Adventure in Edmonton: Fort Edmonton Footbridge & Wolf Willow Ravine

Last year the City of Edmonton completed work on the new Fort Edmonton Footbridge. In addition to the bridge, the $28.2 million project included 2.5 km of access trails and stairs and a secondary bridge crossing at Wolf Willow Ravine. The design was selected to achieve the objective of “better design in a world class city.” Here’s what it looks like (from the east side looking west):

Fort Edmonton Footbridge

David Staples wrote about the new bridge in August, and both Sharon and I made a note of the article at the time. He wrote:

“The most beautiful structure you’ve not yet seen in Edmonton, the new Fort Edmonton Footbridge, now spans the North Saskatchewan River. It is a testament to the city’s new vision to invest in attractive infrastructure, not just the same old ugly.”

We had to see it for ourselves! A number of other recent “sightings” only increased our desire to check it out (a friend’s wedding photos and one of EIFF’s 24/ONE videos were shot there). Last weekend we finally made time to go. I fired up Google, and quickly arrived at this page on the City’s website. I was looking for an address or directions or something, but all that page offers is the following:

The footbridge crosses the North Saskatchewan River upstream of Fort Edmonton Park and affords a connection between the new multi-use Trans Canada Trail around Fort Edmonton Park and new park land purchased on the west side of the river (Centennial Lands) in 2007.

There’s also a link to this PDF map which shows the proposed design, not the final result. And because it’s a satellite image without labels, figuring out which route to take to get to the bridge is anything but simple. Thankfully, Google does show the crossing:

We still weren’t entirely sure how to get there, but at least that map narrowed it down. It looked closer to park at the end of Whitemud Road (yes, ignoring the no parking signs) and walk rather than driving into Wolf Willow, so that’s what we did. There’s probably a better way to get there. Oh how we need trail maps data in the data catalogue!

Fort Edmonton Footbridge

The drive/walk to the bridge was interesting, as the neighbourhood is full of mansions! The trail from Whitemud Road to the bridge is situated in between two very large houses. Must be nice to have the bridge in your backyard!

Fort Edmonton Footbridge

The bridge itself is beautiful. As you can see it is highest in the middle, so the incline upward from each shore combined with the cables gives it a nice effect in photos.

Fort Edmonton Footbridge

I’m also a fan of the asymmetrical layout, with one of these lookout points on the northwest side of the bridge and another on the southeast.

Fort Edmonton Footbridge

The trail to Wolf Willow Ravine on the west side of the bridge is very pretty. There were a bunch of photographers using the trail when we visited, including one taking what appeared to be engagement photos for a young couple.

Wolf Willow Ravine

I had no idea Wolf Willow Ravine even existed until our trip. It was a crisp and cool when we were there, and so quiet. Sharon remarked that she felt like we were in Banff – it was certainly a different side of Edmonton than we’re used to seeing!

Fort Edmonton Footbridge

You can see the rest of my photos here. Go visit the Fort Edmonton Footbridge when you get a chance. It’s a bit of a trek to get there, but it’s worth it!