Cross-country skiing enthusiasts don’t have to venture far to find the perfect place to strap on their skis and venture into a peaceful, snowy wilderness. Edmonton’s expansive river valley and park systems run right through the heart of the city featuring over 160 km of fresh trails waiting to be explored.
Racing along the banks of the North Saskatchewan river valley is as peaceful and scenic as cross-country skiing the trails at Cooking Lake – Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area or the Strathcona Wilderness Centre. Of course in these wildland areas, you’ll be skiing in home ranges of moose, deer, and other large animals, while in the city the wildlife species tend to be a little smaller. Although it is not uncommon to see deer, do expect to see hares, foxes, coyotes and perhaps if you are lucky and have a keen eye you might see a great horned owl hiding within the forests of spruce, balsam poplar, birch and alder lining the trails.
Once, you have your ski legs back, consider challenging yourself on the epic 55 km route in Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival, or on one of the many alternative Birkie event distances that don’t require as much training.
If you didn’t bring your own ski equipment, you can rent from Totem Outdoor Outfitters, MEC or the River Valley Adventure Co.
Check out some great cross-country ski routes in Edmonton:
Argyll / Mill Creek - 69 Ave & 88 St
Capilano Park - 10810 & 54 St
Gold Bar Park - 109 Ave & 50 St
Goldstick Park - 50 St & 109 Ave
Hermitage Park - 2115 Hermitage Road
Kinsmen Park - 91 Ave & 108 St
Riverside Golf Course - Rowland Road & 84 St
Rundle Park - 2909 113 Ave
Victoria Golf Course & Park- 116 St & River Valley Road
William Hawrelak Park - 9330 Groat Road