This article on Edmonton’s River Valley originally appeared in our 2021/2022 City Guide.
The river valley is an essential pillar of Edmonton life, housing over 20 of our favourite parks, splitting the city in half, and spanning 18,000 acres. Even if you’ve lived here your entire life, chances are there are still spots left to explore. From picnic sites, public art, and playgrounds to multi-use trails and breathtaking scenery, there’s recreation for every interest and skill level.
Louise McKinney Riverfront Park
Bordering Edmonton’s downtown core, Louise McKinney Park is the gateway to much of the river valley parks system and Edmonton’s expansive network of paths and trails. Bask in an unobstructed river view as you cycle, kickback, or set up a picnic with a loved one in this over-12-hectare outdoor paradise. When you’re wandering through, keep an eye out for a series of poetry rings carrying the etched works of former Edmonton Poet Laureate E.D. Blodgett. Plus, you can explore even more with a visit to the on-site River Valley Adventure Co., a one-stop attraction shop that offers Segway tours, bike rentals, snowshoe rentals, and more. An accessible way to access the park is via the award-winning 100 Street Funicular, which can accommodate wheelchairs and bicycles and also leads to the picturesque views of the Frederick G. Todd Lookout. || 9999 Grierson Hill.
Looking for the perfect place to bask in the joys of the seasons in Edmonton? This scenic park is home to beautiful natural features alongside endless resources for year-round recreation—including Victoria Golf Course (Canada’s oldest city-run course) and the Victoria Park Skating Oval & IceWay. For the hiker, jogger, or cyclist, the park lends access to a selection of pathways along River Valley Road. One popular trail is the North Saskatchewan River Loop Trail, which is partially paved and loops around both sides of the river. || 12030 River Valley Rd.
A 68-hectare space in the heart of the river valley, William Hawrelak Park features a lake, meadows, and plenty of chances to get out and get active or just relax with a picnic. Several iconic festivals and events have come to call this park home, including Edmonton Heritage Festival and the Freewill Shakespeare Festival. Walking trails connect this park with Buena Vista Park, Fort Edmonton Park, and more. || 9330 Groat Rd.
Laurier Park, also known as Sir Wilfred Laurier Park, offers the chance to hike, bike, sightsee, and more! A boat launch borders the beautiful North Saskatchewan River for anyone looking to take to the water in a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. Seeking an active day out with a fuzzy friend? Extending from Whitemud to Buena Vista Drive, the adjacent Buena Vista Park includes a large off-leash area for dogs. || 13221 Buena Vista Rd.
From sports fields and multi-use trails to picnic sites and a golf course, there’s a little something for everyone at Rundle Park. Situated on the north bank of the river, Rundle Park also provides access to great walking trails like the Rundle Park Bridge River Loop Trail: a 4.3-kilometre moderate hiking path with views of the river, Strathcona Science Park, and Sunridge Ski Hill. || 2909-113 Ave.
Edmonton’s Commonwealth Walkway is a wonderful, scenic route from Groat Bridge to the Funicular, including pathways to iconic YEG landmarks like the Alberta Legislature Building, the John Walter Museum, and the Indigenous Art Park! As you traverse the walkway, explore uniquely Edmontonian stories with the accompaniment of the Edmonton Commonwealth Walkway app: a hub for the recorded heritage of the walkway perfect for the morning jogger or history buff.