There’s a hidden gem, outside of Spruce Grove, at a river that’s clear, shallow and perfect for wading on a hot day – the recently developed Range Road 23 day use area. Perfect for small children, with an easy walk from the parking lot that leads to shallow, warm water, you’re going to want to add it to your summer ‘to explore’ list.
After a quick walk from the parking lot, you’ll find a day use area with fire pits and a trail that leads down the river, short enough for the kids to carry everything, or for adults to bring down a kayak or coolers, and other fun things so you can enjoy your time at the spot. The water is shallow enough, a long way, and gentle enough (with the exception from the occasional wake of a boat that zooms by on the other side of the river) that you’ll be able to easily let the kids go out quite far and enjoy themselves, without it going barely past their waist. We brought an assortment of tubes, but for kids that are less confident in the water or that tend to water, there’s always life jackets.
Our tips to enjoy Range Road 23 Day Use Area
- Bring tubes for the kids to play in, tubes for you to float in
- Bring a ball to pass around in the water
- Don’t forget chairs to sit in because those rocks aren’t very comfortable (We forgot chairs this time around, and were so jealous of people sitting in the water cooling off on their chairs)
- There’s nowhere really nearby or on the way to stop and grab something to eat, so bring a picnic to enjoy the day at the riverside
- It’s Rocky, the kids didn’t mind because the rocks are bigger but as adults, we preferred to walk in the water with our sandals on
- Don’t forget the mosquito repellent – we didn’t notice them too badly, the bugs weren’t actually bad at all with the exception of a few ants we noticed while sitting on the rocky area
- Walk down the shore for a spot that’s all your own, but it’s one of those spots that isn’t inundated with people, so it’s a great afternoon cool-off location
Shallow water makes it a kid-friendly place to spend an afternoon, and the water was quite warm where it was shallow, so even fair-weather kids who aren’t a big fan of getting wet can have fun while you’re there. To make sure the kids have many things to do, bring along little toys like spray toys, water guns, and nets for them to try and catch things in the water.
If we had brought along more toys for the kids to play in the water (or more friends) they would have lasted more than a couple of hours and it would have been a great place to spend the entire afternoon. Next time, buckets for rocks, a small net and water guns that can be easily filled are on the list of ‘things to bring’.
Getting there: We got a bit lost (I blame Google Maps). With a few different places to search for directions, and these directions were the most direct – but watch out that you don’t miss the entrance to the day use area, as we didn’t find it was marked very clearly.