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Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area- Visitor Guide

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The Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area near Stony Plain is a popular destination for family-friendly outdoor adventures thanks to its scenic hiking trails, lakeside picnic sites, and playground.

The recreation area is spread across over 480 acres of woodlands and encompasses several small lakes and ponds, including its namesake Chickakoo Lake.

Chickakoo Lake- Parkland County, Alberta

Things to Do at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

There are plenty of outdoor activities at Chickakoo Lake that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Here are some things to do at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area.

Spring, Summer and Fall Activities

  • hiking and nature walks
  • biking
  • kayaking and canoeing
  • fishing
  • horseback riding
  • picnicking
  • birding and wildlife watching

* Swimming is not allowed

Winter Activities

  • cross country skiing (trails are track set for classic skiing but often get ruined by walkers)
  • winter hiking
Forested hiking trail at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

Trails at Chickakoo Lake

There are 11 km of hiking trails at Chickakoo Lake with route options suitable for a range of hiking abilities.

The Chickakoo Lake trails form a network of connected loops so you can easily customize the length of your hike. All the trails pass through hilly, forested land and are never far from a pond or lake (although the views are sometimes obstructed by trees).

Dog Leg Pond- Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

The trails are well labeled, with maps and numbered signs at regular intervals along the route. For example, if you’re hiking Trail #2, you’ll see signs along the trail marked 2, 2.1, 2.2, and continuing to count up until the end of the route. These numbered markers are also shown on the trail map so it’s always easy to pinpoint your location.

Trail marker at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

The Chickakoo Lake trails are great for leisurely hikes/nature walks because there are plenty of places to stop along the way. All the trails have benches and picnic sites and some have viewpoints and interpretive panels.

Picnic site in the forest

To help you decide on a hiking route, here’s a brief description of each of the four named trails at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area.

* Note that the distances refer to that specific trail in isolation. Since the trails are connected loops, and getting to some trailheads require walking a portion of another path, the total hike distance will be longer than what’s mentioned below.

Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area Trail Map
Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area Trail Map

Trail #1: Indian Ridge

Distance: 2.49 km

Difficulty: Easy

Indian Ridge is an interpretive hiking trail that features signs explaining the natural features you pass through on this hike.

Indian Ridge Trailhead

The route contains two distinct sections- a small loop, then an out and back trail if you want to extend your walk. Indian Ridge is great for families with young kids because the trail is easy and the loop portion makes for a short hike that ends at a playground.

Indian Ridge Trail

Starting from the main parking lot, head counterclockwise on the loop. The trail passes by Dog Leg Pond, then turns left to follow along the south shore of Chickakoo Lake.

Arriving at the playground and picnic area beside Chickakoo Lake completes the loop portion of the trail, but you can also continue on to the out and back section. This part of the route goes past the boat launch and follows along the west shore of Chickakoo Lake.

Chickakoo Lake Picnic Area and Boat Launch

Trail #2: Nature’s Way

Distance: 2.76 km

Difficulty: Moderate

Nature’s Way forms the park’s middle loop and is the trail that connects all the hiking routes together.

Nature's Way Trail lined with trees

This scenic trail is a great choice if you’re looking for a shorter hike that showcases the main features of the park. While passing through areas of forest and grassland you’ll get to enjoy nice views of a few different ponds and lakes.

Pond on Nature's Way Hiking Trail in Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

To reach Nature’s Way, start at the main parking lot and hike a short distance on Indian Ridge. After marker 1.1 you’ll reach a junction with the start of Trail #2, Nature’s Way.

Trail junction with map and interpretive sign

The first section of the trail forms a small loop around Dog Leg Pond, but if you follow the markers for the full route you’ll make a larger loop that goes along Kettle Lake and then Chickakoo Lake.

Between markers 2.4 and 2.5 you’ll notice the start of Trail #4. Keeping on Trail #2, you’ll walk through a meadow and along a forested trail beside Kettle Lake.

Grassy hiking trail in Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area
Trees blocking the view of Kettle Lake

Once you come to 2.7 turn left onto Trail #3, which is the connector for the second half of the loop. The final portion of Nature’s Way follows along Chickakoo Lake before rejoining Indian Ridge.

Nature's Way Trail beside the lake

Trail #3: Woodland Lookout

Distance: 3.47

Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

Woodland Lookout is the park’s longest trail, forming a large loop at the north end of the recreation area.

