Things To Do - Parks & River Valley Activities

The number of activities for you to enjoy in City Parks and the River Valley is endless. From flying a kite in Hawrelak Park, to taking off in a hot air balloon at Buena Vista Park, Edmonton’s green spaces are constantly in motion.

We’ve put together a short list of Parks and River Valley activities you might enjoy. Take a look, be inspired and spend some time in your backyard; Canada’s largest urban park setting and your River Valley.

Bird Watching & Nature Interpretation

Bird Watching

Grab your binoculars and a local bird book to discover the diverse variety of bird life found in the River Valley. Although bird watching can take place anywhere along the river, Edmonton’s numerous ravine’s provide excellent viewing and listening opportunities.

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley 

When to Participate: Year round! 

Nature Interpretation

Interested in finding out more about urban nature in the River Valley? Lace up your favourite pair of shoes and take your friends or family out for a hike. With a variety of trails to explore, the River Valley is teeming with nature. The flora and fauna will excite your senses and connect you to your backyard; the great expanse of the River Valley!

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley

When to Participate: Year round!

John Janzen Nature Centre - Nature Walks
River Valley Programs

Skiing & Skating

Cross-country Skiing

Edmonton can have long winters, and that means that snow blankets the ground from months on end. One of the best ways to take advantage of long winters is to strap on a pair of cross-country skis and hit the trails. Many locations are track set, so all you need is a willingness to get a good workout along with skis, boots and poles. Embrace winter and try cross-country skiing today!

Locations: A variety of locations across the River Valley

When to Participate: Winter

Cross-country Skiing

Downhill Skiing

A fantastic sport to keep you invigorated and make the most of Edmonton’s winter is downhill skiing. Edmonton boasts 2 hills located within city limits, so strap on your skis, organize a lesson and take advantage of this thrilling winter sport!

Locations: Snow Valley Ski HillEdmonton Ski Club 

When to Participate: Winter 

Skating

You’ll find a number of skating rinks throughout the City of Edmonton, 4 of which are in the River Valley. Hawrelak Park showcases a fantastic skating surface that is large enough to give the fittest a skate for their money! With over 1.5 hectares of skating ice, it’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon with the family. Victoria Park Oval is a skating surface created and maintained by the City and used by the Edmonton Speed Skating Association. The ESSA shares the use of the rink with the City to allow public skating outside of association hours. Two further outdoor rinks are found in Rundle park; one for general skating and one for shinny hockey. 

Locations: Hawrelak Park, Victoria Park and Rundle Park

When to Participate: Winter

For more information on skating and ice conditions see Outdoor Ice Rinks

Cycling & In-Line Skating

Cycling

Cycling is a fabulous activity that gets your blood pumping and can take you from one side of the River Valley to the other!  Whether you’re interested in a leisurely ride to take in the beauty of the River Valley, or you seek a few thrills along the way, biking has something for everyone. 

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley

When to Participate: Year round! Although the majority of biking happens from Spring to Fall, the opportunity exists for anyone to strap on their helmet and hit the trails regardless of the season. 

River Valley Trail Maps

In-Line Skating

Strap on your in-line skates and take to the trails to experience a fantastic work out with the River Valley as your back drop. You’ll love the fresh air as you coast along the variety of paved trails in the River Valley; you have over 160 km of trail to explore!

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley

When to Participate: Spring, Summer and Fall

River Valley Trail Maps

Disc Golf

Whether you are new to the sport of disc golf or a well-seasoned Frisbee® thrower, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to try this interesting sport. Similar to golf, participants use a disc instead of a ball, aiming for “holes” around the course. This activity is great fun for the whole family and only requires a disc for each person playing. 

Location(s): Rundle Park

When to Participate: Year round! Although the course isn’t cleared during the winter, so you’ll have an extra challenge if the snow is deep! Most enthusiasts play this sport during spring, summer and fall.

Please note that the course may close for tournaments. See the Edmonton Disc Golf Association Calendar for more information.

 

 

Rundle Park 18 hole Disc Course Map

Dog Walking & Off Leash Areas

When your furry friend needs some exercise and socialization, the perfect place to visit is one of Edmonton’s numerous dog walking and off leash parks in the River Valley. Not only will your dog get a great workout, you too will benefit from the fresh air and beautiful scenery!

Location(s): Throughout the City and River Valley

When to Participate: Year round! 

Neighbourhood and River Valley Off Leash Sites

Fishing

If you’re interested in opportunities to fish in the River Valley, grab your rod and head down to the North Saskatchewan River. You’ll find the river is home to burbot, lake sturgeon, and walleye among others. Of course there are regulations when it comes to fishing, so ensure you’re up to date on the rules and have your fishing license on hand.  You’ll also find that Hermitage Pond is stocked with rainbow trout, so take a moment to cast a line and enjoy the River Valley.

Location(s): Along or on the North Saskatchewan River & Hermitage Pond

When to Participate: Spring, Summer and Fall. 

Note: all anglers must follow the sport fishing regulations.

Fishing

Geocaching & Orienteering

Geocaching

With the increasingly easy-to-access technology on cell phones, geocaching is becoming easier every day! You’ll need a GPS unit, or an application on your phone, to partake in this activity as you search for hidden caches across the River Valley. This sport has a universal reach, with a number of websites dedicated to it. Whether you’re a keen adventurer, or new to the activity, you’ll love the places you go when geocaching! 

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley

When to Participate: Year round!

If you’re interested in learning how to geocache, River Valley Programs and John Janzen Nature Centre offer lessons.

Orienteering

All you need is a map and compass, along with an adventurous spirit and a willingness to explore, if you’d like to try the sport of orienteering! It’s an exciting way to investigate the River Valley and offers friends and family an invigorating way to connect to nature.  Use a map and compass to navigate from one check point to another; it’s like an Amazing Race through your very own River Valley!

