riverside Nature Trail 

"For me, it's like a mental health reprieve in getting out into the trails," says Walker, who tries to get out everyday.

The Riverside Nature Trail allows you to get way out, she says. 

The paved trail east of Edmonton is accessed off Range Road 232 in Strathcona County. 

"If you're wanting to do a bit of a distance, you've got about 13 kilometres of easy access trails and lots of parking," Walker says. 

Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park

If birdwatching while walking is what you're after, then the 1.3-kilometre boardwalk at Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park could be the answer.

You can get to the John E. Poole Boardwalk from west of Ray Gibbon Drive, across from LeClair Way.

Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Recreation Area

"Fantastic," is the word Rebecca Ellis uses to describe the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Recreation Area east of Edmonton.

The conservation manager with the Edmonton and Area Land Trust points to about 125 kilometres of groomed trails plus 60 kilometres of ungroomed trails. 

The natural area of Glory Hills in Parkland County offers four kilometres worth of trails to explore. (Patty Klak)

Glory Hills

"The natural spaces near to us are very important, especially when we're not able to go much further," Ellis says. "People still need to and want to connect to nature." 

Glory Hills is a spot known to locals in Parkland County north of Stony Plain that features 110 acres of wetlands and four kilometres of trails. 

Boisvert's GreenWoods

For Ellis, another find is the 1.5-kilometre trail loop at Boisvert's GreenWoods. Located in Sturgeon County, north of Morinville, this area of protected forest surrounded by agricultural fields is great for spotting wildlife. 

But Ellis says you really can't go wrong with any trail as long as you're getting out. 

"Any place you would have gone in the summer for a hike, you can go there in the winter too."


Adrienne Lamb


Adrienne Lamb is the host and producer of Our Edmonton featured weekly on CBC TV. She served for several years as CBC Radio's national arts reporter in Edmonton. Prior to moving to Alberta in 2001, Adrienne worked at CBC in Ontario and New Brunswick. Adrienne is a graduate of Western University with a degree in English and Anthropology and a Masters in Journalism.


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