3. South West of Edmonton – between Yellowhead Highway and Highway 2.
Go: Approximately 30 km west of downtown Edmonton, Spruce Grove is about half an hoursdrive from Edmonton on 16A . Directions
Know: Established as a bustling grain trade centre with the arrival of Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in early 1900s, Spruce Grove is the 9th (currently) largest city in Alberta. Originally settled by French and Scottish immigrants, the name Spruce Grove came from the groves spruce trees and poplars that were prominent throughout the countryside.
Take a walk through Wagner Natural area, a microcosm of boreal forest (1.6 km west of the junction of Yellowhead Highway 16 and Highway 44), enjoying the orchids (Sixteen species of orchids, out of a total of 26 species found in Alberta, occur within or near Wagner Natural Area), various wild flowers including carnivorous plants, and colurful plumage of birds that call the area it’s home. Isolated population of the Western (or Boreal) Toad is found in marl ponds, which you can see while hiking the scenic 1.5 kilometre Marl Pond Trail. The trail also the visitor through a variety of the habitats, including successional meadow, willow swamp, aspen parkland, black spruce forest, white spruce forest.
Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is another place to appreciate nature. The santuary protects 348 acres of marshland, open meadow, aspen parkland and pine forest. The varied habitats of the Sanctuary attract a diversity of animals, including more than one hundred bird species, and provide excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Take a tour of Spruce Grove & District Agricultural Society’s Grain Elevator Museum, and get to know the history of Spruce Grove.
Participate in various festivals held throughout year including Christmas in Central Park, Canada Day festivities, Farm & Heritage Carnival in August and Harvest Fair in September.
Go: Located on either side of Hwy. 16A, is approximately 40 km from downtown Edmonton. Directions
Know: Known as “The Town with the Painted Past” due to the murals adorning a number of buildings in the town, Stony Plain is an agricultural community, that was first inhabited by Stoney natives from Dakota in 1700s. The town grew with the coming of railways in 1900s.
Visit Rotary Park and get all the information you need for your tour of Stony Plain from the visitor’s centre located inside the replica of the railway station built in 19o5. The park is also a great place to relax, walking trails, with a playground(there is also a restored railway car and railway equipment) and picnic tables.
Experience the Town with the Painted Past and discover 36 life-sized murals designed by artists from across Canada, historic sites, legendary characters and the unforgettable stories behind them(like the one about town sheriff, Israel Umbach, who chained the train to make CPR pay its taxes). You can either tour on your own or go for a guided horse and wagon ride mural tour(during summer).
Enjoy a walk in the Shikaoi Park, a beautiful, Japanese garden, and appreciate the wide variety of small wildlife and native vegetation found in Willow Park Natural Area.
Multicultural Heritage Centre showcases a living museum which reflects local history, Western Canadian pioneer life and an art gallery that exhibits works of local and Canadian artists.
Explore the street scene depicting the 1930s in a small Alberta town at The Stony Plain & Parkland Pioneer Museum. The museum has a collection of over 6000 artifacts ranging including pump organs, and farm equipments. There are over 10 historic buildings, and you can also see harvesting by older traditional methods in the fall.
Located north of Stony Plain(in Parkland County) is 480-acre park Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area, that has over 14 kilometres of scenic trails, which are perfect in the summer for walking or biking and in the winter trails are track set for cross country skiing. You can also enjoy canoeing, or fishing at the lake. Equestrian riding is also permitted.
Hasse Lake and Jackfish Lake (both in Parkland County) are also great destinations for young families to enjoy swimming , boating fishing and other outdoor activities.
Stroll the Main Street and shop from the many stores in the vicinity, or at the gift shop housed in Oppertshauser House, built in 1910 at the Multicultural Heritage Centre. Get exceptional pottery or unique, handmade collectibles fromCrooked Pot Gallery.
Participate in Farmer Days and Rodeo Exhibition in June, Blueberry Bluegrass Festival in July, and Stony Plain Cowboy Festival in August.
