I have wanted to check out the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary for some time now and our first family trip out definitely did not disappoint. With four connected nature trails to discover it is the perfect spot for visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy a relaxed Sunday afternoon stroll through nature.
The Clifford E. Lee Sanctuary is a short drive from Edmonton, just outside the town of Devon. If you have ever been to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, it is mere minutes from there. The site is maintained and run by volunteers, and visitors are asked to do their part by packing out any garbage you pack in. Both picnic tables and outhouses are available for those spending a longer time in the sanctuary, and furry family members are welcome if kept on leash.
From my quick internet research I knew to expect a long wooden boardwalk (always a hit with my kids) and potential wildlife viewing opportunities. What I didn’t expect was the absolute abundance of ducks along both sides of the platform! There was plenty to keep our kids excited and engaged on our short walk meandering down the main boardwalk and looping back through the Aspen Ridge Trail. The treed trail was a nice break from the sun and there were lots of different plants, flowers and birds to admire along the way. We even saw a red squirrel scurry across the path.
The 348 acre sanctuary is a protected area in Parkland County that host to over one hundred species of birds. Varied habitats throughout the sanctuary, including acres of marshland, open meadow, aspen parkland and pine forest provide ideal opportunities to view an abundance of wildlife. Interpretive panels throughout the park help guide visitors and provide further information on all the plants and animals they are able to get up close and personal with.
For those with younger children, it is important to note that the platform is quite high and without railings, so you will need to judge your comfort levels bringing your own children. The boardwalk and trails are easily navigated in summer by all skill levels, but they are not considered to be wheelchair/stroller friendly. We also encountered some aggressive wasps during our trip so that is something to keep in mind if you are exploring the Sanctuary in the summer months.
With more trails for our family yet to discover, this is definitely somewhere we will plan to go back to. The Clifford E. Lee Nature sanctuary is open year round so it would be fun to visit through different seasons to see how the landscape changes and adapts to the weather. I am excited to go back in early Spring when there are more baby ducks to ooh and aah over!
Visit Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary:
When: Open year round
Time: One hour before sunrise to sunset
Where: From Highway 60 (the Devon highway), turn west at Woodbend Road/ Twp. Road 514 (about 13 km south of Highway 16A). Follow Woodbend Road for 1.6 km to Sanctuary Road/Rge. Road 264 then turn south. Continue on Sanctuary Road to the parking area on the right.