Edmonton knows how to embrace summer. The long days (sunset isn’t until close to 10 pm at the season’s peak) mean plenty of time to soak up all the city has to offer. Exploring Alberta’s capital on foot provides a different vantage point and an opportunity to discover neighbourhood gems along the way. Lace up those walking shoes and get started.
Walk 1: Buena Vista Park, Parkview, River Valley
Grab your picnic supplies at Café Blackbird while en route to Buena Vista Park – your launch point for this 6.5 km (4 mi) or 13 km (8 mi) walk. Enthusiastic tail-wagging welcomes you as you enter the forested trails that lead to the stunning neighbourhood of Parkview. Backdropped by ravine wilds and offering views of the North Saskatchewan River, this is a choice community. Expansive views continue along the escarpment to MacKenzie Ravine. Cue the chorus of birds, your ever-cheery companions, and indulge in some forest-bathing en route to a boardwalk and a scenic stroll along the river. Detour to the footbridge a longer walk along east-side trails or finish up your walkabout and head off to your next urban trek!
Walk 2: Riverdale, Dawson Park, Kinnaird Park, Highlands trail
Tucked into Riverdale, the Little Brick Café, with its secret garden patio and delish food, is your starting point for this 6.5 km (4 mi) or 9.5 km (6 mi) walk. One of Edmonton’s oldest neighbhourhoods, Riverdale is vibrant and alive with the personalities of the residents. Thanks to the rich flood-plain soil, large, bountiful vegetable gardens thrive. River trails lead to Cromdale and expansive river valley views. Travel the side streets to Rat Creek Ravine and a shaded trail to Kinnaird Park. The Highlands Hiking Trail takes you east along the river to an impressive set of stairs to Ada Boulevard and unobstructed views of a mighty North Saskatchewan. Back along the river valley trail, watch for the hoodoo-looking bentonite outcrops. For geology buffs, this 70 - 80 million-year-old ash bed is part of the Upper Cretaceous sandstones of the Edmonton Formation. Pat a dog, keep the pace and you’ll be back at the café, ready for a cold drink!
Walk 3: Ritchie and Mill Creek Ravine
Before you start this 4.3 km (2.7 mi) trek through the Mill Creek Ravine, get your sugar fix at Doughnut Party, a neighbourhood favourite for inventive doughnuts (they’ve got a second location in Edmonton’s Brewery District, too). The flavours change regularly, but they whip up creations to satisfy all tastes. Once you’ve had your doughnut fill, walk north to 77 Avenue and turn right to enter the Mill Creek Ravine – watch for the stairs at the end of the street. Walk north along the pathway and take your first right, which will lead you toward Argyll Park. Mill Creek Ravine is a natural oasis in the city, and you’ll soon forget you’re in a major urban centre as you stroll the lush, tree-lined trail. When you reach Argyll Park, switch back and follow the trail back under 76 Avenue until you reach the stairs at 77 Avenue. Wrap up your walk with a stop at the Ritchie Market, home to popular local restaurants and businesses, like Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company, Little Duchess Bake Shop, Transcend Coffee and Biera (voted one of Edmonton’s best restaurants by Avenue magazine). If you’re in the mood for something sweet, Kind Ice Cream scoops cones across the street.
Walk 4: Old Strathcona
This 4.7 km (2.9 mi) walk through historic Old Strathcona and the Walterdale Bridge area is worth the trip – plus, it’s bookended by tasty treats. Start your journey in Old Strathcona at Made by Marcus. Grab a homemade ice cream and stroll past local boutiques on your way over to the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market – a year-round weekend hub for local artisans. Head north on Calgary Trail and take a left onto 85 Avenue, which curves to meet up with Saskatchewan Drive. Turn left and follow the road to the River Valley Outlook, which offers a fantastic view of the city skyline. Double back on Saskatchewan Drive until you see the start of a trail on your left. The trail leads to ᐄᓃᐤ (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11∞, the Indigenous Art Park and more incredible views. Spend some time enjoying the park and the Indigenous artwork situated throughout it before heading to Queen Elizabeth Park Outdoor Pool, just past Kinsmen Sports Centre, or continue on the trail east along the North Saskatchewan riverbank. Take the trail that leads to Lavigne Road and follow it to 90 Avenue. This will take you back to Saskatchewan Drive and soon 101 Street. Follow the street south to get back to Old Strathcona, where pastries at La Boule Patisserie & Bakery beckon.
Walk 5: Terwillegar Park
Edmonton has fantastic walks in every corner of the city. Head south to explore Terwillegar Park, which is has a large off-leash dog park – perfect for any four-legged friends who want to come along. Start this roughly 10 km (6.2mi) walk with coffee or lunch at The Bend Lounge before making your way over to the park. Leave the car and stroll over; you’ll loop back around. Take in the view of the North Saskatchewan River from the Terwillegar Park Footbridge before continuing your way around the perimeter of the park. Don’t miss Promontory Point along the way. Continue along the bank of the river to Purple Bench Hedge. Stay in the park to continue exploring the winding trail system or make your way to Heffernan Road, which links up with Rabbit Hill Road and Riverbend Road to take you back to The Bend.