DYK: Alberta Parks surrounds Edmonton with a wide range of epic provincial parks complete with camping, beaches, hiking, OHV trails and wildlife watching all just a short drive away. But what about winter?
Visiting Provincial Parks in winter could be one of the best kept secret bonuses of living and thriving in Alberta. Here are three great Provincial Parks all east of Edmonton that are ready, set and geared to make your season bright if you come to visit this winter.
An afternoon out (or an evening too) with the family?
Pack a winter picnic, mix up a thermos of your favourite warm beverage and head out to Miquelon Lake Provincial Park. The park’s winter trail system is very accessible for adventurous souls with ice cleats and snowshoes. Bring the skates and test out the loops and curves of the ice rink by the visitor centre. Or if you miss camping, try the winter version at one of the park’s 10 first come first serve campsites for the evening (but remember to bring your own firewood!).
It’s time to test your mettle, with a trails-based dash on world class cross country ski trails.
An ages old tradition in the Edmonton area is the Canadian Birkebeiner Festival in February—a two week celebration of Nordic traditions in the heart of Cooking Lake- Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area. The Alberta Parks team maintains nearly 170km of multi-use trails here that have a definite wilderness vibe. If you’re out at twilight or at dusk, you’ll probably be out there with others—namely wildlife like coyotes, moose and deer. Cooking Lake- Blackfoot has four distinct staging areas complete with huts, picnic tables and firepits. Each one has a unique feel and character. Remember that these trails include long loops and good sized hills, so be sure to come prepared and practice good trail etiquette for the activity you choose (please don’t be that person that snowshoes on a ski trail, for example.)
If you like the trails, but want to go farther afield, then Vermilion’s the park for you!
Just two hours down the Yellowhead brings you to the friendly and enjoyable town of Vermilion, Alberta and its hidden gem of a park. Nestled against the banks of the river, Vermilion Provincial Park is the pride and joy of this small prairie town of 4000 people. Once again, you’ll find another great place to explore with even more multi-use trails and cross-country ski loops. And then when you’re done for the day, there’s no need to hurry home. Spend the night in one of many cozy accommodations and get dinner out, along with a locally crafted beverage or two.
Looking for more fun winter adventures, visit our page about Winter Adventures
And to plan this, or any other great Provincial Park adventure in summer or winter, visit www.albertaparks.ca