Length: ~ 5 km round trip, 1 hour to 90 minutes
Trail conditions: Moderately flat with some inclines, and stairs. Wide paved shared-use path.
Dogs: Allowed on-leash (off-leash where indicated)
Parking: Hermitage Park
Hermitage Park is a gem of east Edmonton that is also a connection hub to other parks and trails, namely Rundle Park to the south and the East End Trails system to the north. Hermitage Park has an off-leash dog area (though at the time of publication, dogs are not allowed off-leash due to the COVID-19 crisis), stocked fishing ponds, picnic sites and the opportunity for paddling activities. This trail heads north from Hermitage Park, following a paved trail along the riverside before climbing upwards to the Bannerman neighbourhood and the Fraser Ravine. The turnaround point offers great views of the river and surrounding valley, along with a bench to really rest and take in the vistas.
To keep this route at 5 km, our turnaround point was the Fraser Ravine lookout, but you could easily continue this along the East End Trails that lead up to the Anthony Henday bridge and beyond to the Quarry lookout.
Hermitage Park has large parking lots spread throughout the park where you can begin your trip.
1. Once you have parked, head generally north past the ponds towards the off-leash dog area.
2. The trail weaves around another pond in the dogs off-leash area before joining up with a generally straight paved path that runs parallel to the river.
3. Continue along this trail for 1.5 km. You will reach a fork with a staircase to the right and a switchback to the left. If you’re on foot you can take the stairs up for a more direct route, and by bike take the switchback for you don’t have to dismount.
4. The trail continues at the top of the bank, with the river and trees to one side and the Bannerman neighbourhood to the other.
5. From the staircase it’s another kilometre to the Fraser Ravine lookout. There are plenty of benches to stop along the way to enjoy the views over the river, with Edmonton’s skyline far in the background.
6. Once at the lookout, you can either continue along this trail to the Anthony Henday Bridge and beyond to the East End Trails, or turn around to go back to Hermitage Park. As with all trails, the view is never quite the same on the way back given your new perspective!