The Strathcona Science Park is the only Provincial park in the River Valley Alliance park system. Over the past century, this area has ... more »been home to a number of coal mines, a gravel extraction pit and finally, a landfill before becoming a Provincial Park in 1980.
As part of Alberta's 75th Anniversary in 1980, the Alberta Heritage Fund invested $40 million in today's dollars to create the park. It consisted of six main buildings showcasing the park's rich heritage of settlement of over 4000 years. The buildings hosted displays of the different artifacts that were unearthed here. In the south end of the park, there is a wooden trail which was built in order for the public to observe archeoligists at work.
Currently, the Park has been left as a natural area with the buildings closed to the public since 1993. Sunridge Ski Hill occupies the northern most building and runs a small ski operation. In 1987, a tornado tore through the Park, leaving a trail of destruction in the trees, but left the buildings largely unharmed.
The various paved and gravel trails which run through the park are in daily use and it is also a popular spot for petowners. Bike groups, running clubs and birdwatchers are a common sight in the park. From various places around the park, you get fantastic views of the River Valley and Rundle park just across the river. There is a pedestrian bridge connecting the two parks. There are also a large number of picnic benches scattered throughout the park. A great way to spend some time getting to know one of the region's lesser known parks.
This particular walk takes you from the main parking area over to the north side of the park. You walk along the paved trails that run along the road then start descending towards the riverside. There is an elevation drop, but it is all on pavement. From the bottom of the road, you can explore the summer season of the small ski hill that operates in the park. The trail will take you almost to the highway then loops back on itself. On the way back, there is a fantastic view of the bridge by the riverbank. Walking up to the bridge, you can enjoy some great views. If you walk to the far end of the bridge and into Rundle Park you will see some information about this park on the trail marker which is a rare find. The walk back to the main parking area is a steady uphill climb on a mixed gravel/paved path. There are some great views of the river valley all along this walk. less «