Length: ~ 4 km round trip, 1 to 1.5 hours
Trail condition: Predominantly flat, narrow path in some areas
Bikes: Not on the trail closest to the river, but bikes are allowed on a trail further out from the river bank.
Dogs: Allowed off-leash except on bridge and in Hawrelak Park, where they must be on-leash.
Parking: Hawrelak Park Site #2.
The River Valley Alliance team and a few of our friends recently enjoyed this walk in the river valley , and here’s how you can do it, too! This short trek is great in winter, getting you up close and personal with the river and feeling lost in nature while still being in the centre of the city. The walk rewards you with views west and east off the Buena Vista/Hawrelak Park Footbridge, as well as looking up towards the Keillor Point lookout across the river (formerly End of the World) and the Laurier Park boat dock.
- If travelling by car, park at Hawrelak Park Site #2. When driving around the one-way ring road in Hawrelak Park, this is towards the end near the skating pond. A sign indicates you are at Site #2 and you will see an amenity building that includes picnic tables and public washrooms.
- Follow the trail from the parking lot past the picnic site’s amenity building.
- Follow the trail heading southwest towards the Buena Vista/Hawrelak Park Footbridge.
- Cross the footbridge and take the trail immediately left from the bridge down the stairs. Note that if you are bringing your dog along, this is the point where you can take your pup off-leash!
- Follow the trail along the riverside. You will weave in and out of the trees, catching glimpses of the opposite river bank and frozen chunks of ice swept against the shoreline. You’ll also pass by the Edmonton Rowing Club launch area.
- After roughly 1.5 km, you will have arrived at the Laurier Park boat dock and hand launch. At this point, to keep your winter walk around the hour range in length, you can turn around and walk back the way you came.
- If you’re keen to linger and take in some of Edmonton’s glorious winter sun, have a picnic at Laurier Park or at Site #2 in Hawrelak Park!