With over 875 parks and trails in the Edmonton area, and over 40 off-leash areas, finding the perfect spot for you and your furry friend can be tough. Both exercising and socializing your dog is extremely important to their well being, and it can be difficult to know where your pup will fit in best.
Whether your dog needs a fenced-in play area, a place to swim and cool off, or a hefty hike to burn energy, we’re here to break it down for you.
Oh, and before we forget, thanks to Edmonton River Valley Alliance for taking care of the #yeg trails and creating one of the world’s largest parks right here in our own back yard, #trekthetrail.
So, what are Edmonton’s best dog walking trails?
1. Terwillegar Park
The Terwillegar Dog Park is a familiar favorite.
Located on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River at the end of Rabbit Hill Road, this park is well-loved for being one of the city’s most expansive off-leash areas at 186 acres (with exception of the footbridge, where dogs must be leashed while crossing).
A full loop of the 4.2 km perimeter takes around an hour and fifteen minutes, but there are plenty of other, shorter trails to explore too if you’re in a time crunch.
While this is an off-leash dog park, it is not fenced in.
Make sure you have a strong relationship with your dog, and that they come when called. The area has multiple access points to the river, and the current can be strong some days. For those canines who are keen on swimming, the park does have a designated dog beach where pups are encouraged to safely cool off, play fetch, and socialize.
2. Buena Vista Park
Our certified dog walkers spend a lot of their time at both Terwillegar Park and Buena Vista Park because these are two exceptional off-leash dog parks.
Buena Vista is located on the north bank of the river, adjacent to Sir Wilfred Laurier Park and Hawrelak Park. In Spanish, Buena Vista means beautiful view and the park definitely lives up to the name.
This park has numerous multi-use trails as well as one of the largest off-leash areas in Edmonton. Our dog walkers are continually finding new trails to explore in this park and if you go off the main trails you will discover them as well.
Our dogs get an enormous amount of exercise at both Terwillegar Park and Buena Vista Park due to the fact that they can be off-leash and really play and run with their pack in the wide-open spaces.
Our one hour dog walks in these two beautiful locations really make for a happy and tired pooch.
Buena Vista Park is easily accessible and has an abundance of parking. There are accessible washrooms near the off-leash meadow that are open from 9 am to 9 pm.
The park itself is open from 5 am for you early birds and closes at 11 pm.
There are multiple access points to the river for the dogs to keep them cool and happy. A dock is located near the Edmonton Rowing Club but the dogs must be on a leash in this area. Currents can be very strong near the dock so it is best to keep your dog on the inside of the dock for their safety.
Check out the other areas where your dog can access the river as they may be easier to access and more dog friendly.
3. Sir Wilfred Laurier Park
More commonly known as Laurier Park, this outdoor recreation area has it all.
From picnic and BBQ sites to playgrounds and hot air balloon launches (mostly on summer weekends), Laurier Park is best for family fun. A newly renovated boat launch site makes exploring the Saskatchewan River easy.
Off-leash is permitted to dog walkers in some areas, as posted by signage around the park. A full loop of the park is around 3.2km, taking approximately an hour. These trails are particularly well suited for those who love to stroll, not hike.
All walkways are made of gravel, marked, and have relatively no elevation change—perfect for senior dogs and owners.
4. Elk Island National Park, Hayburger Trail
Located 50 km east of Edmonton lies this nature wonderland!
If you and your pup love exploring, hiking, and wildlife, this one is for you.
Elk Island National Park is well known for—you guessed it—it’s refuge of elk. However, the park also boasts wildlife like bison, bears, cranes, and over 250 species of birds.
Hayburger Trail is named after a family that homesteaded in the park until the 19030s. The trail crosses a black spruce bog where boreal birds and moose may be observed. The trail also meanders through open aspen forest and meadows, the preferred habitat of the plains bison.
Make sure you and your dog are calm and comfortable with the park’s inhabitants before you go, and it never hurts to bring along another buddy!
