Pack your lunches, because we’re heading west! On the edge YEG is a hidden gem of activities for anyone and everyone who enjoys the summer outdoors. You’ve passed through it before, but have you ever stopped in Spruce Grove to enjoy the amazing trails system, checked out the awesome park amenities in Stony Plain, or been to the University of Alberta’s Botanic Gardens? There’s so much to do, and it’s bound to make a perfect summer outdoor adventure day trip, no matter who you are.
Our first stop lies in Spruce Grove. With as many activities as we have planned, we’ll need to get our blood pumping early. You can bring your bike, jog, or take a nice, relaxing stroll through the Heritage Trail System. Spruce Grove has a total of 40km of all-weather trails, giving the city over six times Edmonton’s trail density. It’s easy to forget that you’re in the middle of a city with amenities, restaurants, and a spray park nearby. If you brought your pet, there are even off-leash areas available. If walking isn’t your speed, feel free to open your thermos of tea or coffee and sit against a solid tree with a good book.
Make sure to finish your tour of the trails near Jubilee Park, where you can enjoy the picnic areas at no cost, including charcoal BBQ grills. Firewood is provided, though we encourage you to bring your own! If you have kids, there are playgrounds and the Ken Morrison/REMAX Excellence Spray Park nearby. The Spray Park is a new facility and will be celebrating its 2nd anniversary on Canada Day (and has reported six pokéstops in the area!). There’s ample room to play frisbee, a nine-hole disc golf course, a plaza, and a half basketball court.
For the afternoon, we’ll be taking short drive over to Stony Plain (or a two hour walk, if you’re feeling ambitious). Rotary Park at 4815-44 Avenue showcases a bridged pond with a beautiful fountain for that perfect walking atmosphere, or even just sitting on the water’s edge and closing your eyes to the sounds of the park. There’s even a brand new playground, including a zip line for the kids! There’s also the Rotary Wellness Park, located at 4210-44 Avenue and right alongside the trail system. It sports an outdoor gym available 24/7 for your full body workout, beach volleyball courts, and a playground.
If you brought along your dog, The Umbach Off-Leash Dog Park is a beautiful, large, and fenced-in area that features a brand new dog agility course, a water pond for dogs, trees, large grassy areas, and walking paths and benches. If not, we have a water pond for you too! The Stony Plain Outdoor Pool & Spray Park is a hidden gem located at 5210 55th Ave, and has plenty of programming and public swimming available this summer! Take a look at their schedule, as there’s even three hours of free public swim on Sundays.
Now that we’ve seen Stony Plain and Spruce Grove, we’re heading into a bit more of the country life with Parkland County! Our first adventure takes us to the waters of Pembina River, where we’ll be tubing down a beautiful, winding river, and enjoying a 62 metre gorge with Pembina River Tubing! Just make sure you get there early – due to the river levels changing in height, they need to have everyone out on the water by about 3:00 p.m. Don’t worry about having to get back to your car though! They offer a shuttle service to get you back there in no time.
If you’re a student or alumni at the University of Alberta, you’re probably familiar with all the secret little hidden corners that make campus so exciting. From the 2000-year-old mummy in the basement of Biological Sciences to the greenhouses on the roof of the same building, to the top floor of Tory and just literally all of Dent/Pharm. But did you know that there’s one place that tops them all? The UAlberta Botanic Gardens isn’t even on campus, it’s out in beautiful Parkland County. You’re practically there already! It’s the perfect spot for a romantic date night, with over 8000 actively managed plants across a vast area, a wide variety of cultural and ecological gardens, and it’s open right up until dusk on Thursdays! There are even events, complete with classes, yoga, festivals, and did we mention the date nights? Not only can you simply walk around and be amazed by the gardens, but they have events tailored to a fun and romantic night away.
Finally, we have the choice of campgrounds to wrap up the day! We can head back over to Entwistle RV Campground with nearby events, including Canada Day fireworks and games, a nearby farmers market in Evansburg, music, and more. There’s also the choice of Make a Friend sites for single units who don’t mind sharing a group fire pit to make new friends! Another great option is Wabamun Lake Provincial Park, with a campground right near the lakeside. Each site is private and sheltered in trees and has restrictions on excessive noise (including generators) and quiet hours. Best of all, while some are reservable, most campsites are available on a first-come-first-served basis, meaning you can go impulse camping without a fear of not being able to find a campsite!
It’s the perfect day (or overnight!) trip out of Edmonton, all within an hour’s drive.