Winter is here. While you might feel drawn to barricading yourself indoors, we’re here to paint a picture that will re-ignite your excitement to get outside and explore our beautiful province. Imagine a winter wonderland that offers the best of the season's delights. Alberta's Lakeland, located approximately 2.5 hours northeast of Edmonton, is that magical place. Here's why it's the perfect winter destination:
The Iron Horse Trail is a winter haven for snowmobiling enthusiasts. This 300-kilometer trail system winds through picturesque boreal forests and offers a wide range of adventures. Whether you prefer snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or horseback riding, the Iron Horse Trail beckons you to explore its historical, wildlife-rich, and welcoming communities. Moreover, the chance to witness the enchanting Northern Lights in the clear winter skies adds to the trail's allure.
Lakeland's frozen lakes come alive with ice-fishing during the winter months. The region has over 50 lakes! Bring your gear and cast your line in search of northern pike, walleye, whitefish, perch, and more. Ensure you have the required Alberta Sportfishing License and are well-versed in fishing regulations for a successful ice-fishing adventure.
When the sun sets in Lakeland, the dark skies come alive with the mesmerizing Northern Lights. The region's vast dark skies provide the perfect backdrop for this celestial spectacle. Keep an eye on the night sky during your outdoor adventures, and you may witness the Aurora Borealis dancing in all its glory.
Cross-Country Skiing or Snowshoeing
Lakeland Provincial Park is a haven for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts. Discover 30 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails and untouched snow at Shaw Lake Day Use Area. The area is perfect for a winter day out with the family, and the day-use cabin offers a warm shelter for a hot chocolate break between skiing and snowman building.
Though the Rockies are a bit of a drive, Lakeland offers a hidden gem for downhill skiing enthusiasts. Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort overlooks Cold Lake and boasts five lifts, 13 runs, a snowboard terrain park, and a tubing park. Experience the thrill of the slopes and take in the breathtaking views of the pristine winter landscapes.
Lakeland's winter also signals the start of the hunting season. Many visitors find their way to this region for a memorable hunting experience. Whether you're after game birds or big game, the forests and wetlands of Lakeland provide ample opportunities for hunters.
Food & Beverage
Lakeland's culinary scene is an essential part of any visit. Fresh Fusion Bistro, located in Cold Lake, serves up excellent Mediterranean fare, from grape leaves and calamari to filling falafel and chicken souvlaki burgers. Meanwhile, Cold Lake Brewing & Distilling Co. is a local favourite, offering a variety of craft beers and delicious food options. Try their robust oatmeal cookie stout or a Caesar made with house-made vodka for a delightful dining experience.
When you're ready to escape the winter chill, Lakeland offers a wealth of indoor activities. Explore Elegance 719, a full-service salon and spa, providing the perfect place to unwind in Bonnyville. After pampering yourself with a mani-pedi and facial, rejuvenate in the salt caves, which are said to soothe the skin and respiratory system. For a great place to get moving, visit The Bonnyville & District Centennial Centre, known locally as C2, where you can engage in various winter sports and activities, making it an ideal place for indoor fun.
Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2023/24 Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.