Edmonton is a major city but that doesn’t mean that nature is out of reach.
With a national park, provincial parks and recreation areas, and several nature preserves nearby, there are plenty of choices for day hikes near Edmonton.
Places to Hike Near Edmonton
Each of these day hiking trips near Edmonton feature beautiful scenery, a relaxing atmosphere, and opportunities for wildlife sightings.
Here are some of the best places to go hiking near Edmonton, all less than an hour drive from the city centre!
Elk Island National Park
Elk Island National Park is one of the best places to go hiking near Edmonton because of the range of trail options, variety of scenery, and opportunities for wildlife sightings.
There are over 83 km of hiking trails in the park forming 11 different routes. The trails range in length from 400 m to 15.6 km, so you’ll find options for short 1 hour nature walks and longer 3-5 hour hikes.
Most of the hiking routes in the park are loops but there’s one out and back trail. Of the 11 trails, 5 are rated easy, 4 are moderate, and 2 are difficult.
Depending on the trail you choose, you could be hiking under an aspen forest canopy, crossing over a spruce bog, or walking along a lakeshore.
During your hike you may also come across some wildlife, as the park is home to bison, elk, moose, beavers, and waterfowl.
Trail Map: View here
Location: Elk Island National Park is located about 35 km east of Edmonton on Highway 16 (the Yellowhead Highway). It’s about a 35 minute drive from the city centre.
Cooking Lake- Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area
The Cooking Lake- Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area is another great place to hike near Edmonton, especially if you want to be immersed in nature without having to share the trails with a lot of other people.
This large park has an expansive trail network, 85 km of which are designated for hiking. The connected loops circle through areas of forest, wetlands, pastures, and small lakes.
Since the trails are linked so well, you can easily decide to shorten your hike or extend it by completing a larger loop. There are also several shelters and outhouses along the trails.
Most of the hiking trails are rated easy to moderate, but if you want more of a challenge you can embark on one of the longer, backcountry hikes.
Trail Map: View here
Location: Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Recreation Area is located east of Edmonton. It’s a 40-60 minute drive, depending on which staging area you choose to visit.
Miquelon Lake Provincial Park
Miquelon Lake Provincial Park offers several enjoyable options for day hikes near Edmonton with both paved and backcountry trails.
There are over 20 km of wide forested trails that traverse the park’s rolling knob and kettle terrain, plus a 3.7 km paved path that runs near the lakeshore.
Most of the backcountry trails are connected loops that pass by wetlands and kettle ponds, so there are plenty of opportunities to see waterfowl and beaver lodges. Two of the trails even have remains of homestead buildings of early settlers.
The trails are generally easy to hike, but could be moderate for some people because of the undulating hills.
Bunchberry Meadows Conservation Area
Bunchberry Meadows is a delightfully peaceful and pretty area with a few options for easy hikes near Edmonton.
There’s 4 marked trails totalling over 8 km that you can walk through protected forests and meadows. During a hike at Bunchberry Meadows, you’ll see wildflowers, berry bushes, and an interesting mix of tree species. It also can be a good spot for viewing birds.
Trail Map: View here
Location: Bunchberry Meadows is located southwest of Edmonton, just 30 km and 35 minutes from downtown.
Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary
The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is a great destination if you want to do a short, easy nature walk with a variety of scenery.
There are 4 trails, all connected and rated easy, making up 6.3 km of walking paths in a mixed habitat. The trails pass through areas of wetlands, meadows, and pine and aspen forests, while providing plenty of bird viewing opportunities.
Strathcona Wilderness Centre
The Stratchcona Wilderness Centre offers several hiking trails near Edmonton that are perfect for people who want to experience the forest without having to go on a backcountry hike.
With over 12 km of trails forming connected loops throughout the small park, there are several routes you can mix and match for the perfect hike.
The wide, forested trails pass by some small ponds and through aspen parkland. Most of the trails are rated easy, but there are a few intermediate ones with some hills. There are rest stops along the trails and some outhouses too.
Keep your eye out for moose while hiking here, since they are frequently spotted in the park.
Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area
The Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area is another great place to go hiking near Edmonton if you like forested trails and lakeside views.
There are 11 km of trails forming 4 different routes, all which pass by at least one of the park’s 5 main lakes or ponds.
Two of the trails are rated intermediate, one is novice, and one is considered advanced. There are picnic areas and viewpoints along the trails, with opportunities to see beavers, birds, deer, and moose.
Trail Map: View here
Location: Chickakoo Lake is located west of Edmonton and north of Stony Plain. It’s about 47 km and a 40 minute drive from downtown Edmonton.
Tips for Hiking Near Edmonton
- The best time to go on hikes around Edmonton is in late spring after the snow has melted, in the summer when temperatures are warm, and in the fall when the leaves change colour.
- In the summer, there can be a lot of mosquitos on the hiking trails near Edmonton, especially if there’s been a lot of rain. Bring mosquito repellent and wear long pants and shirts to try to avoid bug bites.
- All the hiking areas around Edmonton featured in this post are free to access except for Elk Island National Park. Visitors need to buy a day pass at the entrance or have a Parks Canada annual pass displayed in their vehicle.
- If you encounter wildlife on a trail, do not approach or attempt to feed it. Give large animals like moose, bison, or deer plenty of space and allow them to move away before continuing your hike.