For years and years I’ve grown up here and have taken the Edmonton River Valley and Parks for granted. Only in the last couple of years have I really begun to appreciate the incredible opportunity and beauty that is right in front of me. Whether it’s been swimming, walking, biking, or snowboarding, endless fun and enjoyment seems to be everywhere thanks to the long stretched-out natural playground that meanders through the city.
Edmonton’s River Valley is made up of 20 major parks and has over 160km of maintained pathways (not counting the abundance of unmarked trails). This makes it super easy to access the river valley from almost any point. Cliffside lookouts, mature forest, and sandy beaches are all found right in the city, not to mention an extensive amount of single track bike trails, two ski hills, and so much more. There is no doubt that the river valley system here is a true spectacle and unique to a large urban landscape.
The park system is continuous, allowing one to walk/bike/ski beside the river throughout the length of the city. The River Valley Alliance have plans, already underway, to extend and develop the continuous park system from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan.
Edmontonians seem to take advantage of the valley. If you visit one of the parks you constantly see people going for a jog, walking the dog, having picnics, canoeing, or watching the sunset. It’s great to see people using the valley and being thankful for the endless opportunity and healthy lifestyle that the river valley provides for our city.
When looking at a satellite image of Edmonton you will notice a pronounced band of green cutting through the middle of the city (the river valley). Smaller veins of green (ravines), extend out north and south connecting some of the far reaches of our city back to the river.
The North Saskatchewan River Valley is the beating heart of our city. It gives Edmonton life and creates a way for Edmontonians to connect with nature and each other. This intricate and beautiful system of forest, trails, parks, and water truly make Edmonton a unique and special city to live in and proud to be a part of.