Alberta daytrip adventures
Wednesday, Jul 09, 2014 06:00 am
St. Albert is surrounded by lots of fun options for day trips, and summer is a great time to check out a variety of Alberta adventures.
A short drive south, the Town of Devon can provide a day of family fun at Voyageur Park. Located on the North Saskatchewan River, the park is an excellent spot to cool down with a leisurely half to one-hour float up the North Saskatchewan River to the Lions Campground or a swim in the shallow river water.
A daytrip to Devon could also prove to be lucrative – people pan for gold in the river between Voyageur Park and Prospector Point.
“There is really gold in the river,” says Krista Kagume with the Town of Devon. “People often gold-pan down there. You can find little, tiny flecks of gold.”
There are picnic areas, fire pits and restroom facilities in Voyageur Park, and right next door is the popular mountain bike skills park. Phase two of the park was completed last year.
“There’s a pump track, which is like a circular track, there are jumps and then there’s a downhill course,” says Kagume. “It’s pretty big and pretty busy. We have easy jumps that little five-year-olds go on, all the way up to kids on BMXs.”
She says Voyageur Park also has one of the few boat launches along the River Valley Alliance trails making it a popular spot with boaters.
If you don’t have your own boat, Black Gold River Tours in Devon offers jet boat river cruises on the North Saskatchewan.
While stunning parks to the west are popular travel destinations, Elk Island National Park is an often-overlooked option to the east. Just under an hour’s drive will bring you to this place where the bison roam.
In addition to hiking the trails in the park or canoeing on Astotin Lake, wildlife watching – especially bison – is a popular activity at Elk Island. Visitors can learn more about the bison conservation initiatives at Elk Island National Park with a tour of the Plains Bison Handling Facility featuring hands-on activities and demonstrations.
Thursday through Sunday park programs offer children the chance to create aboriginal crafts, give geocaching a go, or even learn to camp.
Just over two hours away from St. Albert, the family can get all aboard a real steam or diesel-powered train in Stettler.
Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions offers full day train adventures. Professional performers entertain passengers on rides with themes including murder mysteries and a teddy bear special for kids.
In addition to entertainment, the train features an open-air car, concessions and even the Lone Star saloon.
Excursions include a full course buffet meal at the Big Valley stop and maybe even a train robbery.
Prices range from $70-$155 per person and the entire train ride is five or six hours.