Length: 5 km round trip, 1 – 1.5 hours
Trail conditions: Moderately flat with some inclines (slippery in snow). Paved path and dirt path (Snow covered in winter.)
Dogs: Allowed off-leash except where indicated
Parking: Mill Creek Outdoor Pool and Overflow Lot
We’ve already written about a short trail route in the north section of Mill Creek Ravine. In this Trail Trek how-to blog, we’re profiling a longer route that is predominantly off-leash and a perfect way to burn off your pup’s energy in the winter months.
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. In addition to Mill Creek’s signature red bridges, you’ll see a couple tall trestle bridges that you won’t see in many other places in Edmonton. This there-and-back trail begins at Mill Creek Outdoor Pool and ends at Argyll Park, where you turn around and come back the way you came.
For this route, follow Google Maps directions to Mill Creek outdoor pool. There’s a small public lot at the base of the ravine, but if this is full, there is a massive overflow lot before you enter the ravine.
1. From the outdoor pool parking lot, head east and up the hill. Turn right when you see the sign indicating you’re entering an off-leash area, and follow that trail heading generally south.
2. The path continues towards the Whyte Avenue bridge. After you walk under the bridge, there are a couple places where you branch off but end back on the same trail—so as long as you stay generally on the lower trail, you’ll be headed in the right direction. Trails that verge steeply up towards the east will take you up to the neighbourhood and off the ravine trail.
3. You’ll cross a few of the ravine’s iconic red bridges before reaching a sign indicating you are leaving the off-leash area. Leash your pup if you’re with one, and head upwards towards 76 Ave.
4. Cross at the crosswalk on 76 Ave and take the lower path back down into the ravine. The off-leash area resumes once you’re in the ravine.
5. After 400 metres, you will reach a tall trestle bridge and a crossroads. Head left. You will see a staircase, and a path leading to another red bridge. Walk to the bridge and continue on the trail.
6. Continue walking through the ravine for another 750 m. At this point, you are circling Argyll Park. Eventually, the trail starts to come up out of the park and into a neighbourhood, and a sign indicates you are leaving the off-leash area. This is the point where we turned around so we could keep the route length around 5 km round trip.
7. Turn around and go back the same way you came. There is an option once you cross 76 Ave again to take a different trail that is the “high route”, but at the time of testing out this route, there was construction on this section of trail near the Whyte Avenue bridge so you would have to detour. For now, to avoid any unnecessary detours, go back the same way, and relive the beauty of the lower ravine, the red bridges and the escape from the city.