Experience new adventures and local history in Cold Lake and Bonnyville.
Written by Karen Ung
“Just look at the trees and take a step,” Cat says reassuringly. We’re standing on a platform 18 metres (60 feet) above the ground, on the top level of the Aerial Adventure Park at Kinosoo Ridge (open Thursday-Sunday). Although I’m in a harness connected to a rope and there’s no risk of falling, my heart is racing. After a few deep breaths, I shut my eyes tight and step out into open air. The rope controls my fall so it isn’t as scary as expected, and by the time I’m halfway down, I’m giving a thumbs up to Cat and my daughter, hollering, “I’m still alive!”
While the Drop of Doom (our unofficial name for it) is the most adrenaline-inducing part of the aerial adventure park, you don’t have to do it unless you want to. With over 40 different challenges to test your mettle and muscles on three levels/courses, and multiple routes around each course, you can choose your own adventure. Drive a car across cables, sit at a picnic table suspended 40 feet above the ground, walk wobbly walkways, and more! Helpful staff can show you how to do tricky sections, or get to easier ones, so even younger adventurers (minimum height: 125 cm) can play. My kids loved the cable car, airplane, and car best.
In addition to “elevated adventure,” Kinosoo Ridge offers elevated dining at the onsite restaurant. The menu goes beyond standard ski hill fare, to offer the likes of white wine mussels and portobello fries. They still have classics like poutine, however, and it’s known as being the best in town! For an après-adventure feast, we recommend the charcuterie, chicken dinner, and watermelon feta salad. If you go on Sunday morning, you can enjoy Sunday Brunch from 10 am – 2 pm.
More Fun Things to Do in Cold Lake
Beautiful Kinosoo Beach, one of Canada’s top 25 beaches, boasts a spray park, playground, zipline across the water, floating docks, shaded picnic areas, beach volleyball and basketball courts, concession, and walking trails. If you’d like to try flyboarding, or paddling (stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, pedal boats), Wicked Watersport Rentals can hook you up.
- More beaches: Cold Lake Provincial Park, French Bay Provincial Recreation Area, and Medley River Beach.
Walk along Lakeshore Drive from the beach to Cold Lake Marina (2 km) for ice cream or waffles at Jonny Waffle’s, or fish and chips at Clark’s Eatery. Chartered fishing tours from Hamilton House Fishing Tours, and pontoon boat rentals from Wicked Watersport Rentals are also available at the marina; reservations required.
Next, head over to the Cold Lake Museums (open Tuesday-Sunday in July and August; Tuesday-Saturday from September-June) on Radar Hill. Discover the area’s rich history at the Cold Lake Air Force Museum, Oil and Gas, Heritage, and Aboriginal Museums.
With seven trails and a large skills park, you can easily spend an afternoon at Cold Lake Bike Park & Trails. Park near the water pumping station; at the museum, if open; or just past the museum.
The 2.8 km long Cold Lake Motocross Track (open April to October, weather permitting) features obstacles and jumps from 25 to 130 feet high. Its hillside location makes for awesome race viewing. Check out upcoming events, or purchase a day pass or yearly membership at Cold Lake Motocross Association.
Find rare, retro, or international candies at Dobbin’s Candy Store. They have some unique gift items, including Harry Potter wands and reversible octopus plushies, too!
Where to Stay in Cold Lake
Waterfront Harbour Bed & Breakfast is one of Canada’s best B&Bs and it’s easy to see why. The beautifully decorated three-storey home is located near the marina, and has a gorgeous garden and the best host. Each room has its own bathroom, and a gourmet breakfast is provided each morning. Rates are government-approved, so you can stay in style if you’re on a business trip.
Upon arrival, owner Isabel Myshaniuk gives us a tour and homemade scones. While I enjoy the lake view from the window seat in my room, the kids gravitate to the Reading Nook. Our top floor 3-room suite has plenty of space, a soaker tub, mini fridge, and fireplace. A family of five would be very comfortable here, and it’s possible to book the entire house (sleeps 14), but it’s mostly couples who stay here. Locals Angie and Damien told us, “we live down the street and stay here all the time” for a relaxing getaway.
An Afternoon in Bonnyville
The friendly town of Bonnyville, population 6,000, is only 40 minutes from Cold Lake. Enjoy lunch at Jennie’s Diner & Bakery, then visit Bonnyville & District Museum. If time allows, try the 8.7 m / 32 ft high climbing wall at Bonnyville and District Centennial Centre (C2).
Jennie’s Diner & Bakery is a classic 50’s diner with a twist. Get a burger and shake, all day breakfast, pulled pork sandwich, or freshly-baked cupcakes. There are several gluten-free and vegan options too! I was amazed to get a vegan gluten free milkshake in a small town! With Instagrammable decor and delicious dishes, Jennie’s is a favorite of locals and road trippers alike.
Bonnyville & District Museum (open weekdays late May – June 25, and daily June 25 -August) has 15 buildings on 3 acres full of local artifacts from the fur trade and pioneer days. The Main Building also houses an art gallery with work by local artists. Look for “I Spy” scavenger hunts posted inside the buildings, and visit Bonnyville Museum on Tiktok to find all the creepy dolls and hear hilarious things “things kids have said” while touring the museum. Leave a comment in the guest book and perhaps you will be quoted one day!
Continue your Highway 28 trek to not miss Ardmore Golf & Country Club on your way from Cold Lake to Bonnyville. It has an 18-hole golf course, 9-hole mini golf course, driving range, and concession – and it’s a Go East of Edmonton Roadtrip Adventure Game Sticker Stop!