Hidden running trails of Edmonton: Downtown Edition

I’ve said this countless times: I take mini vacations every time I run on trails. It’s great to take time off and take a trip, but when the schedule is hectic  a quick dive in the woods to chill and relax is priceless. I have had a few requests for quick trail trips that are a few steps away from downtown so here it is. My two points of advice for running during this time of year:

  1. Gear Up: Some of these trails are a bit slick so make sure you tread lightly and grab a good set of trail shoes or spikes. Dress in layers as advised in my previous blog and bring a headlamp if you’re going later in the afternoon.
  2. Bring a friend: I love running with people, it’s just way more fun. It’s also a safety measure which we unfortunately need to be concerned about too.

Victoria Park Road to McKinnon Ravine:

Victoria Promenade to McKinnon Ravine Edmonton Trail.jpg


Those little turns in life… take them, the reward is always an adventure and a great view. You can get to this trail by by way of the Victoria Promenade; take the stairs going down to the Victoria Golf Course but at the first landing there is a trail to the right. The path takes you under the promenade and twists and turns towards Groat Road and it then loops up and connects to an alternative route to McKinnon Ravine. The trail is fairly easy so definitely great for any runner or hiker. Bring a camera because the views are stunning!

Kinsmen to Emily Murphy:

Kinsment Athletic Centre to Emily Murphy Park Edmonton Trail.jpg

Most runners in Edmonton know the Saskatchewan Drive stretch of the river valley all too well. Next time try heading over the river by way of the LRT Bridge (Menzies Bridge) and head towards Emily Murphy Park. The main trail that you can run is fairly straight forward and well traveled. Here’s a really cool secret: if you follow along the chain linked fences at the crest of the only big hill on this trail it opens up into a pretty insane single track trail that is quite technical and, of course, extremely fun.

Bird House Trail:

Bird House Trail Henrietta Louise Edwards Park Edmonton Trail .jpg

This trail system is one of my favourite. Actually let’s specify: the entire Henrietta Louise Edwards, Louise McKinney, and river front trail systems are one of my favourite parts of this fair city. The views of downtown are amazing and it’s a bit farther away from the downtown core making it feel like a get away from the every day hustle and bustle. Bird House Trail is a trail system that continually offers new intersections with plenty to discover. The main single track trail is fairly easy and straight forward paralleling the snaking North Saskatchewan River as it leaves the city. Pay attention to the little off shoots because they open up to more trails that take the runner into endlessly tall evergreen trees and steeper more challenging slopes. You’re never too far away from the paved trails here which are found a little higher up along the trails, but you certainly have that feeling that you are escaping civilization.

Running definitely doesn’t stop in the winter! If you have any trails that you would like to share, or a fitness story ideas that you want featured on our blogs and CBC Radio send me an email: chris@blitzconditioning.com.

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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