Welcome back after the holidays! We hope you were able to enjoy it with lots of good food and good friends. As we close the book on 2016, we here at Chipps are looking forward to finding out what 2017 has in store. After a year like ’16, we expect there’s only room to improve. Before we return to business as usual in the New Year, the team at Chipps wants to extend their best wishes to all of our readers.
If you’re anything like us, then the holiday season was an indulgent one. It’s hard to say no to the goodies of the season, which is why fitness-related goals are the city’s most popular resolution. Edmonton isn’t the easiest city to stay active with winter weather like ours. We know this all too well, as we work year-round to maintain, prune, and remove the trees in the city. Whether it’s 30 above or 30 below, we’ll be there. However, we don’t recommend you attempt our workout in your pledge for a healthier 2017. In fact, we insist you leave your tree maintenance to us — the experts! Instead, we suggest you explore another one of the city’s gorgeous parks to attain your goals this year.
We’re starting off the year with another update to our virtual tour of the River Valley Park system, and we recommend the year’s first experience of the River Valley to be with Gold Bar Park. Located on the southern shores of the North Saskatchewan River, it’s nestled between Capilano and Gold Stick Parks. (You can read more about Capilano by going back to our posts from September). The pedestrian footbridge crossing the river also connects Gold Bar to Rundle, a greenspace featured in this past November’s blog.
The River Valley park system has over 160 kilometres of walking and hiking trails for you to explore this winter. With a mixture of paved and non-paved trails linking Gold Bar to the parks mentioned above, you’ll find it easy to hit your steps goal any day you plan a visit. The fact that the snow-covered trees and icy river create a beautiful backdrop to your mid-winter hike is just an added bonus.
Gold Bar is also a popular winter destination for cross country skiers with its 4 groomed trails. At the time of this post, only the Lake Loop is suitable for skiing — though this is subject to change. It’s always a good idea to check the status of any trail in Gold Bar (or the rest of the River Valley system) before you head out with friends and family. You can check the City of Edmonton’s website to see the conditions of any trail by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed or email notifications for convenient updates about conditions sent directly to your phone.
The City of Edmonton strives to maintain these groomed trails; however, it takes considerable time, effort, and — let’s not forget — snow in order to create trails that can withstand ski traffic. Gold Bar has been outfitted with a state-of-the-art snow machine to help the City accomplish this. It still takes around an hour to groom a single kilometre of trail, as it requires sufficient snow depth and combing before it’s safe to ski.
However you intend to enjoy Gold Bar, the River Valley Park system provides the perfect opportunity to get off the couch and get active this year. See how far you can push yourself on the trails, whether by foot or by ski. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to explore more of the 160+ kilometres available in the city. Keep checking in with our blog to learn more about North America’s largest urban park system, and remember, keep the wintertime tree care to us.