Beaver Pond Trail - Elk Island NP - Hiking Alberta

 

The Beaver Pond trail at Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island national Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

This short trip to Edmonton is preparation for a more aggressive mission later in the summer.  This second trip to Elk Island National Park is a half hour drive east on the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16) from north-east Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The previous fall visit experienced Bison Loop Road and the Living Waters Boardwalk hike along the shore of Astotin Lake.  

This relatively small national park is very unique and unusually vibrant with a diverse and fascinating range of life.  Elk Island is the only National Park in Canada which is completely fenced for the preservation, protection and expansion of the world's bison population.  Important.

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Petunias on the back deck in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail is an easy 3.5 KM (2¼ mile) hike on relatively level path.  The turn left (north) off Yellowhead Highway enters the drive north on Elk Island Parkway and passes the Astotin Lake Recreation Area entrance, to clearly-signed parking at the Beaver Pond trail-head.

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada The entrance, off Yellowhead Highway, to Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada A family of geese pond side along Elk Island Parkway in Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

The trail is an easy walk, initially on a short stretch of old, narrow and well-worn pavement to a tiny, open area containing informative interpretive plaques about this important resource which helped sustain the indigenous population for many centuries before the Palliser Expedition, between 1857 and 1860, opened the wealth of the area to commerce in fur trading.  Paved trail migrates to gravel intermittently interrupted by carpets of grass adjacent to marsh and spectacular ponds created by a robust beaver population.

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Beaver Pond Trailhead at Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island national Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Initially, paved path into dense forest on Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Interpretive plaques near the beginning of Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Old platform bridge with water flow control along Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Beaver Pond Trail through aspen forest, dense trailside shrubbery and wildflowers in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

The air is alive with insects whose flight is compromised by a light breeze.  Mosquitoes detect our presence but their attack is countered by legions of golden dragonflies who swarm and devour the mosquitoes while inadvertently serving as our defenders.  This special environment is thriving with activity in a diverse, complete and natural ecosystem.

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Gravel path through dense shrubbery under aspen forest on Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Slightly higher ground surrounded by marshland and ponds in Beaver Pond Trail at Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada One of hundreds of beaver dams pokes above the surface of a trailside pond along Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Spectacular wildflower beauty, up close and personal, along Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The aroma is wonderful.

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Trail side shrubbery is often taller than we are along Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Sun reflection at the edge of ponds which encroach near Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

The Beaver Pond Trail hike is a grand scenic and aromatic forest walk through intermittent marsh land.  Scenery is spectacular and the short loop returns too quickly to remarkable views experienced on the access link.

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada A beaver pond adjacent to Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada On a grassy section of Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Occasionally, Beaver Pond Trail travels through tall, dense and lush vegetation which encroaches on the trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada This golden dragonfly rests in the sun on Alberta`s official flower, the Wild Rose, along Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada A familiar view on the return along Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Back at the interpretive plagues near the beginning of Beaver Pond Trail in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

The 3.5 KM (2¼ mile) Beaver Pond Trail is relatively flat on gentle terrain with minor elevation accumulated by transition over small, minor hills created by ancient glacial knobs and kettles or long abandoned beaver dams.  There is a great sense of timelessness here formed by generations of natural activity adapting to changes in the environment.  Following this short, energetic and oxygen saturated experience, a short drive proceeds to Astotin Lake for an excellent picnic lunch at the very popular Sandy Beach.  A polite and patient seagull occupies the adjacent picnic table.  Kayakers are assembling gear and departing from the small Astotin Lake dock.

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Marsh at the shoreline of the sandy beach on Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada A seagull poses on our picnic table at Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada A seagull poses on our picnic table at Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada A seagull occupies our picnic table as we leave Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

On the short drive to the next experience at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, a stop along Elk Island Parkway photographs a roadside marsh and pond containing unique and beautiful wetland flowers near an active beaver dam.

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Wetland plants along Elk Island Parkway in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

Beaver Pond Trail, Elk Island National Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada A beaver dam in a pond adjacent to Elk Island Parkway in Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

The unique and mesmerizing beauty of this place never lets up.

Photographs for this post at Elk Island National Park were taken on July 14, 2014.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Thanks for your comment, Charlie. We were planning to hike again at Elk Island in August but it may be Banff and Jasper instead. There are more than 80 KMs of trail in Elk Island and I will get it all done eventually. It is a unique National Park and I really enjoy hiking there. Very different experience. Enjoying your photographic work.

Love Elk Island :) I think you picked a good summer to visit. The Mosquitos don't seem to be bad this year :)

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