5 Amazing Places to Snowshoe in Edmonton this Winter!
This winter, more than any we can remember, outdoor activities will be a crucial part of our lives.
Here at United Sport & Cycle, we've already seen a huge demand for all kinds of winter activities: from fat bikes, to skates for pond hockey, to sleds and toboggans. But, a fourth player has entered the winter-sport game and you may just find it in the 2020 yearbook under "most popular activity of the season".
Snowshoeing is a fantastic way to explore the many sites in-and-around Edmonton while staying physically distanced. It is an amazing way to get out and breathe in some fresh air and—most importantly—stay active this winter.
Below, we've collected our top 5 place to go snowshoeing in Edmonton this winter!
First off: Why Snowshoes?
Snowshoes were a traditional form of transport for Canada's indigenous people, due to their versatility and ability to traverse deep, unpacked snow bases.
Today, snowshoes remain the ultimate way to explore places off the beaten track, where the snow has not yet been packed down.
Some fat biking enthusiasts will even go out and snowshoe a trail after a fresh snowfall to help lightly pack the snow down and prep it for winter biking!
Our Top 5 Favourite Places to Snowshoe in Edmonton
There are a countless number of locations which would be a perfect fit for snowshoeing in Edmonton. The city is blessed with over 460 parks, as well as a nearly 50km long constant stretch of park along its River Valley (the largest stretch of parkland in North America).
It was hard to narrow it down to just 5 spots, but our team voted and here are our Top 5 best snowshoeing locations in-and-around the City of Edmonton.
5. Rundle Park
Rundle Park is situated in Edmonton's northeast and runs along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. Located at 29th Street and 113th Avenue, Rundle is one of Edmonton's largest public use parks, meaning you should have little issue finding some great, unpacked snow for your next snowshoeing adventure.
To round out your day of snowshoeing, there is also a skating IceWay, tobogganing hill, and bathrooms available!
4. Bunchberry Meadows
Buncherry Meadows is just 12 minutes from the Cameron Heights exit of the Anthony Henday, on the southwest corner of the city. Though you're close to home, it will feel like you're a world away in the nature conservation area.
Bunchberry Meadows features aspen parkland woods, as well as pockets of white spruce, tamarack, jack pine, and wetlands, giving way to diverse plant communities throughout the whole area. This natural area is an important refuge for wildlife, and is home to many species including moose, deer, squirrels, owls, hawks, and songbirds.
The sanctuary is an impressive 640 acres large, and is home to some of the best snowshoeing in the Edmonton area. What's best is that the sanctuary is largely unknown to the public, therefore being extremely quiet!
3. Terwillegar Park
Terwillegar Park is a staple for cyclist, families, and our favourite furry friends all year-round.
The massive park is connected to Edmonton's river valley trail system and includes a beautiful footbridge over the North Saskatchewan River.
Hard packed trails can be found throughout the park for fat biking, but it's the massive open spaces in Terwillegar Park that make for an unparalleled snowshoeing experience. There is so much to explore in Terwillegar Park, that you will find yourself returning time-after-time to discover all it has to offer!
Looking for a warm-up after your adventure? The surrounding neighbourhood of Riverbend has plenty of coffee shops, cafes, bars and restaurants for you to partake in some "Après Snowshoe" festivities.
Some of our favourites include:
-Remedy Cafe Terwillegar Towne
-Original Joes Terwillegar
-Hart's Table & Bar
2. Elk Island National Park
You've probably heard of (and maybe even been to) Elk Island National Park before, but, have you ever experienced it in the winter?
Did you know that you can snowshoe on each and every one of Elk Island National Park's trails?
Being in a non-mountainous region, the trails at Elk Island have very few steep inclines. The vast array of trails vary in length, making it a great spot for snowshoers of any age and ability. Your chances at seeing one of two different subspecies of Bison are also great!
If you choose to visit this fantastic location this winter, be bison wise and read how to keep both yourself as well as the wildlife safe.
1. Strathcona Wilderness Centre
Just 20 minutes from the eastern end of the Anthony Henday, the Strathcona Wilderness Centre boasts over 12km of interpretive trails, perfect for any distance of snowshoeing adventure.
The Wilderness Centre is also a great opportunity to see wildlife, and rentals of both snowshoes and cross-country skis are available! Facilities such as picnic sites, rest stops, and outhouses are also available.
See a trail map of the Strathcona Wilderness Centre below (Strathcona.ca).