Kinnaird Highlands Trail - 5.3ish km loop (Easy)
The Kinnaird Highlands trail has become my favourite trail in Edmonton to date. There is a nice mix of nature and cityscapes that keep you entertained on a leisurely stroll by the river. This trail doubles as an off leash area for dogs which Henry, my golden, loves. Sarah was not present for this walk but we did have my dad, Henry, and Penelope (the black dog).
The trail starts on the south side of Concordia. Park along Ada Boulevard, as close to the staircase as you can. The stairs provide access to the trail, but there is also a multi use path just a hundred metres or so west for bikes or walking, that meets up at the base of the stairs. The entire trail doubles as a bike path so keep an eye and an ear open for cyclists.
The start of the trail will take you through a wooded area for about 750 metres before you come to an opening that would be good for picnics. If you continue another 250 metres to the 1km mark you get this splendid view of downtown peeking over the river valley. This view is less popular, but I think that with the emergence of the Ice District and the large towers shooting up, we will see more photos taken from this angle making the rounds on Instagram.
After these openings you will go into a denser wooded area again until about 1.5km where there will be another opening and another view. This is also where I noticed a bunch of Manitoba maple trees flowering quite nicely. Although, to be honest, I Snapchatted Sarah a picture to identify the trees for me. There was also apparently cottonwood along the trail but without Sarah there my dad and I had no chance of definitively identifying any. This is also where we saw some hoodoo-esque formations on the hillside. This was much more interesting for my dad than me as I prefer my hoodoos in column form.
Continuing along the trail you will see the Dawson Bridge at 2.3km in, although if you wanted a picture just wait a couple more steps. The turnaround point is at Dawson Park, 2.5km from the staircase. Here you have a better view of the bridge for your picture. Dawson Park looked like a nice place to have an evening barbecue with the boys and in fact there was one such group making use of the great evening weather we had.
On the way back we walked along the gravel path that hugs the river bank. This provided us with some interpretive signs about the flora and fauna of the area as well as some stunning views of the river. This is where todays unfortunate event occurred, there seems to be a theme arising in all of my posts…
I was setting up a very nice composition of the river, forest and downtown and was decently excited with the on screen image, but I guess somewhere in the grass the rubber foot of my tripod just came off. I should say that this may have been the cheapest tripod on Amazon at $25 and I did have to hold the legs if a gentle breeze came our way, but I wasn't going to spend $500 on three pieces of metal. Well I learned that the rubber feet on the cheap tripods aren't exactly glued on. Just kind of wedged on until tight. I have not used my tripod since but I am currently considering upgrading to a slightly better model.
All things considered this is currently my favourite trail in Edmonton. I liked the variation you get. We walked through forested areas, open fields, along cliff faces and beside hoodoos. Also, I really liked the fact that you would walk through a forest and then pop out and get a different view of the city than the last place you were at. I would rate this trail 6.5/10.