I have recently moved home to Edmonton and am rediscovering this city through the fresh eyes of a newcomer.
As a recent new dog momma, I have spent the last several months exploring great places to walk my pooch. I had originally planned to do a list of my favorites, but as I started to write I realized that I had a lot more to say about the individual walks than I thought! So here is the first of what I hope to be a series of articles about my favorite places to walk my dog. Of course, you can walk them without a dog too!
Some of the best walks I have found so far are centred around the neighbourhood of Riverdale. Nestled in the river valley just east of the downtown core but hidden away from its hustle and bustle, this community was once a haven for artists looking for cheap old houses. Based on its proximity to both the river and downtown, it’s not surprising that it is the site of some new housing developments making it as vibrant mix of old and new homes.
One of the first places I explored was Dawson Park which is at the east end of Riverdale. There is a long trail heading east along the river with some spectacular views of the bluffs on the river’s south side. A short way down the trail there is a clearing with picnic tables and there are several options for trails branching off of this. One is to continue on the paved trail which runs on the north side of the golf course below the communities of Bellevue and Virginia Park The farthest point I have been on this trail is to just before the Capilano Bridge where I have followed the trail up the hill and ended up at Concordia College. Another trail from the picnic clearing is up into a wooded ravine — Kinnaird Ravine to be precise. This is a lovely walk through the predominately evergreen vegetation. It is a dirt trail, and has a few mildly challenging hills. Near the end of this trail you will find two sets of stairs. One branches off to the left which heads up to a playground on 82nd Street, and one heading down into the ravine and up the other side, dumping you out on 112 Ave S. A short walk straight ahead across 112 Avenue will lead to Borden Park with its picnic benches, kids’ playground and splash park. A third trail from the picnic table clearing in the valley goes down on the south side of the golf course between it and the river. I haven’t yet explored this trail, but I am told that it is used as an off-leash area for dogs, so I am looking very forward to checking this one out!
Riverdale itself is also a lovely place to walk. There are plenty of gorgeous old character homes to look at and a lovely wooded trail skirting the homes along the river. This trail starts west of the Dawson Bridge and winds past some beautiful big new homes being built. On another excursion, I turned off of Jasper Avenue onto 95 Street which becomes Cameron Avenue and drove down the hill. I parked my vehicle at the bottom of the hill near a condo complex and across from the new homes being built. This time I got onto the trail and headed West, towards downtown. I discovered a foot bridge across the river that led into the neighbouring community of Cloverdale. This community is home to the Muttart Conservatory and the gardens surrounding these four pavilions. Once you have crossed the foot bridge, you can head either East or West. If you go East along the river, you will walk behind some apartment condos and can eventually cross 98th Avenue to head up into the hills where there is some interesting geography. I walked there in the winter time and noticed some markers with information on the land formations, but I haven’t been back there yet since the snow has gone to check it all out. If you choose not to try and find this, you can loop back around and walk through the grounds of the Muttarts. The alternative after crossing the bridge, is to make a right turn and head West past the dock for the Edmonton Queen. The Edmonton Queen is a paddle boat that does tours down the North Saskatchewan River in the summer. There are leisure tours, family tours, and dining tours ranging in price from $12.55 per child and $ 17.95 per adult for the Family Time Cruise to $22.95 – $52.95 for the Dinner Cruise. Check their website at www.edmontonqueen.com for more details.
Now that spring is sprung, I will explore more of Edmonton‘s beautiful river valley trails and will share my findings here so keep an eye out!