I don’t know about your experience, but this past Winter felt more draining than years-past. I’m ready to dive head-first into the Summer and I’ve compiled a list of my favourite outdoor activities in Edmonton so that you can join me in all that an Edmonton Summer has to offer.
Whether you’re looking for a high-intensity sport with a lot of cardio action (think Soccer or Flag Football) or a more laid-back, social sport (think Slo-Pitch), playing sports over the Summer is a great way to get outside and add to a well-rounded fitness plan. You don’t have to be a pro; organized sports are for people of all ages, skill levels, and fitness levels… you just need to know where to go.
OUTDOOR FITNESS PARKS
Is it your turn to take the kids to the park? The City of Edmonton has installed outdoor fitness areas across the city so that you can squat with purpose while your kids play, not pop-a-squat on the nearest bench.
There are 7 in Edmonton and they offer a variety of experiences; some with strength training equipment, stretching stations (with posters to guide you through each stretch) and even elliptical machines.
To find the one nearest you, visit the City of Edmonton’s website.
The City of Edmonton has a few downloadable maps that outline all you need to hit the Valley, including shared-use paths, trails, boat launches, bike lanes, amenities, and more.
Hit the Trails
Our River Valley has over 150km of trails stretching across the city, just waiting for you to walk, run, bike, or roll through. Are you a nature enthusiast? Plan a longer trip so you can check out the sights and sounds of Edmonton’s finest wildlife. Are you an adrenaline junkie? Ride off the beaten path and maneuver through the trees (safely, of course) on your bike.
If you’re looking to really sweat, jog your way up and down one of the many staircases throughout the River Valley. These staircases are often packed with Edmontonians walking, jogging, and lunging their way through a few sets of stairs for a good cardio-boost and leg-burner.
Spend Time on the Water
Tour the River Valley from the North Saskatchewan River! There are multiple boat launches available for the public; grab your canoe, kayak, or paddle board and work your way from one end of the city to the other. Want a more leisurely and albeit, social, way to enjoy the water? Grab some inner tubes, tie them together, and float down the river for the ultimate lazy-afternoon-in-the-city (just be sure to have one car parked where you start, one where you plan to hop off, and don’t drop your keys in the water!... I speak from experience on this one.)
Want to get in a work-out, see some amazing views, and post photos that will make your friends jealous? Check off all three when you book in with Haskin Canoe for one of their sunset river tours through the city.
Did you know that we can fish right here in Edmonton? By no means should you ever eat the fish (seriously, Health Canada cautions against it), but the North Saskatchewan river is a great place to lay back, turn on some tunes, and pull out the fishing rod.
EDMONTON PUBLIC PARKS
Did you know that we have over 20 public parks in Edmonton? Our beautiful river is lined with a ‘ribbon of green’ that also winds its way through the city. Similar to our River Valley, the possibilities for outdoor activities in our parks is nearly endless. Go for a walk, run, cycle, rollerblade and more through these expansive green spaces.
If you’ve got time on your hands, make a day of it! Round the troupe, pack some snacks, and grab some equipment; spend the day throwing around a baseball, tossing a Frisbee, kicking around a soccer ball, or whatever other sport hits the spot.
If you find yourself in Northeast Edmonton, Rundle Park is a must. This park is arguably one of the most developed for amenities, offering you so many different ways to enjoy the outdoors: paddle boating, disc golf (a sweet, sweet combination of ultimate frisbee and golf), mini golf, walking/cycling trails, horseshoe pits, tennis courts, ball diamonds, soccer/football fields, and beach volleyball courts.
OFF-LEASH DOG PARKS
Bring the pup along and share your fitness goals. We have more off-leash dog areas in Edmonton than I can even count. My favourite? Terwillegar Dog Park; a beautiful ~5km loop that lines the river. You can go for a leisurely stroll or for a quick jog through the main trail, pausing at the natural breaks in the tree line to graze in the water. Don’t have a pup? These trails are open to all users, but make sure you plan for extra time on your walk to pause and gush over all the good boys and girls you meet along the way.
ELK ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
Escape the hustle and bustle in under an hour. Elk Island National Park is Fort Saskatchewan’s not-so-hidden treasure that offers up everything you’re looking for in an outdoor escape. Known for its amazing hiking trails, picnic spots, and stargazing opportunities, this park is open year-round.
Go for a Hike
Elk Island has a number of trails for you to explore, winding through different habitats across the park grounds. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to spot some of North America’s best wildlife including elk, bison, moose, beavers, coyotes, deer, timber wolves, bears, or one of 250 different bird species that roam the park. Make sure you pack a lunch and take a break at one of the many picnic tables along the way.
Word on the street is that the sky is so clear out at Elk Island, you can see the galaxies. This National Park is part of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve, meaning it’s one of the best locations near Edmonton for stargazing and viewing the aurora borealis. Bring a blanket, pack some snacks, and carve out some time to get lost in the night sky.
A good fitness plan includes good nutrition. Head over to one of Edmonton’s many Farmers’ Markets where you can support local growers, makers, and vendors while supporting your own health by stocking your fridge with the freshest food you can buy:
The Big Three:
- Old Strathcona
- City Market Downtown
- 124 Street Grand Market
CHEER ON EDMONTON HOME TEAMS
Nothing beats the Edmonton fan-base. We’re die-hard, loyal, and sometimes a little over the top. Sure, this might not be as active as the rest of this list, but everyone should head on out and root, root, root for our home teams. The Edmonton Eskimos start-up on Sunday, May 27 and the Edmonton Prospects hit the diamond on Thursday, May 31.
Caitlin Richler is the Marketing Manager for the Edmonton Sport and Social Club. The Edmonton Sport and Social Club is a co-ed, adult-only sports league that offers leagues and tournaments year round. To learn more about the Club, visit their website at www.EdmontonSportsClub.com