Like many families, we’re searching for ways that we can get the kids outside, and engage them in fun activities that give them something new and fresh to look forward to. Venturing out to Elk Island National Park will require that you have a park pass, but comes with many different fun adventures throughout the park.
Here’s what to do during the winter at Elk Island National Park
Snowshoe and Stargaze
Come take part in two unique experiences at Elk Island National Park: snowshoeing and stargazing!
Begin your experience with a short guided hike on snowshoes around the shore of Astotin Lake. Roam atop the snow like a snowshoe hare while stars twinkle overhead. As you march along, the welcoming crackling of a campfire eclipses the soft sounds of nature surrounding you.
Find a Geocache
Caches range from easy 1/2 hour treks to challenging half day finds. These caches showcase some of the top picks in the park. To ensure that animals don’t become interested in the geocaches, staff kindly ask that you not to leave anything in the caches; sign the log book, take a selfie, and log your find on www.geocaching.com. (Not sure about how to get started with Geocaching? We like this guide and app)
Walk to the Islands
With the lake frozen over and ready for skating (though, a lot of the lake is quite rough and snow covered making ice skating a bit trickier than usual), you can easily walk out to the islands on Astotin Lake. Remember to be aware of winter safety, and ice safety, while you adventure. It’s your chance to discover hidden nooks, tree forts and other places within the islands, and have a whole new adventure, on the ice. As of this weekend, we didn’t require ice cleats, as the ice was not slippery, and most of the lake was covered in snow.
We like the route at the Living Waters Boardwalk, and starting from there, outward on to the lake to discover, coming back towards the traditional beach area, finishing up with S’mores at the fire pit, and a play session at the great new playground.
Make S’mores over a Fire
Enjoy a picnic at one of the Elk Island picnic shelters all year long! Picnic shelters are located within the Astotin Lake Area includes the Pavilion or at the Tawayik Lake Picnic Area. You can waarm up with a fire at the Tawayik Lake warming shelter which is outfitted to keep out the winter chill! Wood is provided in the wood boxes at Tawayik, and the Astotin Lake Day Use Area.
Find a Bison
Watch in awe from the safety (and the warmth) of your car as a herd of bison graze before you in an open meadow, steam rising from their woolly coats on cool mornings. Inch forward and feel your pulse accelerate as the prehistoric behemoths grunt and paw the earth. One raises its head, casts a glance your way, then the herd of a dozen amble onto the roadway.
Find more to do at Elk Island National Park, here, and find more winter trails, activities and places to explore in Edmonton in our winter exploring guide, here.