Connect with nature in the heart of our city!
Many different kinds of animals can be found in Lethbridge throughout the year. Lethbridge’s diverse ecosystem and landforms result in a variety of mammals inhabiting the river valley. Dense cottonwood forests provide shelter for cottontail rabbits and porcupines, while open grasslands are the home of ground squirrels and badgers. During the winter months, white-tailed deer, mule deer, cottontail rabbits, porcupines and coyotes are commonly seen.
Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the city limits. Although the greatest diversity can be found in the river valley, older residential parts of the city can also harbour some interesting bird species.
Due to Lethbridge’s dry, northern climate, there are relatively few reptile and amphibian species in the area. Those species found here are not especially abundant and tend to be difficult to observe. However, few experiences in nature are as thrilling as an evening visit to a pond full of singing frogs, or hearing the sound of a rattlesnake warning you of its presence!
The Nature Centre has been recording local plant and wildlife sightings since 1990. Nature Centre sightings are available online at the OpenData catalogue. If you would like to report a sighting or are interested in more information, contact us.
If you are interested in recent sightings, you may want to check out and contribute to citizen science initiatives like iNaturalist, eBird, NatureLynx, Journey North, Plantwatch, Christmas Bird Count, BugGuide, Bumble Bee Watch, eButterfly, NatureWatch, NestWatch, and many more!
Nature Quest Trail
Explore the rich biodiversity of the river valley! Start your adventure with this easy 350m, 650m, or 1km paved trail through the "200 Acre Wood!"Download Trail Guide
Oxbox Loop Trail
Get connected on Oxbow Loop Trail! This easy to moderate 1km loop highlights the connection between the river and adjacent land.Download Trail Guide
Coulee Climb Trail
Discover the layers and features of a coulee on this moderate 1km trail with inclines and stairs. Enjoy amazing views of our river valley.Download Trail Guide
Sweet Spots & Spectacular Shots
While we agree that ANY time and location is a great one to take a selfie, here’s our top 5 close and accessible picks!Download Trail Guide
Elizabeth Hall Wetlands
Explore this 32 hectares preservation area tucked alongside the Oldman River encompassing a wooded area, wetlands, and an oxbow pond. A bird-watcher's paradise!Download Trail Guide
Borrow Adventure Gear
Outdoor exploration can be made better with the right tools! Borrow some of our favourite tools to make the most of your next trip in the Lethbridge Reserve Park.Read More
'Listen' is a public art installation. This 12,000kg feature will enhance your sense of hearing!
‘Listen’ Public Art
Located west of the Nature Centre parking lot, 'Listen' creates a moment for visitors to stop and focus. It's structure echoes the natural, wedge-shaped contours of the coulee slopes, as well as the architectural forms in the High Level Bridge.
In Listen, a shelf provides seating for an adult or a stair for a child. There you will find the focus to enjoy an enhanced sound experience. This also makes the sculpture an excellent rest spot. The dish is oriented toward a wooded area, rich in sounds.
Listen encourages repeat visits to investigate the sound during different times of day, different weather, and in all seasons. For young visitors, and the young at heart, you can also use Listen as a form of “whisper dish” to explore the nature of sound waves.
In Listen, the bench is designed for an adult to sit at the focus of the sound waves. The bench is designed as a stair so that children can also find the focus and enjoy the sounds around you.
The Nature Centre's Living Roof is the perfect spot to hear the thunder of passing trains on the High Level Bridge!
CPR High Level Bridge
Built between 1907 and 1909 the High Level Bridge is the longest and highest of its kind in the world. Also known as the Lethbridge Viaduct, the bridge stretches for 1.6 kilometres and towers 96 metres over the Oldman River valley. Completed in 1909, the bridge is still used every day by Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). There are great vantage points of the High Level Bridge around the Helen Schuler Nature Centre.
River valley users are often surprised to notice a noisy pair of ravens that have chosen to nest on the girders of the bridge every year since 1989. These early nesters begin nest building in late February and early March, taking nearly a month to complete construction. Other birds that have been recorded nesting on the bridge include Canada geese, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, and rock pigeons. The shade cast by the bridge encourages lush shrub growth that is favoured by pheasants and white-tailed deer.