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley

When to Participate: Primarily Spring, Summer and Fall

Interested in taking a course?  Check out River Valley Programs.

Golfing

You can’t beat the feeling of stepping on to a River Valley Golf course for a rejuvenating round. 

The locations of all 3 City owned and operated courses are superb. Nestled in the River Valley with breathtaking views, you’re sure to enjoy a relaxing experience.

If you need to brush up on your skills, there are lessons available. At the Pro Shops you'll find everything you need to enjoy your time on the course from designer golf attire, to golf balls, equipment and friendly advice. 

Location(s): Victoria Golf Course and Driving Range, Riverside Golf Course and Rundle Golf Course. 

Municipal Golf Courses

When to Participate: Spring to Fall. 

Did you know the golf courses are track set for cross-country skiing in the winter?

On The River

Boating

The North Saskatchewan River is a beautifully serene location to explore, and boating is a perfect way to experience the river and Edmonton’s River Valley.

Location(s): North Saskatchewan River

When to Participate: Spring, Summer and Fall

Boating & Canoeing

Canoeing

Imagine the sound of a paddle skimming the surface of the river as a canoe slices through the glass like water. Then imagine your family, navigating these canoes on an exploration of the River Valley and the sport of canoeing. This activity is a superb way to spend an evening or weekend with friends and family. There are a number of organizations and companies offering programs and rentals in the Edmonton area, so take the plunge and look into canoeing as your next adventure.

When to Participate: Spring, Summer and Fall

Boating & Canoeing

Check River Valley Programs for canoeing lessons.

Kayaking

An excellent way to gain a different perspective of the River Valley is through a kayaking trip on the North Saskatchewan River. As you glide down the river you’ll view areas you never knew existed, and if you’re lucky you’ll see a few new and interesting inhabitants along the way. A relaxing, rejuvenating and healthy way to explore the River Valley is from the seat of a kayak, with a paddle in hand.

Location(s): North Saskatchewan River

When to Participate: Spring, Summer and Fall

Check River Valley Programs for kayaking lessons.

Rafting

Float down the North Saskatchewan on a beautiful summers day, and you’ll find yourself entranced by your surroundings. This activity is one you’re sure to enjoy, so do some research and make sure you stay safe.

Location(s): North Saskatchewan River

When to Participate: Spring, Summer and Fall (river condition dependent)

Rowing

Fix your oar and take to rowing! Whether you are “bowside” or “strokeside”, you’re sure to get your heart beating in this fast paced sport. The boats are often called “shells” and you can participate by yourself or with others (up to 8 in a boat). Find a local club and see if this water sport is for you.

Location(s): North Saskatchewan River

When to Participate: Spring, Summer and Fall

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

This sport has become very popular in recent years. It combines a surfboard with a paddle, and offers a different experience to those seeking a water-based sport.  

Location(s): North Saskatchewan River

When to Participate: Spring/Summer and Fall

Check River Valley Programs for stand up paddle boarding lessons.

Photography

The River Valley is buzzing with opportunities to take the perfect picture! The furry fauna and breathtaking landscapes await the snap of your camera, so take a minute to experience the River Valley as a photographer. 

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley

When to Participate: Year round! The River Valley is forever changing; there is always something new to photograph.

Interested in photography? Take a photography course at City Arts Centre and put your skills to work capturing the beauty of the River Valley.

Picnics

Picnicking is a fantastic activity for friends and family across the River Valley. You have a variety of options: from drop-in sites to bookable spaces, your choices are endless. Take time to relax and rejuvenate in a River Valley park this year.

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley

When to Participate: Year round! Although picnic sites are bookable from March through to October, those wishing to embrace winter are more than welcome to picnic year-round. The snow isn’t cleared at picnic sites, so you’ll need to be creative and enjoy the challenge!

Picnic Sites

Snowshoeing & Tobogganing

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a relatively easy activity to participate in; all you need is winter clothing and a set of snowshoes. When snow starts to fall, one of the best ways to take advantage of the fluffy stuff is to take a walk in the River Valley. Add in snowshoes and you can access locations that aren’t cleared of snow in the winter. There is something magical about exploring the River Valley when the snow is glistening, and all you can hear are the birds chirping and the sound of your snowshoes crunching on the trail. 

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley

When to Participate: Winter

Tobogganing

If you’re searching for a fun winter activity for the whole family, look no further! Tobogganing is something that everyone can participate in. Taking a turn cruising down one of the local hills is packed full of excitement. The City maintains 6 locations for you to enjoy. Grab a sled and take your family for a trip to a toboggan hill this year!

Location(s): see Tobogganing

When to Participate: Winter

Walking, Jogging & Running

The River Valley boasts over 165 km of trails that are waiting for you to use them! One of the most scenic ways to experience the trails is by walking, jogging or running. You’ll have a chance to hear the wildlife and take in the natural scenery as you make your way along the pathways. Whether you’re training for a marathon or out for a stroll with your sweetheart, the variety of trails in the River Valley offers something for everyone. 

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley

When to Participate: Year round!

River Valley Trail Maps

Weddings

The River Valley is a breathtaking location for a memorable day. Not only can you have your photos taken in a large variety of places, you can book your ceremony or reception at one of the beautiful facilities nestled in the River Valley. No matter how big or small your big day is anticipated to be, the River Valley is a natural choice. 

River Valley Bookings & Rentals

Location(s): Throughout the River Valley

When to Participate: Year round!

For More Information

Parks General and River Valley Park Rangers:
In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton:  780-442-5311
311@edmonton.ca

Picnic Site Bookings:
780-496-1117
picnicbookings@edmonton.ca