5 Must-See Attractions in North Saskatchewan River Valley

5 Must-See Attractions in North Saskatchewan River Valley 

Edmonton may seem like a highly developed city, but it also features natural parks, gardens, and rich wildlife. Nowhere is that clearer than in the North Saskatchewan River Valley.

What’s the North Saskatchewan River Valley?

The North Saskatchewan River Valley is a 7,400-hectare (18,286 acres) urban green space bisecting the city of Edmonton. It features 22 major parks, 11 lakes, 14 ravines, and more than 160 kilometers (99 miles) of trails for walks and hikes

If you’re coming to River Valley for a weekend getaway or holiday trip, you should make the most of your visit. We’ll show you how by taking you through the valley’s top attractions.

Things to See in North Saskatchewan River Valley

1. Rainbow Valley Campground

Rainbow Valley Campground

Source: City Seeker 

Best for• Tent Camping

• RV Camping

• Glamping

Best time to visitMay to October
RatesDaily Camping Fee

• Regular (with power) – $43

• Regular (non-power) – $37

• Peak Season (with power) – $45

• Peak Season (non-power) – $41

Weekly Camping Fee

• Regular (with power) – $258

Rainbow Valley Campground features more than 75 campsites with amenities and access to various trails leading to Whitemud Creek and the North Saskatchewan River. 

It’s a good place to explore, especially if you want to experience a camping staycation in Edmonton. 

A maximum of six guests is allowed to stay at one campsite so you can tag along with your close friends or family. 

For the guests’ convenience, there are washrooms, laundry facilities, picnic tables, a convenience store, and power hookups onsite.

Choose a site on the designated campgrounds and book it in advance. You should also download the interactive maps to easily look for your designated campsite within the park. 

2. Edmonton Valley Zoo

Edmonton Valley Zoo

Source: Chatter Block 

Best for• Animal encounters

• Parties and events

Best time to visitMay to September
RatesAdmission Fee

• Children (2 to 12 years old) – $9.95

• Youth (13 to 17 years old) – $12.95

• Adult (18 to 64 years old) – $15.95

• Senior (65 years old and above) – $12.95

• Member – Free

• Toddler (0 to 23 months) – Free

Annual Membership Fee

• Children (2 to 12 years old) – $29

• Youth (13 to 17 years old) – $30

• Adult (18 to 64 years old) – $46

• Senior (65 years old and above) – $30

• Family – $129

Edmonton Valley Zoo is nestled on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. 

It’s home to over 350 animals and features a range of activities such as Nature Connects, Animal Talks, Miniature Train, and Birds of Prey. 

Since the area features animal enclosures focused on conservation, guests can enjoy fun and authentic animal encounters and self-directed tours. 

Moreover, the zoo has designated areas for parties and event rentals that feature panoramic views of the river. Through this, you can hold memorable birthdays, parties, picnics, corporate and social events, wedding ceremonies, and receptions. 

3. 100 Street Funicular 

100 Street Funicular

Source: E-Architect

Best for• Sightseeing

• Photoshoots

Best time to visitOpen year-round

100 Street Funicular is a popular landmark that connects downtown Edmonton to the River Valley. 

It features an inclined glass elevator that transports visitors to 100 Street, Hotel Macdonald, and areas around the Low-Level Bridge. 

Riding the glass-eclosed elevator is a good way to take in the scenic views of the River Valley because it’s accessible to people of all ages and abilities. 

You see, the funicular can accommodate up to 20 people, and it has adequate space for wheelchairs, strollers, bikes, walkers, and strollers. Besides that, it’s part of the walkways and view decks on the riverbank, so you’ll have plenty of options for photo ops. 

Nonetheless, if you want to take your time to enjoy the views around you, you can also take the stairs next to the funicular.  

4. Muttart Conservatory 

Muttart Conservatory

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Best for• Photoshoots

• Sightseeing

• Guided and Self-Guided Tours

Best time to visitJune to August
RatesAdmission Fee

• Toddlers (2 years old and below) – Free

• Children (2 to 12 years old) – $7.75

• Youth (13 to 17 years old) – $12.95

• Adult (18 to 64 years old) – $14.95

• Seniors (65 years old and above) – $12.95

Annual Membership Fee

• Toddlers (2 years old and below) – Free

• Children (2 to 12 years old) – $29.95

• Youth (13 to 17 years old) – $44.95

• Adult (18 to 64 years old) – $54.95

• Seniors (65 years old and above) – $44.95

• Family – $149.95

The Muttart Conservatory features a public park and four glass pyramids with themed botanical gardens. Each pyramid features various plant species from Mexico and Madagascar. 

For example, you can visit the Tropical pyramid if you want to see beautiful orchids and towering palm and banana trees. Exotic desert plants and cacti are in the Arid pyramid. 

For those who want to take pictures of colorful flowers and Eucalyptus trees, visit the Temperate pyramid. 

On the other hand, the Feature pyramid exhibits different and unique plant species around five to seven times a year, so if you’re in for surprises, this can be your best pick. 

You can opt for guided tours if you want to learn more about the plant species growing inside the botanical gardens. Through this, you can explore the conservatory with the help of knowledgeable interpreters and guides. 

Alternatively, you can also stroll and discover the gardens at your own pace. They also offer walking trail maps on their website so you can easily explore the conservatory. 

5. Dawson Park 

Dawson Park

Source: Yegmonton 

Best for• Hiking

• Camping

• Sightseeing

Best time to visitMarch to August

Dawson Park is nestled on the bank of the North Saskatchewan River. It’s a place filled with the city’s history in coal mining.

If you love the rustic side of Edmonton, you’ll enjoy exploring this park. It features various easy and moderate-level trails for hiking, biking, and running. 

Moreover, it’s also a great spot for family picnics because it has a playground and a small pond that ducks and geese visit. 

What’s nice about Dawson Park is that it features a specifically designed gravel path for visually impaired visitors. It also has raised wooded edges and Braille signs that can be tapped with a cane. 

Furthermore, it has an expansive off-leash area where dogs can walk and play. Just note that the area is not fenced, so bringing a leash for your dog is still necessary. 

To top it off, you can also explore nearby attractions, such as the Claypotts Castle, Broughty Castle Museum, Barnhill Rock Garden, and Baxter Park.