cross country skiing
Located less than an hour away from Edmonton, Elk Island National Park of Canada protects the wilderness of the aspen parkland, one of the most endangered habitats in Canada. This beautiful oasis is home to herds of free roaming plains bison, wood bison, moose, deer, and elk. Also boasting over 250 species of birds, the park is a bird watcher's paradise. Be it for wildlife viewing, hiking, cross-country skiing, picnicking or overnight camping, there is something for everyone at Elk Island National Park. Elk Park was first established in 1906 as a federal game preserve to protect the declining elk populations of the Beaver Hills. Some of the last Plains Bison in the world were reintroduced to Elk Park in 1907. In 1913 Elk Park joined the Parks Canada family. Since that time Elk Island National Park has been Canada
Trail was well kept and clean, rolling terrain. did loop in little over and hour with my wife and 20 month old son. Most of trail was through cutlines in the woods with some views of marsh and lakes. Lots of animal tracks but did not see any wildlife.
Trail almost entirely runs through a fostered area and when my wife and I hiked it, the trail was overgrown with ankle to knee high grass/weeds. We enjoyed our hike, but because of the heavy bison traffic the trail was also pretty crewed up, which made it a little more difficult than normal.
Approximately 20 km as opposed to 24 miles like All Trails suggested, I assure you, it's no where near 24 miles.
Rolling, hills, knob and kettle terrain, opportunities to see Bison, waterfowl and beaver. Birch and aspen forests open meadows and marshes makes this an interesting hike. Expect to see Plains Bison between the two Tawayik Lakes in the meadows ( and anywhere else in EIP for that matter). Give them a wide birth especially during the rut. If there is substantial rain fall it may be tricky getting past the narrows between Tawayik Lake and Little Tawayik Lake.
Park at the Tawayik Lake picnic site. Start with trail 2 (Simmons Trail) which intersects with trail 3 (Shirley Lake Trail) at the north end. Take the Shirley Lake trail right around Oster Lake where there is a picnic site and a few outhouses which makes a good rest stop. Continue on the Shirley Lake trail for a few hundred meters and turn south (right) at the junction onto the Tawayik Lake Trail. Approximately 3 km later there is a picnic table on top of a hill which is a good lunch spot for a small group.
Nothing spectacular but a really good jaunt with opportunities to see some wildlife, wild flowers as well as to escape from the city. This is one of my favourite local hikes in the Edmonton area
Nice place if you avoid the campers. Not easy stroll. Though there are some swampy crossing with only sticks and logs as your bridge. Don't be fooled by what may look like solid ground neat the end of those logs... I was, but luckily my hikers are waterproof lol.
If you go in spring, be prepared for lots of mud.
And while in the park, we did see a few bison.
My only beef is with smokers.. We picked up so many cigarette bugs on the tail.