Wednesday, June 8, 2016

North Saskatchewan River: Devon to Edmonton

A popular (and easy) paddle in Edmonton is the North Saskatchewan River. We put in upstream of the city and floated into town. You can also put in town and then float out. The map below shows our route, which started in Devon (bottom left) and ended at Laurier Park (about 30km).

The entry point at Devon is nice. You have to go into town and then catch a Saskatchewan Avenue West down to the river. There is a boat launch, toilets and a picnic area. The boat launch is just downstream of the Highway 60 bridge. We had a very short carry to the water (40 feet?) even though the launch itself was hopping.

Once launched, you are looking at a 5-7 hour float into town. There is a whole lot of the picture below as the river winds. There is some interesting geology (look for the coal seams).

There are lots of islands and beaches to pull out on for lunch but no bathrooms! The gravel bars and discourteous boaters help pass the time.

I was pretty happy to see the Anthony Hendry bridge. This is the first viable place to pull out (on the right hand side just before the bridge). It looked like it would be a bit of a wrangle to get the canoe up to the parking area.

We stayed with it for another hour or so. You can pull out again at the Terwillegar dog park but that is a long carry to the parking lot. Just below Fort Edmonton you can pull out beneath the Quesnel Bridge (on the right, maybe a 30-foot carry to the road) or just a bit further down at the White Mud Creek Park (right hand side, immediate after the creek enters the river). This is maybe a 200-foot carry to the parking lot.

Lots of people (including the various touring companies) pull out on the left hand side at Laurier Park. This is a proper boat launch and you can get your car within 20 feet of the water here. This is where we pulled out.

I've also floated further down to Emily Murphy Park. You can pull out on the right side of the river right after the Groat Bridge. The bank is a bit steep here and if the water the high, the little beach can be under water.

Overall, a long but easy trip on a very calm river. Makes sure you take plenty of water and a hat as the sun is relentless.


Anonymous said...

Not a comment on this particular trip, but on the page in whole. I just stumbled across it while searching for where the boat launches are at Patricia and Pyramid lakes Jasper. Thanks for all the good info. Places you might like west of Edmonton are Mayatan Lakes, Johnny's Lake, (very shallow but quiet) and the West Cove area of Lac Ste. Anne. Check out access on Google Earth/Maps (I do the same as you do, trying to find nice canoeing spots near Edmonton) Bevin B.

Bob Barnetson said...

Thanks; these are nice suggestions. I couldn't see any pubic access to Mayatan Lake or Johnny's Lake: do you have any advice about access points?

Caralee said...

I am a new paddler and am hoping to paddle this route once I feel more accomplished. Would you say it was safe for an inflatable?
Thanks again for your blog. I am learning so much.

Bob Barnetson said...

Oh yeah this is a very easy float. No rapids or rocks or any hazards.