Hawrelak Park is one of Edmonton's busiest parks. It is a very accessible park for all ages and all levels of mobility. It is also a... more » great place for a picnic, walk or to watch a festival. It is a great jump off point for other trails in the river valley park system.
William Hawrelak Park (or simply Hawrelak Park) is named after former mayor William Hawrelak, and was formerly known as Mayfair Park. The park is home to the Heritage Amphitheatre, which is used for many festivals and performances, such as the Freewill Shakespeare Festival, the Edmonton Heritage Festival and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra's Symphony Under the Sky Festival.
This walk takes us down the river valley to Fort Edmonton starting in Hawrelak Park. Parking by picnic site #2 is a great place if you want to access the river valley trail system in a number of directions. You jump on the trail system and take a left by the pedestrian bridge and start heading down into the river valley.
Nice wide trails greet you as you make your way through the trees. There are trails closer to the river that you can access, but watch out for the steep banks. There are also washed out areas of the trail that are marked, so please stay out of those. In particular, the Keillor Slump which is closed to everyone. You will pass a few staircases leading up to the neighbourhoods you pass on this walk.
You now have to bypass the area around the Keillor Slump, so up the trail you go, then back down into the river valley on wonderful, wide paved paths. You will pass the Whitemud Equine Centre and pass through the bottom of Whitemud Park. Along the way you get nice views of the river and all of the boating activity. The Laurier Park Boat Launch is always busy and is visible on the opposite bank.
You will pass some riverside beach which acts as a fishing area and boat access point before you cross the pedestrian bridge and head over to Fort Edmonton Park. This is a very enjoyable walk with many different landscapes to explore.
This is a long walk, but very rewarding in its views and exposure to the trail system. Great bike path as well. Make sure you arrange pickup in Fort Edmonton Park, or you will have a long, uphill walk back. less «