Visitors are reminded that the High Level Bridge is an active railway. Never climb or cross the bridge and avoid spending any time directly underneath the bridge as falling debris can be hazardous.
Discover a part of our Nature Reserve Park's history!
The Kinsmen Club in conjunction with the Gyro Club, developed the Drift Mine #1 interpretive display, which is now housed in the Coalbanks Kiosk located southeast of the Nature Centre parking lot near the Coulee Climb trailhead.
The display tells the story of coal discovery and mining operations in the river valley in the mid to late 1800s. A cairn with a plaque reading “Here we begin to mine the coal” stands to the left of the kiosk entrance.
This interpretive kiosk is a great opportunity to gain perspective on the intensive human development of this area. The kiosk contains a number of historic photos as well as an old mine coal cart used at the site.
For safety the mine entrance, located behind the kiosk, has been sealed with a slab of concrete.
Explore one of the largest urban park systems in Canada!
Lethbridge is home to one of the largest city park systems in Canada! There is an extensive suite of parks that run through the entire length of the river valley corridor; including 4,000 acres of parks with 177 km of paved trails and 57 km of gravel trails.
The City of Lethbridge maintains over 130 parks and natural areas. There is a variety of recreational options to meet your needs. Discover the four Nature Reserve Parks in Lethbridge later on this page.
Residents and visitors can enjoy a variety of pathways and trails throughout the City. They are fun to explore and can help fill a warm summer evening or even a warm winter Sunday!
Nature Reserve Parks in Lethbridge
There are four designated nature preservation parks in the City of Lethbridge. These parks contribute to the aesthetics of our community by enhancing natural features, mature landscapes, and native vegetation while also providing natural areas for wildlife habitats. These parks are ideal for exercise and nature enthusiasts, photography or those simply looking to escape the city.
Thank you for observing the rules of the Nature Reserves:
Bikes and dogs are not allowed
Picking or removing vegetation is not allowed
Fires and camping are not allowed
Keep wildlife wild - no feeding wildlife
Take only pictures, leave only footprints
Lethbridge Nature Reserve Park
Discover three unique ecosystems in this 196-acre park: the prairie, the coulees, and the floodplain. Catch a glimpse of many native plants and wildlife as you explore the self-guided trails.
Make sure to explore the three self-guided trails of the Lethbridge Nature Reserve when you visit the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, which is open year round!
Elizabeth Hall Wetlands
This 78-acre Nature Reserve is found along the west side of the Oldman River. The wetlands are protected because of the unique cottonwood forest, oxbow pond, and wetland.
A two-kilometer walking path, with interpretive signs about local species, circles the pond. This is an excellent spot for watching birds and other wildlife species!
Alexander Wilderness Park
This 630 acre park is a nature preservation area in the north Lethbridge river valley. Encompassed by coulee slopes on the east and bordered to the west by the Oldman River.
Featuring a picnic area, public washrooms (available during summer), and 2km of natural trails! This is a great part to explore the flood plain and cottonwood forest.
Named for its extensive cottonwood forest this park includes grasslands, coulees, and forests. This park also provides a natural habitat for many prairie species including the prairie rattlesnake.
There is a small parking lot on the upper bench with a shale trail that leads down to the river valley. The trail heading down to the river bottom is fairly steep so be prepared for a hike.
The Nature Playground at Indian Battle Park is a short 500 metre walk south of the Nature Centre!
Indian Battle Park Natural Playground
Indian Battle Park features a natural themed playground which consists of the rattlesnake play area, a climbing wall, swings, spider web pathway, and the beaver lodge. This playground is in close proximity to the Nature Centre and provides an excellent wide open space to have fun and play!
Indian Battle Park has several hiking and walking trails meandering throughout the flood plain that are sheltered by mature trees. The trails are used by exercise and nature enthusiasts alike and are often used for community walks and runs. There are several river access points in the park used for canoeing, tubing, and fishing. There is also a warm-up station located near Fort Whoop-Up for individuals going for a run or bicycle ride.
Indian Battle Park is home to numerous drop in sites with picnic tables and fire pits, the Baroness Picnic Shelter and the fenced Elks Picnic site.