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Sweat It Out on Edmonton Stairs

River-Valley-Stairs-Jennifer-Linford

Photo by Jennifer Linford.

Summer is stair season in Edmonton — whether you top off a trail run with a single steep sprint or dedicate an entire workout to walking, running or lunging up multiple flights, conquering a river valley staircase is the ultimate way to get your sweat on in this city! Maybe it’s the scenic views of the North Saskatchewan that have turned these simple, wooden staircases into fitness hotspots — or maybe it’s the thrill that only a heart-pounding, muscle-burning workout can bring. Either way, E-town loves its stairs. Here’s the skinny on four sweat-inducing sets.

Glenora Stairs
View: An amazing view of the High Level Bridge and Edmonton’s south-of-the-river skyline.
Stair count: 202
Location: Ezio Faraone Park, 11004-97 Ave.
Insider Tip: This staircase is usually busy, and the park at the top of the stairs is also a hub for fitness-minded locals, so bring a yoga mat to stretch, or grab a bench to do tricep dips or step-ups.

Grandview Stairs
View: A true 360-degree view of the picturesque river valley scenery among a large cluster of trees-turned-works-of-art after being draped in colourful yarn by a “knit-bombing” artist.
Stair count: 242
Location: Whitemud Park, 13204 Fox Dr.
Insider Tip: These stairs have perks — public washrooms, water fountains, and ample parking. Plus, the green space at their base is ideal terrain for hill sprints.

Hotel Macdonald Stairs
View: A lovely look at the Low Level Bridge and Muttart Conservatory going down; a nice peek at the historic Hotel Mac (and some downtown office towers) going up.
Stair count: 201
Location: Behind The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, 10065-100 St.
Insider Tip: This centrally located staircase is perfect for a quick-yet-intense weekday lunch-hour workout.

Wolf Willow Stairs
View: A tranquil, bird’s-eye view of the Fort Edmonton Footbridge and dense Wolf Willow Ravine.
Stair count: 200
Location: Access from Westridge Park (off Wolf Willow Crescent) or from Fort Edmonton Park (take the footbridge across the river and head north up the path).
Insider Tip: Beware! These stairs are infamous for being the steepest in the city.

—Shawna Dirksen

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