Go: Located in Parkland County, Wabamun Lake can be accessed from many points along its shore (~an hour from downtown on Hwy 16). Village of Wabamun is situated on the northern shores of Lake Wabamun and Seba Beach is on the western shore. Directions to Wabamun Lake Provncial Park.
Know: Formed during the last glacial retreat, about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, Wabamun Lake with an area of 83 sq. km is the 12th largest lake in Alberta. The Summer Villages of Lakeview, Wabamun, Point Alison, Seba Beach, Betula Bea and the Hamlet of Fallis are located on Wabamun Lake’s shore.
Wabamun Lake is also one of busiest, most used lakes in Alberta.
Celebrate summer at Edmontonian’s summer destination. Wabamun Lake Provncial Parkoffers a plethora of activities from all sorts of water related recreational activities to hiking to birding. Surrounding power stations keep the water from freezing making it a great wildlife and birding area. The lake is also well known for whitefish, yellow perch and northern pike fishing. Enjoy swimming at Moonlight Bay (man made beach) at Wabamun Lake PP or at Seba Beach.
Village of Wabamun’s Waterfront Park offers full-size boat launch for access onto Lake Wabamun, a water spray park, large playground for children, and picnic facilities. The Wabamun & District Museum showcases local historical artifacts. You can also see world’s largest dragonfly (road side attraction) here.
Shop at Seba Beach Farmers Market held at the Seba Beach Heritage Pavilion every Saturday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm starting the Mothers Day weekend and ending with a Harvest Market on the third weekend of September.
Participate in Dragon Fly festival in June at Village of Wabamun, August long weekend annual Regatta at Seba Beach.
Go: Located west of Red Deer, take Queen Elizabeth II highway(AB-2) and take exit 405 B io Highway 11A W towards Sylvan Lake. Approximately 160 km from Edmonton. Directions
Know: A town for all seasons, the name Sylvan Lakewas derived from the latin word, sylvanus meaning – of a forest. Settled by French speaking immigrants from Quebec and the United States in late 1800s, Sylvan Lake was, even then, a popular summer destination for people in the region. The Town was officially incorporated in 1913.
Experience zero gravity with the Sidewinder at Wild Rapids Water Slide Park, the outdoor water slide park. With plenty of rides and slides, Wild Rapids Water Slide Park iis a perfect place for a day of fun in the sun.
Jack Frostbrings a whole new set of activities including ice fishing, skating, skidooing and cross-country skiing and more!
Shop at Sylvan Lake Farmers Market on Fridays, Victoria Day weekend to Thanksgiving weekend at Railway Promenade north Lot (Corner of 50th (Centennial) Street and 50th Ave, Sylvan Lake. Across from CIBC and the Legion). Cool down at Big Moo Ice Cream Parlor that serves more than 80 flavors of premium ice cream, in addition to a sizzling grill where they serve the best burgers, wraps and rice bowls and many other yummy treats.
Participate in year round of festivities from fireworks during Canada Day and New Years day, celebrate Sylvan lake’s birthday during 1913 days in June, rock out during Summer Sensation Beach Music Festival, welcome christmas with Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival.
Go: Located west of the City of Lacombe in the counties of Ponoka and Lacombe, Gull Lake can be accessed from both east & west sides. To get to the Lake, travel on Highway 2 to Lacombe, turn west on Highway 12 and drive for approximately 15 km. Approximately 140 km from Edmonton. Directions
Know: Named after the large population of gulls found near the lake, Gull Lake is a large shallow lake with a catchment area of 206 sq. km. The oldest Summer Village in Alberta, the Summer Village of Gull Lake is located on its south shore.
Gull Lakeis a popular summer and winter recreational lake with sandy beaches. Activities include swimming, sport fishing, sailing, power boating, and windsurfing. Gull lake is one of the best ice fishing spots in Alberta.
Aspen Beach Provincial Park located at the lake’s shore provide beach access (no access in winter), has great hiking trails (Cross Country Skiing in winter), and campgrounds.