Trails

The Sanctuary’s trails take visitors through a variety of habitats. There are four main trails:

  • Boardwalk Loop –  A raised boardwalk winds through cattails and reeds, allowing visitors to closely experience the marsh environment. A diversity of waterfowl take residence in the Sanctuary and interpretive signage on the boardwalk and viewing platforms help novice birdwatchers identify the various birds. As you leave the marsh, the boardwalk gives way to a sandy trail bordered by grasses and wildflowers, that winds its way through the meadow. Benches provide a pleasant place to rest and take in the beautiful surroundings.  The trail leaves the meadow and rises into an upland forest before rejoining the boardwalk, which returns to the picnic area.
  • Aspen Ridge  – Follow the boardwalk from the picnic area and veer to the right at the first junction.  The Aspen Ridge Trail starts along the boardwalk.  As you step off the boardwalk, the earth trail rises up atop a ridge covered by groves of trembling aspen. The leaves of the trembling aspen rustle in the wind but beneath the canopy it is calm and peaceful.   As you stroll along, you may see a hare bounding through the dense understory or a chipmunk scurrying across the trail. The canopy begins to open and the trail descends as you come to its end. The boardwalk will take you back to the picnic area or you can look at the map, posted at the trail junction, to see where to go next.
  • Pine Knoll – The trail begins 1 km walk from the Sanctuary entrance and winds its way up into a jack pine forest. This unique area of the Sanctuary was once a sand dune that was deposited by winds following the last Ice Age. Jack pines are found only in this area of the Sanctuary because they prefer sandy, acidic soils. Halfway along the trail there is a bench beneath a large pine where you can sit, watch the birds and listen to the chatter of red squirrels. The pines begin to disappear as the trail descends, replaced by paper birch, beaked hazelnut and trembling aspen. For more information view the Pine Knoll Trail brochure.
  • Woodland Flower Trail – The Woodland Flower Trail ambles through a mixed forest of poplars, paper birch and white spruce. Fireweed, western wood lily and Indian paint brush are among the many wildflowers that can be found in the forest clearings. When you come to the end of the trail, you can either turn around and return the way you came or turn left onto the road and follow the split rail fence along the marsh’s edge back to the parking lot.

Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary is a protected area in Parkland County with four hiking trails that are perfect for all ages to enjoy wildlife watching.