I think the first thing that comes to mind about Edmonton's green spaces is the ease of access: there are very few cities in the world that have this much green space both in their downtown area and in the suburbs. We do a great job - it can always be a bit better of course - in ensuring that there are lakes, small forests, and play areas that can be used 365 days a year. If you're just looking at the river valley alone we have over 160 km of trails that are attached to parks, residential areas, and of course right next to the river. In many instances there's a set of mountain bike or single track trails that paralell the paved or gravel trails so there's a ton of exploring that you can do. You can walk, hike, ski, bike, paddleboard, and just about anything you want at your doorstep.
You just need to get started! Here are my top 3 picks for parks to run, hike and bike that I talked about on CBC Radio here in Edmonton:
1) Kinnaird Park:
I love the badlands in Southern Alberta.
There's nothing like hoodoo hopping and running around in a place that feels like you just landed on Mars. But it's a 5 hour drive away. I've got a spot in Edmonton that looks similar to and it's at Kinnaird Park a bit east to Downtown. When you head down the trails you'll find these high walls of clay and sand that have that layered yellow look similar to the rocks down south. I'veexplored a bit here and I don't think I've managed to find all of the single track trails that seem to wander along the forest. Headwest and stay high on the trails and you'll be rewarded with a pretty slick view of the city.
2) Whitemud Ravine:
Whitemud creek has always been one of my favourites on the south west side of the city. The parking lot is near Snow Valley and it starts off looking like bushes and that typical mixture of forest that we see all over Edmonton's river valley but about 1 km in it changes to these top trees that almost look like a redwood forest. It is pretty incredible to watch area transform right infront of your feet. Thereare a few mountain bike trails in the area but this place is more about the main gravel trail. You'll get all of the amazing sights of Whitemud creek as you walk, pedal, or jog over the bridges. Thisplace is also a photographer's dream!
3) Mill Creek Ravine:
I mean you can't beat the dual trails where the puppy lovers can take their furry friends for a play date right on the shores of the creek and those who maybe don't want to get covered in dog hair can stay high on the trails. I'm usually down at the creek hanging out with my pup too! This area also has a lot of access to mountain bike trails so if you want a bit more of an escape into the woods you can head into any of the little off shoots, you can feel like you're a bit lost but keep pushing through because you're not too far away from a paved trail. Also if you're up for a nice Sunday stroll with coffee in hand, Transcend is right near one of the access points on 76th ave.