HIKING TRAILS 10 BEST EDMONTON


Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton, is good for more than just hockey games, pickup trucks and West Edmonton Mall. Hiking trails ranging from 2.5 km to 309 km draw city-slickers out of the concrete jungle and into the glorious outdoors. Some of these trails are wild, some are urban and others are downright paved. The one thing they aren't? You won't find a single Rocky Mountain hike on this list, which means you'll spend more time outdoors and less time in the car. Enjoy! 

 

Edmonton River Valley Trail

Trail length: 29.9 km one-way

Difficulty: Easy-moderate depending on duration

Why it's awesome: Views of the North Saskatchewan River are easy on the eyes. 

Description: This paved and granular walking/cycling trail runs through the City of Edmonton. When done start to end, users cross the river a total of six times.

Where is the Edmonton River Valley Trail trailhead? Click here 

Distance from Edmonton: 0 km

 

Waskahegan Trail (sections)

schnee hill Waskahegan TrailJoAnne Burek 

Trail length: 309 km (total) - loop

Difficulty: Varies

Why it's awesome: Wildlife spotting (including swans and hawks), grazing for wild berries, and a landscape of lakes, streams, grassland and meadows. 

Description: This epic, 309-km trail celebrates its 50th year anniversary in 2017. Day hikers can, of course, tackle the trail in sections. Waskahegan Trail is unique in that the route passes mostly through private land and is wholly maintained by dedicated volunteers. 

Waskahegan Trail trailheads: If you're wondering why you can't find a good map of the trail, it's no accident. Maps are only provided to Waskahegan Trail Association members so that all trail users are first indoctrinated into the Association's partnership-in-trust. However, non-members are welcome to drop in on free guided weekend hikes. See the schedule on their website or this Meet Up group.

Read more about the Waskahegan TrailExplore Magazine: 35 of Canada's Longest Hiking Trails 

Distance from Edmonton: 0 - approximately 80 km at the outer loop

 

Chickakoo Lake Rec Area Trails

Trail length: 14 km total

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Why it's awesome: a scenic forest and a glimmering lake offers up bird watching and fishing. 

Description: This all-season, multi-use trail network attracts boots, hooves, paws and bicycle tread. Winter hikers and cross-country skiers can take refuge in the warming chalet during the colder months of the year.

Directions to Chickakoo Lake Rec Area: trailforks.com/chickakoo-lake-recreation-area

Distance to Edmonton: 48 km

 

Wood Bison Trail

Elk Island National Park

wood bison trail elk island national parkParks Canada / Elk Island National Park of Canada

Trail: 16-km loop

Difficulty: Difficult

Why it's awesome: Wildlife sightings and wide open spaces show off the splendor of the Great Plains ecosystem that this national park is famous for. 

Description: Hikers will share this trail with the wood bison, moose, elk, deer, small mammals, birds and waterfowl that inhabit Flyingshot Lake. Wood Bison Trail passes through open grasslands just off Highway 16.

Directions to Wood Bison Trail trailheadClick here 

Distance from Edmonton: 50 km

 

Shoreline Trail

Elk Island National Park

Parks Canada / Elk Island National Park of CanadaParks Canada / Elk Island National Park of Canada

Trail length: 6-km return

Difficulty: Easy

Why it's awesome: Mixed-wood forest, wildlife sightings (especially beaver) and a lovely picnic area. 

Description: This paved trail traces the shores of Astotin Lake. Hikers can view American white pelicans, red-necked grebes and other unique waterfowl from Beaver Bay picnic area.

Directions to the Shoreline Trail trailheadClick here 

Distance from Edmonton: 50 km

 

Hayburger Trail

Elk Island National Park

hayburger trail Parks Canada / Elk Island National Park of CanadaParks Canada / Elk Island National Park of Canada

Trail length: 12.2 km loop

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation gain: Minimal; trail is flat

Why it's awesome: Wildlife sightings (especially moose), a black spruce bog, boreal bird watching, aspen forest and meadows. 

Description: Elk Island is a mixture of dense forests, shaded paths and peat moss bogs. Hayburger Trail is a great track to hike; it is also used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

Directions to the Hayburger Trail trailheadClick here 

Distance from Edmonton: 54 km

 

Lost Lake Trail

Waskahegan Staging Area, Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Rec Area

Trail length: 14.9 km one-way

Difficulty: Moderate

Why it's awesome: Beautiful scenery (forestland, pastures and wetlands) and in winter there are great opportunities for cross-country skiing.  

Description: This is the longest hike in Cooking Lake-Blackfoot, connecting two staging areas (Islet and Waskehegan). Take a break at the large rest shelter, which you’ll stumble upon where the trail intersects with Meadow Trails.

Directions to the Lost Lake Trail trailheadalbertaparks.ca/lost-lake or this park pamphlet.

Distance from Edmonton: 67 km 

 

Moose Link Trail

Islet Lake Staging Area, Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Rec Area

Trail length: 2.5 km

Difficulty: Easy

Why it's awesome: Wildlife tracks, a variety of birding opportunities

Description: This short trail is ideal for enthusiastic bird watchers. It gets its name from the unusual collection of moose antlers that were found along the route (now on display at the Friends of Blackfoot Heritage Interpretative Centre).

Directions to the Moose Link Trail trailhead: albertaparks.ca/moose-link or this pamphlet

Distance to Edmonton: 67 km

 

Devon River Valley Trail

Devon River Valley Trail

Trail length: 6.8 km one-way

Difficulty: Moderate

Why it's awesome: Get out of town and into some parkland on this hard-packed granular-meets-natural trail in bike-friendly Devon. 

Description: Walking the entire length of the Devon River Valley Trail (Voyager Park to the trail head on Michigan Street) is a great way to pass 1.5 - 2 hours. Doubling back will make it a half-day well spent in this river valley. Those after a shorter jaunt can enter at any of the multiple entry/exit points. For a varied excursion, explore some of the secondary trails which will loop you back to your starting point. 

Pump up your workout: the east end of Voyageur Park boasts a set of stairs that has become a popular challenge among Devon locals. 

Directions to the Devon Trail trailhead: Click here 

Distance from Edmonton: 40 km (from the city centre), 17km from Edmonton's outskirts. 

 

White Earth Trail

White Earth Valley Natural Area

Trail length: 17 km

Difficulty: Moderate

Why it's awesome: Wildlife spotting and geocaching keeps this hike interesting.

Description: This wilderness trail lies directly south of Long Lake. Marshes, lakes and hillsides are home to blue heron, northern pike, white-tailed deer and black bear - oh my!

Directions to the White Earth Trail trailheadClick here 

Distance from Edmonton: 130 km

 

Edmonton Alberta

Want to see where these rank against Canada's greatest hikes?

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Canada's 35 Greatest Hikes

 

More hiking trails in Alberta on Explore Magazine:

       

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