During my years growing up in the northeast corner of Edmonton, I and my family spent many a pleasant afternoon taking a “ravine walk.” We’d descend a steep dirt trail into the ravine, and follow this trail as it wound through the trees loosely following a burbling creek. One year, we discovered Saskatoon bushes, and spent the afternoon filling ice cream pails with berries. It was a great way to experience a relatively untouched piece of nature in the middle of the city.
Kennedale ravine begins at 50 Street at approximately 131 Avenue and continues until reaching Hermitage Park, although it is interrupted at 40Street. On the west side of 40 Street, the land is fairly open, and a multi-use trail runs through the valley. In the winter, children enjoy tobogganing on the slopes. To the east of 40 Street, the ravine becomes much more densely treed. The dirt trail I walked along as a child has been replaced by a wider gravel trail. Although the installation of the gravel trail removed some of the wilderness aspect of the ravine, the ravine remains a secluded natural spot, but is more accessible to walkers or runners.
Edmonton’s Kennedale Ravine is best accessed either from 40 Street or from Hermitage Park. Parking is not available at 40 Street so the best way to access Kennedale Ravine for drivers is to park at Hermitage Park. Head north along the bike path, and look on the left for a narrow treed opening between two cliff faces.
Edmonton’s Kennedale Ravine is closely surrounded and even interrupted by city development. Houses sit close to the cliffs on each side of the ravine, which is bordered on one end by commercial and industrial development at 50th street. According to the City of Edmonton book Naming Edmonton from Ada to Zoie, this type of development was already underway about a century ago. A key player in land development around Kennedale Ravine was H.P. Kennedy, who named the neighbourhood after himself.
Although Kennedale Ravine is surrounded by city developments, there are still those interested in preserving the ravine. In fact, a project posted on Make Something Edmonton suggests adding park space to Kennedale Ravine. The proposed additional park space is currently city-owned land that used to be part of the ravine, according to the project’s author. You can see the project here http://www.makesomethingedmonton.ca/projects/225-kennedale-ravine-extension/
Edmonton’s Kennedale Ravine may be a rather humble ravine squished between city developments but it is a great natural space nevertheless. And while it is bordered on one end by 50 Street, it is also connected at its other end to Edmonton’s river valley park system. It’s worth exploring for those who enjoy taking nature walks within the city.