Edmonton: Get to Know Your Next-Door Nature

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Calling all nature lovers! Do you dream of open meadows, and green pine forests? Does your ideal day consist of seeing wild animals and flying birds? Breathe in a breath of fresh air, in one of the natural treasures that rest within the Tri-Region. Explore the wonders of the wilderness that flourish just minutes outside of Edmonton. Take a peek into the natural gems you’ll be unveiling this summer.

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

This sanctuary protects 348 acres of marshland, open meadows, aspen parkland and pine forest, and it’s yours to discover. Located in Parkland County, 33 km outside of Edmonton’s city centre, this nature lover’s paradise includes more than one hundred different bird species and a wide range of various animals. Moose are frequently spotted here! Enjoy sightseeing and wildlife viewing all in this lush green sanctuary from the comforts of a mostly boardwalk path (a bit of the trail is grass). All this and more awaits, west of Highway 60 on Woodbend Road.

Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park

Established in 2005, this provincial park has a total of 1421 hectares of natural harmony. This park contains the former Big Lake Natural Area, as well as an additional 302 hectares of Crown land. Just how big is Big Lake? This sparkling oasis is eight km long and three km wide at its widest point, making up about 59 per cent of the park’s total area. One thing is for sure, there’s no shortage of exploration here.

University of Alberta Botanic Garden (Formerly Devonian Botanic Garden)

This green garden is an award-winning visitor location, as well as a research site. Located just 15 minutes outside of Edmonton, 240 acres of flourishing gardens and plant collections, indoor show homes and nature trails await. What else is waiting for you? Explore a beautiful butterfly house, the Kurimoto Japanese Garden, herb and sensory gardens, and much more. We don’t wait to spoil all the fun, so come on down and discover all the beauty with your own eyes. You can also check out the Friends of the Botanic Garden, a charity that supports the development of gardens and facilities at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden (pictured at top).

Wagner Natural Area

Wind your way through the self-guided trails of Wagner. Soak up the best nature has to offer as you explore the peaceful serenity that rests of the west side of Parkland County. Look down on your journey to uncover the variety of rare plants that paint the earth’s floor. Or, look up and discover the array of bird species that inhabit the area.  Ever experience real life fens? A special feature of this land is the fens in the area. The water moves overland towards Big Lake, or creates marl ponds. This natural area is yours for the finding, south of Highway 16 off Atim Road.

Willow Park Natural Area

The town of Stony Plain dedicated this area to a natural reserve in 2009 and it is now home to an incredible assortment of birds, wildlife, plants, shrubs, trees and nesting waterfowl. Thankfully, the wildlife is willing to open their doors and share their homes just for you. Enjoy a calming and peaceful day away from the city, with beautiful grasslands, clean waters, and a variety of trees and bush. As with all natural areas, please be sure to respect this nature reserve.

Adventure away my friend! Now that you have all these places to discover just west of Edmonton – grab your hiking boots, a camera and head out on your next Tri-Region nature trip.