Hidden Gems of Edmonton and Area: Trail Running Edition.

Here are some of my favorite runs and trail systems I’ve discovered in and around the Edmonton region as featured on CBC Radio Edmonton AM.  Far too often we confine ourselves to what we know, but trail running has taught me to explore more, forget about pace and finishing times, and really go out and have fun! These maps will give you some ideas of different places to explore in the city but they should hopefully encourage you discover other places for yourself. Some of these areas area a little remote and are single track (narrow pathways that are used by mountain bikes too) so as a note of caution: bring a friend and it’s best to keep your wits about you and have the earbuds out.

Strathcona Science Park:

Strathcona Science Park Archaeological Site

Directions: 10980 17 St, Same exit as Sunridge Ski Hill but turn left instead of right. You can also get to the Science Park via a footbridge at Rundle Park.

This is an abandoned science park that used to chronicle the history of the mining industry in the area. There are tons of single track and paved walking trails to run. Head south on the trails look for an archaeological dig site and a set of forest trails I call the Haunted Trail – You’ll know why when you see it. The distance will vary depending on where you explore so make sure you have your bearings!

Hawrelark Park to Quesnell:

Hawleark Park to Quesnel Bridge

Directions: Start at Hawrelark Park: 9330 Groat Road, Park at Site #4. Head to the foot bridge that connects Hawrelark Park to Laurier Park but turn left right before the bridge.

This trail is slightly eroded but if you keep along the right side of the trail you will get to some really nice beach area just along the North Saskatchewan. Keep on following the trails and you will get to a clearing right beside the Quesnell Bridge. The distance is about 6 km return from this point but if you want to extend the trip head towards Fort Edmonton and follow the signs for the foot bridge.  As an aside: sunrises at the foot bridge are and sunsets near the Wolf Willow stairs (take a right a bit before the base of the stairs and you will find some single track that takes you around the bend) are absolutely phenomenal.

Blackfoot Provincial Park:

Blackfoot Provincial Park Alberta

Directions: Range Rd 203, Sherwood Park – There are multiple parking spots in this area. The Google Map below just shows the one I have parked and used as a start site.

Most people go to Elk Island National Park when they want to head out for a quick get away but we are less aware of Blackfoot Provincial Park that is right next door to Elk Island. Blackfoot is quiet and definitely less traveled. The trail system is very extensive but and there are maps available at the staging areas and parking lots. Bring nutrition and water when you are heading out because the trails can be pretty long and there are no amenities aside from washrooms.

Mill Creek Ravine:

Mill Creek Ravine Edmonton

Directions: the maps below shows a parking lot near Mill Creek Pool (9555 84 Ave NW) but you can also park at the Muttart Conservatory and walk to the trails.

This is my home trail system as it’s so close to my house and much of it is off leash for dogs so my fur ball gets to splash around and run with me! There are some very scenic views if you head near the creek bed and follow the gravel paths. If you are a more adventurous runner take the single track trails that are littered around the area. You can run over 10 km of trails in this area by just exploring around the single track but take your headphones out as there are a lot of mountain bikers zipping through the area too.

Camrose:

Camrose Alberta

Directions: Follow the map…

I discovered this trail set with a 5 Peaks trail Race I attended.  This is an absolutely gorgeous trail that takes you over old train trestles, across creeks, and deep into some single track.  I think I’ve been to Camrose a handful of times but these trails and the picturesque farm country is encouraging me to go back for more. There isn’t too much deviation off the already trampled down trail but it is essential to keep your bearings as the trail can be quite long.

Trail running has been a passion of mine for two years. It encourages me to keep pushing my fitness levels so that I can head deeper into the brush and discover even more paths. For me, racing and goal times are awesome but finding an inherent joy in getting out and communing with nature is the ultimate reward.

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About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.

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