Length: ~ 1.5 – 2 km round trip, 30 minutes to 1 hour
Trail conditions: Moderately flat with some steep inclines (slippery in snow) and a long staircase. Paved path and dirt path (Snow covered in winter.)
Dogs: Allowed on-leash (different sections of Mill Creek are off-leash)
Parking: 95 Street and 88 Ave street parking
Mill Creek Ravine is a neighbourhood treasure which has stolen the hearts of many who live in the Ritchie and Bonnie Doon areas. But it’s also accessible for everyone to explore its multitude of trails, cute bridges and off-leash areas. In this Trail Trek how-to blog, we’re profiling a little route that mirrors the lit-up trail at the annual Flying Canoë festival, which takes place in Edmonton’s French Quarter and the Mill Creek Ravine.
As Mill Creek stretches from Gallagher Park to Mill Woods, there are several different routes and access points for trekking the trails; this route just features one of many possibilities. This small loop begins at 88 Ave and goes to the Mill Creek outdoor pool and back, through thick forest and over beautiful red bridges. For a special treat at the end of your trek, walk 10 minutes east on 88 Ave towards La Cité Francophone for a cup of chocolate chaud at Café Bicyclette.
For this route, park along 88 Avenue near École Maurice-Lavallée on 95 Street. The school’s parking lot is only available for public parking during the Flying Canoë festival and other special events.
1. Beginning at the end of 88 Ave, walk west towards a wooden staircase and descend into the ravine.
2. You will arrive at a service road and a house. To the right is a picnic area. Head towards the picnic area, and at the fork, take the road and wide trail leading left and slightly uphill. If you take the path on the right, you can walk to Gallagher Park and the North Saskatchewan River (a Trail Trek blog for another day!)
3. Head uphill to the high trail of Mill Creek and turn left. You will be on a wide paved trail, with staircases on your right to take you up into the neighbourhood. Note that this is also a popular cycling path, so remember to share the path and be courteous to other trail users!
4. Take the paved trail until you reach the Mill Creek parking lot. Follow the “hikers/walkers” sign on the left to re-enter the ravine down a short, steep hill. Careful in winter for slippery steps.
5. At the end of the hill, turn right. You will get your first sight of one of Mill Creek’s iconic red bridges. But instead of crossing the bridge, bear right and follow the single track path that follows the right side of the creek.
6. Follow the single track trail along the creek until you come across a small silver bridge that leads to a staff parking lot for Mill Creek outdoor pool. Cross the lot to the trail that continues south. You will see a sign that states you are now entering the dog off-leash area. You can continue on this trail for as far south as Mill Woods, underneath the Whyte Ave bridge and into the Ritchie neighbourhood. For this route, turn left at the dogs off-leash sign and head west uphill.
7. Continuing uphill will take you to 84 Ave and the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint Jean. Instead, go left at the trail to continue north in the ravine.
8. Follow this trail north, which crosses several of the red bridges. Eventually the trail narrows and weaves along the left side of the creek, before a steep little climb rejoins you with the high trail you started on.
9. Head west past the house and towards the staircase to return to your car and end the route.