June 9, 2016
The warm weather and you: with long months of sun coming up, you’re going to want to spend some time acquainting yourself with the Northern Alberta roads less travelled. Here’s a sampling of adventures you can undertake in the great outdoors, all located close enough to make this a compelling day trip for you and your family or friends, should you dare.
Let’s start with a figurative bang and kick the day off by leaping from a plane or two! Open from April to October, the Edmonton Skydive Centre (which is actually located in what is not considered Edmonton – Westlock County) is a renowned state of the art facility where for those wishing to jump, roll, or fall from an absurdly high distance. You’ve got options including tandem jumps, free falls and solo jumps for the seemingly (not) faint of heart. The Centre boasts the highest tandem skydives in Western Canada with heights of 14,000 feet, giving you a big appreciation for the massive prairie skyline you’ll be hurtling towards.
A 1942 tractor – yes you read that correctly – sits upon a 50 ft pole that doubles as a massive, working weather vane.
Erected in 2006, this world-conquering weather vane is an impressive enough sight that demands your attention – but it helps that it’s located just outside the Canadian Tractor Museum, showcasing the evolution of the tractor.
Nothing brings people closer together than the thrill (and fear) of paintball. Located 1.5 hours northwest of Edmonton, P.O.W. Paintballing is a draw for those looking for fun amid a staggering three courses. Inclusive enough for new players and just intensive enough for hardcore aficionados, the self-described Milsim HQ of Alberta also features day camps for young ones and a dedicated equipment shop. Here’s a place to shake off those car road trip blues – and settle a score or two.
From then on, you’re gonna want to cool off in the breathtaking McLeod river. You can find it over in Woodlands County, right at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. You can travel further in to find the Provincial Recreation Area if you’re more interested in canoeing, hiking or mountain biking during a long weekend camping stretch. However, the river’s a serene one, making it perfect for tubing with a couple of friends. Depending on river levels, the trip may take somewhere between two to four hours to complete but time may not matter when you’re lazily floating on a tube.
Cap off the day with a final museum visit; the catch is this one happens to be a living, breathing museum. The Klondike Trail gets its name from prospectors seeking an “All-Canadian” path through Edmonton to gold and beyond, so a route was constructed through Alberta. Today, you can find a small stretch located in Fort Assiniboine Sandhills Wildlands Provincial Park. Diverse trails – available via horseback and hiking– are waiting for you, including sand dunes, wetlands and steep valley walls and river flats that managed to survive the massive surveying laid waste in the 20th century. It’s a fun piece of history that doubles as a sweet send-off to a long, fun packed day.