Woodland Lookout Trail Marker

This hilly route has areas of both sheltered and open forest, along with some water views, but for the most part you’ll see a lot of woodlands, like the name suggests.

To get to Woodland Lookout Trail, walk on Indian Ridge until you get to the second junction with Nature’s Way (marker 2.9), then turn left and walk along Chickakoo Lake. The next junction at marker 2.8 will be the start and end point for Trail #3, Woodland Lookout.

Chickakoo Lake

We recommend you walk Woodland Lookout counterclockwise (following numerical order of the markers), so that you will end up going down the biggest hill on the trail instead of up.

Heading right onto Trail #3, you’ll soon come to Kettle Lake. After a short walk near the shore, the trail passes through a forested area. After marker 3.3 at the end of the lake, the trail moves to the outskirts of the forest and provides better views of the water.

Pond in Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

On the far north side of the loop you’ll pass by North Lake and Little Mere Lake, but a lot of the views are blocked by trees. Regardless, there are some nice picnic sites on this stretch of trail.

Picnic site on Woodland Lookout Trail

Continuing to walk through the forest, the trail eventually turns and heads towards Chickakoo Lake. After Raspberry Peak the trail makes a long descent. The loop concludes with an easy lakeside walk before meeting up with Nature’s Way Trail at marker 2.8. Return to the parking lot via Nature’s Way then Indian Ridge.

Woodland Lookout Trail

Trail #4: Cranberry Corner

Distance: 1.93 km

Difficulty: Moderate

Cranberry Corner is the park’s easternmost trail and it forms one side of the loop that goes around Kettle Lake. Its scenery is similar to the other Chickakoo Lake trails, with a lot of forest and some lake views.

Forested hiking trail

The trailhead for Cranberry Corner can be found at the parking lot on Township Rd 535 (Chickakoo Lake Staging Area on Google Maps). This is where horseback riders stage from.

If you park at the main lot by Chickakoo Lake, you can get to Cranberry Corner Trail via Indian Ridge then Nature’s Way until you reach marker 4 at the start of Cranberry Corner.

Once on Cranberry Corner Trail, follow it counterclockwise around to the east side of Kettle Lake. The trail passes though the forest then gets closer to the water near the north end of Kettle Lake.

View of Kettle Lake through the trees

Cranberry Corner Trail officially ends at marker 4.5 at the end of Kettle Lake. At this point you can turn right onto Woodland Lookout Trail and do that loop, or turn left onto Woodland Trail to get to Nature’s Way. At marker 2.7 you can follow Nature’s Way along the west side of Kettle Lake back to the start of Cranberry Corner Trail.

Grassy trail

Chickakoo Lake Hiking- Suggested Route

Here is a suggested hiking route you can do at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area to experience all the best parts of the park.

Distance: 7 km

Ascent: 57 m

Time Required: 2- 2.5 hrs

Track log/map of Chickakoo Lake Hike
Track log/map of the hike

Starting from the main parking lot, head out on Trail #1, Indian Ridge. At the first junction with Trail #2, turn onto Nature’s Way and follow it along the south side of Dog Leg Pond. This scenic part of the trail offers nice views of the long, narrow pond.

Dog Leg Pond- Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

Nature’s Way then passes through the forest and alongside another pond. When you reach the junction with Trail #4, turn left to stay on Nature’s Way and follow it towards Kettle Lake. The trail passes through a meadow then goes into the forest beside Kettle Lake. You’ll get views of the lake when there are gaps in the trees.

Forested hiking trail at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area
Pond at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area
Hiking Trail at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area
Kettle Lake- Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

At the end of Nature’s Way turn right onto Trail #3, Woodland Lookout. This will lead you through the forest on the north side of Kettle Lake before arriving at an open area with views of a pond.

Pond on Woodland Lookout Trail
Pond on Woodland Lookout Trail

As you continue around the Woodland Lookout loop, the terrain gets hillier so there are frequent elevation changes. This section is mostly a forest walk because trees obscure much of the view of North Lake and Little Mere Lake.

Hill on Woodland Lookout Trail
Forested hiking trail in Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area
Trees growing in swampy water

After rounding the corner towards Chickakoo Lake, the forest starts to open up so you can enjoy better views of the water. Soon you’ll arrive at the viewpoint at Raspberry Peak. From here it’s a downhill walk towards the shoreline of Chickakoo Lake.

