Length: ~ 6 km round trip, 1 hour to 90 minutes
Trail conditions: Moderately flat with some inclines, gravel path and dirt path (snow covered in winter)
Bikes: Not allowed
Dogs: Allowed on-leash
Parking: Parking lot at Alfred H. Savage Centre
Whitemud Ravine is a nature reserve in the heart of the city, complete with old-growth forest, over 150 species of birds and several species of wildlife. Despite its proximity to busy freeway Whitemud Drive, it’s a great place to distance yourself from the bustle of the city, bird watch, and of course, #trekthetrails. On our March test walk of this route, we saw a Great Horned Owl, chipmunks, squirrels, chickadees, and a woodpecker, with the sounds of birdsong guiding us through the 6 km in-and-out trail. The ravine stretches further south from this route as well, so you have the option to stretch this trail out even longer. We wrote about a section of the Whitemud Ravine system (and another nature reserve), Larch Sanctuary, on a previous trail-trek blog.
1. After parking at the Savage Centre, head south from the parking lot towards the first bridge that crosses Whitemud Creek.
2. From the bridge, you’ll reach a T intersection. To the right goes under Fox Drive to Fort Edmonton Park and the North Saskatchewan River (where you can also park), which is a short little detour if you desire (or you can save for the end). To the left is the trail through Whitemud Ravine. Go left. The trail will curve around the Whitemud Equine centre (where you’ll experience a short stink of horse manure) before heading into the ravine itself.
3. From here, following the trail is fairly straightforward. There are a few turn-offs which take you into the surrounding neighbourhood (i.e. Grandview, Brookside), which you can ignore.
4. Continue following signs for Snow Valley and Rainbow Valley Campground as the trail weaves around Whitemud Creek, across little footbridges and under a super tall water pipe bridge.
5. Along the trail, there is a lot of interpretive signage for the types of trees present in this old growth forest, as well as signs detailing information about the area’s bird species and wildlife, like squirrels, chipmunks, muskrats and beavers. Many bird watchers frequent the area, so if you see one of them looking up, chances are they’ve found a unique bird to look at!
6. After ~3 km, you will cross a small bridge and reach the facilities parking area for Snow Valley and Rainbow Valley Campground. At this point you could continue further south to explore more of Whitemud Ravine, or turn around to go back the way you came.
7. It’s also very easy to do this trail in reverse, beginning at Snow Valley and turning back at the Savage Centre or Fort Edmonton.
Trail Map (image source: AllTrails)