So what if it’s the middle of winter? You’re ready to explore! Strap on a pair of snowshoes and you’re off on an exhilarating day trip through Edmonton’s 7,400 hectares of parkland and 150 kilometres of interconnected trails.
Grab your snowshoes and try exploring these Edmonton parks:
Fort Edmonton Park - Corner of Fox and Whitemud Dr.
John Janzen Nature Centre - Beside Fort Edmonton (corner of Fox and Whitemud Dr. )
Mill Woods Park - 23 Ave. and 66 St.
Rundle Park - 29 St. and 113 Ave.
Borden Park - 75 St. and 112 Ave.
Terwillegar Park - west end of Rabbit Hill Road
Victoria Park - 12130 River Valley Road
William Hawrelak Park - 9930 Groat Rd
Rent snowshoes at the following locations:
Strathcona Wilderness Centre - 16 km east of Edmonton
Louise McKinney Park (River Valley Adventure Co) - 9999 Grierson Hill (guided tours available)
Elk Island National Park (Haskin Canoe) - east of Edmonton (guided tours available)
Picture yourself crossing a frozen, snowy lake curling with motionless whitecaps as the knock-knock-knock of a woodpecker echoes from the forest beyond. If it’s daytime, you might get lucky and spot a bison plowing through the snow; at night, there’s the prospect of northern lights.
Our guest blogger, Jeremy Derksen, shares his conversation with a snowshoe outfitter at Elk Island National Park:
“I’ve had people rent snowshoes figuring they’ll only be out for an hour, and they return three hours later,” says Priscilla Haskin, owner/operator of Haskin Canoe. “It’s great to see them come back, red-cheeked, having a good time discovering something new.”
Haskin rented snowshoes on a trial basis at Elk Island last year, but this year is the first year they will be offering guided tours and special events throughout the season. Think of it as a paddle in the snow, offering the same beauty, solitude and peacefulness of the popular summer past time.
From there, however, snowshoeing is a total departure. “Sometimes it fogs in and you just see the ghost silhouettes of snowy trees,” says Haskin. “Woodpeckers might come out and if we’re lucky, maybe bison, elk, and from a distance, coyote or owl.”
Even on cold days, you can stay warm by moving, picking the right trails (“there can be a 10-degree difference between the shoreline and the trees,” says Haskin) and having good nourishment. On guided trips, ranging around two hours with a rest stop halfway, Haskin offers regionally sourced bison pemmican, local honey, and her own homemade-on-the-trail maple toffee. She also plans to host full moon tours and bonfire evenings.