After reaching the end of Woodland Lookout at marker 3.7, keep straight onto Nature’s Way. This is another scenic part of the hike where you can enjoy views of the water.

Chickakoo Lake hiking trail

At marker 2.9, turn right then take the next right to get on Indian Ridge at marker 1.4. After passing through a more open area of forest, the trail becomes framed by aspen trees. You’ll also find some interpretive panels about the surrounding nature and pass by a shoreside picnic site.

Indian Ridge Trail
Indian Ridge Trail
Aspen trees on Indian Ridge Trail
Water view

The trail then follows along Chickakoo Lake and comes to a small pier that you can walk out on to get a better view of the lake. If you continue walking along the lake and past the picnic sites, you’ll find another pier and get a view of the boat launch.

Pier at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area
Chickakoo Lake, Alberta
Pier at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

At the end of the trail, turn around and retrace your steps back to the playground where you’ll find a trail that leads to the parking lot.

Water Activities- Fishing, Canoeing, and Kayaking at Chickakoo Lake

Chickakoo Lake is a popular spot for paddlers who are looking for a small, calm lake. The lake is regularly stocked with trout, so is a good place to go if you want to fish from your boat.

Chickakoo Lake, Alberta

Chickakoo Lake has a hand launch for non-motorized boats. You can back your vehicle right up to the water so you won’t have to carry your boat.

Pier and boat launch at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

The water condition is best in late spring since there’s often algae growth in the summer. That’s one reason why swimming isn’t allowed at Chickakoo Lake.

Chickakoo Lake, Alberta

Wildlife Viewing at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

The Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area is home to beavers, deer, and moose, but you’re most likely to see a variety of birds.

Review of the Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

The Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area is a great destination for a short day trip from Edmonton because there are so many different things to do here. You can start the day with a quiet paddle on the lake, have a lakeside picnic lunch, head out for an afternoon hike or bike ride, then return to the picnic area for an evening campfire.

Picnic table and fire pit at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

Chickakoo Lake is one of the best places to go hiking near Edmonton because the connected loops offer several different route options. The trails are easy enough for beginners and the rolling landscape adds some variety to the hikes. It’s also nice that there are picnic sites along the trails so you can enjoy a quieter, secluded picnic away from the crowds that linger at the main picnic area beside Chickakoo Lake.

Picnic site at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

Even though Chickakoo Lake is a popular destination, on a busy day you can still find some solitude by hiking to the trails at the north end of the park.

One downside of this recreation area is that the views are not necessarily what you’d expect after looking at the trail map. On the map, many of the trails run close to the shores of lakes and ponds, so you think you’ll be seeing a lot of water on your hike. In reality, the forest obstructs much of the views (more on some trails than others).

Hiking trail at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

Overall though, Chickakoo Lake is a beautiful recreation area in Parkland County that is well worth visiting in any season.

Tips for Visiting Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

Location: Chickakoo Lake is located in Parkland County, northwest of Stony Plain. It’s about a 15 minute drive from Stony Plain and 40 minute drive from downtown Edmonton.  

Getting There: From Edmonton, go west on Highway 16 (the Yellowhead Highway) until you reach the overpass at Hwy 779. Turn right onto Hwy 779 and continue north until Township Rd. 534 where you will turn left. At Range Rd. 13 turn right and continue past Sauer Lake. At the junction at the end of Sauer Lake, turn right onto Township Rd. 535 and continue until you see the entrance to Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area on your left. The roads are well marked with signs directing the way to the recreation area.

Opening Hours: Chicakoo Lake Recreation Area is open for day use only from 6:00 am- 11:00 pm.

Admission Fees: None

Facilities: The recreation area has picnic tables at several picnic sites throughout the park, fire pits with firewood available, a gazebo, hand launch for non-motorized boats, a playground, and outhouses at the main parking lot and by the boat launch.

Visitor Guidelines: The following are some guidelines for responsible use of the recreation area.

  • Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash.
  • Do not litter and put your garbage in the bins. There are bins at the picnic areas along the hiking trails.
  • Fires are permitted in fire pits only.
  • Off-road motorized vehicles are not allowed.
  • Liquor is prohibited.
  • No overnight camping or swimming.

Park Map: Here is a trail map of Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area.

Grassy meadow at Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area

More Parks and Natural Areas in Parkland Country

You may also enjoy visiting these other recreation areas in Parkland County:

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