Run the kids here

Goodbye cabin fever – spring is springing up all around. These three Lacombe trails are great for letting kids run in the fresh air and sunshine.

Image of JJ Collett trail in the spring, photo by Dr. Charles D. Bird (jjcollett.com)

A huge natural park

The J.J. Collett Natural Area is a whopping 635 acres of rolling parkland, 15 minutes northwest of Lacombe. In the park, 18 km of trails wind through aspen groves, grassy meadows, stands of white spruce and living wetlands.

Take the 200-foot boardwalk across a wetland to look for insects and beaver lodges. You will see butterflies, lots of birds and maybe moose. And here’s a cool fact: the aspen parkland sits on top of ancient sand dunes.

The park’s foundation maintains the area and supports a grade six program that brings 450 kids here each year to study science and talk about the environment. The group also holds guided walks in the spring and fall. This spring’s annual walk is on June 1 at 2:00 pm. Go on a trail walk with a park director and stay for the free BBQ.

Elizabeth Lake for families

The trail around Elizabeth Lake is a nice one-hour family hike on the edge of the city. These wooded trails are fairly flat, so they’re good for little ones – plus you can stop often to watch ducks bob on the lake. You could also bring bikes and zip around the dirt, gravel and wood chip trails.

Also in Lacombe, the 1.8 km Cranna Lake loop is paved and has new fitness equipment installed along the way.

Trans Canada Trail from Lacombe

This eight-km trail opened last summer and is part of the Trans Canada Trail. The paved path connects Lacombe and Blackfalds and winds through quiet rural countryside. You’ll walk over a boardwalk, rest at a gazebo and pass a 106-year-old research station – one of Canada’s oldest.

Local grade five kids wrote some of the interpretive signs along the trail about plants, animals and the area’s long agricultural history. Check this trail map (pdf) from the Central Alberta Regional Trails Society.

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