If this option doesn’t appeal to you, or you’re too busy to give your energetic dog the walks they deserve, The Leash Team has got you covered.
Send your pooch on a group our group dog walking day trip called “Dog Adventures.”
With a minimum of 10 km walks, dog picnics, games, and more, The Leash Team is sure to spoil man’s best friend.
Every participant will be sent a photo and video album of the day, so you’ll know exactly how much fun your dog has had. Our previous "Dog Adventure" visited Hayburger Trail and it was a huge success.
Make sure you check the Parks Canada site before attending, as trails frequently close due to bear activity, weather, and other factors.
The length of the Hayburger Trail is 11.6 km and takes between 3 to 4 hours to walk and is considered moderate difficulty.
5. Lauderdale Off-Leash Site
Attention puppy owners!
Lauderdale is perfect for newbies to the off-leash experience, especially young puppies.
Introducing your precious fur baby to other dogs can be nerve-wracking, but the Lauderdale off-leash park offers a controlled environment to slowly easy your dog into their social life.
As of Fall 2017, this is Edmonton’s largest fully fenced-in off-leash park, and even offers a separate area for small dogs.
Overall, this is the best off-leash site for those who consider themselves beginners, or owners of nervous dogs.
Lauderdale off-leash is at the south end of Grand Trunk Park from 127 to 129 avenue and 113A to 109 St.
6. Callingwood Park
Another park best for family activities, Callingwood includes access to spray and skate parks, picnic sites, sports fields, and a pavilion.
Let the kids play and explore while you take your dog on a leisurely walk, or let them run free in the off-leash site! Nearby, the YMCA and library offer even more amenities, making this a prime location in the summer.
Leading up the pathway to the pavilion, you’ll notice bits and pieces of poetry etched into the cement. This art installation features inspiring and thought-provoking words written by over 28 different artists of various ages, including young children, from the Callingwood community and greater Edmonton area. Your dog may not appreciate it much, but it sure makes your walk more interesting.
7. Mill Creek Ravine
Full of large expanses of trees, this trail is a sight to behold in the fall.
Amber and rust coloured leaves dot the trees and drift into the creek, making Mill Creek Ravine a great location for relaxing picnics and long walks.
An off-leash area is available, but it is not fully fenced in, as it has access to the creek. However, the creek is shallow and is a great spot for dogs who love to swim, or are just trying out the water.
Dogs are required on a leash in all other areas.
Another major feature of this trail is the Mill Creek Trestle, located by 76th Avenue. This was once the home to the Edmonton, Yukon, and Pacific Railway line, but was abandoned in 1954 and converted into bike trails much later.
The community has worked hard to keep this area free of roads and highways, pushing until the Trestle was recognized as a Municipal Historic Resource in 2004. There is now a plaque commemorating the history of the railways.
8. Kinnaird Park Highlands Hiking Trail
If you’re more into the city-scape view, Kinnaird Park is a great option.
A full hike is approximately 4.3km long, or a little over an hour.
The best parking spot for this trail is along Ada Boulevard and begins at the edge of the Highlands Golf Club before passing through a gate that brings you beneath Capilano Bridge.
There is access to an off-leash area great for playing fetch, but most of the trails will require a leash.
The Kinnaird trail is rated as moderate difficulty and is best used from April until October.
Also, close by is the “secret” River Valley Swing. You’ll have to explore slightly off the path with your dog to find this one, as it's right along the Saskatchewan River and not immediately visible from the marked paths.
If this interests you, it's never a bad idea to bring along a friend (other than your dog), so you don’t find yourself lost!
Tips: Bring some water and a camera to capture all the great views.
Like most outdoor activities in Edmonton, the weather is always a major factor when choosing a trail for your dog walks
If you tend to find it difficult to get yourself and your dog out during the harsh winter months or even during the milder months, The Leash Team is dedicated to giving your dog the outdoor time they need when you're short on time or help.
Get out there and enjoy this beautiful Fall weather before it’s gone.