Hot Tip: It's warming up and we're sharing some sweet spots to stretch your legs

·4 min read
Bundled up under all those layers is long-time Edmontonian Josée Marr out for a winter walk over the new Tawatinâ Bridge. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC - image credit)
Bundled up under all those layers is long-time Edmontonian Josée Marr out for a winter walk over the new Tawatinâ Bridge. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC - image credit)

Let's face it, it's been a bitterly cold start to 2022, but with temperatures set to soar to a balmy seasonal or dare we suggest even above, you may be looking for some new spots to exercise that New Year's resolve or just the dog.

Birch Tree Trail Loop

When it comes to winter walks, Curtis Faryna can do this loop on his lunch break right out his door.

"It ends up being a great big loop up through the forest," says Faryna, program coordinator at the John Janzen Nature Centre. "People can check out our pond, it has a little bridge over the frozen water."

There are new trail signs with fresh information recently installed as part of a spruce up at the centre now open to timed ticketed entry.

Adrienne Lamb/CBC
Adrienne Lamb/CBC

The nature trail snakes its way through the birch trees for about one kilometre, taking 20 to 45 minutes to hike. For the more adventurous walkers, Faryna suggests a trail that "starts at the centre and goes all the way around the perimeter of Fort Edmonton."

The Fort Edmonton River Loop is a picturesque three-kilometre walk with lots of parking near the centre at 7000 143 St. Faryna says.

Tawatinâ Bridge

The pedestrian portion of the Southeast Valley Line LRT bridge connecting Cloverdale and Riverdale is now open to the public.

There's parking at Louise McKinney Riverfront Park at 9999 Grierson Hill. You can stroll past the Edmonton Chinese Garden and down to the 260-metre pedestrian bridge for a great view of the downtown and to catch the cool new art overhead.

Adrienne Lamb/CBC
Adrienne Lamb/CBC

You can see more from the Tawatinâ Bridge on this week's edition of Our Edmonton on Sunday at noon and 11 a.m. Monday on CBC TV and CBC Gem.

MacKinnon Ravine

When it comes to winter walks, Rebecca Ellis has a soft spot for the MacKinnon Ravine. "I grew up not far from there," says the conservation manager with the Edmonton and Area Land Trust.

The multi-use trail can be accessed from the corner of Stony Plain Road and 149 Street in the Crestwood neighbourhood.

Ellis describes the ravine as peaceful and calm. "When you walk into it you feel like you're not in the city anymore."

Smith Blackburn Homestead

If you're looking for a genuine urban escape, Ellis recommends the Smith Blackburn Homestead in Lamont County, east of Edmonton, not far from Elk Island National Park.

"Going outside the city is particularly nice if you're interested in looking for wildlife tracks," Ellis said.

"At Smith Blackburn you might find moose tracks or deer, coyote and they've even found a cougar track before."

The trail is three kilometres and parking is available outside the gate along the country road.

William Hawrelak Park

This suggestion falls into the "do it while you can" category. Hawrelak Park is one of the most popular spots in Edmonton's river valley. In 2023, the city is scheduled to close the park for three years, to undergo an estimated $70-million renovation.

Hawrelak boasts lots of public parking, washrooms, and a moderate five-kilometre walking trail that takes you through wooded areas with some great views of the North Saskatchewan River.

You can access the trailhead behind Picnic Site 2 not far from the public feeders winter birders flock to.

Rick Bremness/CBC
Rick Bremness/CBC

Devon Battery Creek Trail

"Devon has beautiful views, especially the Battery Creek Trail," Makennah Walker says.

The staffer with the River Valley Alliance says she walks and runs even when the temperature dips to -30 C but admits she's out longer when it warms up.

She recommends going a little further afield to Range Road 262 southwest of Edmonton. "It's a little bit out of the city but you don't have to go too far to get there," Walker says.

The three-kilometre round trip we'll likely take you about an hour. There's a parking lot with room for about a dozen cars and a washroom at the halfway mark.

Walker also suggests the Devon Voyageur Park with still more trails, parking and washrooms at 100 Saskatchewan Ave. as another option worth exploring.

None of these doing it for you? Here's another list of 10 trails worth walking in winter in the Edmonton area and a map.

Adrienne Lamb/CBC
Adrienne Lamb/CBC
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