I love hiking. With friends, with family, and of course, alone. Quite often I find myself alone in the woods, because I like to go so frequently that if I didn’t go alone, I wouldn’t be going.
Also as a woman in my 30’s I find myself honestly quite rebellious against the notion that a woman cannot hike/walk/jog alone for fear of being attacked etc. And while one should always use intelligence and street smarts, ahem, a self defence class isn’t a bad idea, and/or carrying a bit of bear spray if you’re in some deep woods, one should never feel afraid to walk (or do anything) alone.
In fact I challenged myself last October/November to do a daily walk/hike in the morning, after dropping my kids off at school and before working for the day. I’ll admit the first few times were a bit- unnerving. Some of trails are empty during the weekdays in the winter, with the exception of city trails or dog parks, and like many things, being alone (and feeling safe and confident) takes practice.
While it’s not for everyone, it’s certainly something I cherish for myself. Time to commune with nature, enjoy the silence, and really feel empowered (YES, by a simple thing like being alone in the woods).
So with all my ranting put out there haha, now I will begin my fave 30 trails in #YEG and area with hikes #1-#5- please check out my other posts for the other hikes!
Also don’t forget to follow my hashtag #30hikes30daysyeg on Instagram.
#1. Wagner Natural Area, Parkland County
This place is a favourite of mine for a quick jaunt and also of MANY people who have dogs. It’s a short trail (about 20 minutes or so ) through a wooded area/park reserve just off the Yellowhead (Hwy 16). This is perfect for me since I live in Parkland County, to get a quick walk in before starting work or picking up the kids from school. If you want to change up the view, I suggest trying the trail in reverse- a little perspective change is never a bad thing.
This is a popular place in the spring for photo shoots, and there is also a picnic area as well as out house facilities. This is also a great trail to walk with your kids or grandparents- they want to walk, but not for too long 😉
Here are a few pics (I go here at least once a month, and the seasons are so lovely to experience)
Want to explore Wagner Natural Area?
Here’s the link to the site and directions- www.wagnerfen.ca/wagner-natural-area
#2 Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary, Parkland County
This is easily my favourite place to go alone, with friends, with friends with dogs, and with my family. The duck watching in the spring is amazing, the bird feeding is second to none as it is a bird sanctuary, and the mixture of boardwalk/wooded trails is perfect. Spend 30 minutes to 2 hours here depending on how many trails you want to do, and how long you want to watch the ducks and feed the birds. My daughter says she feels like Snow White and feeding the little chickadees is one of her greatest joys.
A huge part of the first trail you will come across is boardwalk- it’s pretty great.
Here are some winter shots (taken Nov 2018)
Feeding the birds:
Our daughter N, aka Snow White:
Want to visit Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary?
Check out their site here for more information and directions: http://cliffordelee.com
#3- Hasse Lake Natural Area (Beaver Pond Trail Loop) (1.6km) Parkland County
This is a nice place to visit to go for a picnic or hike OR to go fishing if you’re in the area- honestly the drive down Parkland Drive and just being in the area is worth it alone- it’s actually got a fairly secluded feel to it. There are some really cute picnic spots/bbq stoves and some grassy areas to toss the frisbee around and let the dogs run. It’s VERY quiet here for the most part, especially if you go in the fall or winter. On a cooler overcast day in the fall, it’s even a bit eerie especially when you see the derelict park gate (at one time I think this place was a little bit busier)- but that is so my vibe, spooky woods FTW. There are some absolutely lovely trees and would make for a great photo spot. If you have 45 minutes to spend, it’s worth a visit.
NOTE: wasps can be VERY nasty out here during the season, so beware!
Here are some pictures:
If you want to take a trek out to Hasse Lake, check out more info and directions here:
#4- Muir Lake Day Use Area (Fishing, and trail around lake) Parkland County
Muir Lake is a great spot located in the Glory Hills with a pond perfect for trout fishing. There is also a really pretty, wooded trail along the lake, with multiple access points for fishing. You’ll want to pay attention to your maps to find this place unless you’re used the area, because the trail head access point can be a blink and you’ll miss it if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, and it can seem like just another property entrance.
Here are a few pictures:
Want to check out Muir Lake Day Use Park? Here’s the info and directions:
#5- Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area (Trails #1-#2) Parkland County
Since Chickakoo Lake has multiple trails (4 to be exact) and to do all 4, which I’ve done several times alone and with a good friend when she’s walking her dog (it takes about 2 to 2.5 hours- and that’s at a brisk pace). So I split up the days that I did these trails and really, they deserve 2 spots for all 4 trails, as they all have varied degrees of difficulty. These trails are super popular for cyclists/joggers/dog walkers and there are some areas for picnic/bbq’s, a bonfire pit closer to the water- that is PERFECT for winter picnics/a picnic shelter/a super cute little playground/and of course a little dock/water access for kayaking. We really love it here as a family and if you don’t live in Parkland County, I promise you that it is ABSOLUTELY worth the drive out.
Here are few pics of one of my solo adventures. It was around -3 degrees since it was 8:30 in the morning.
Frosty in the brisk mornings. This view at the trail head of #1 is dramatically different with each season.
Me. Totally alone, but enjoying the sunshine.
Had not come across anyone yet. Which is really nice if you’ve experienced how busy this place can be on weekends and in the summer.
Trust me. You’ll fall in love with this place too.
Want to explore Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area? Check out the info here (trail map)
And more information here
Also don’t forget to check out my next post for more trails at Chickakoo and a lot of other fun spots!