I truly love exploring Edmonton and finding its many gems. That’s why I was thrilled to find Edmonton’s “secret” River Valley Swing this summer, after seeing an Instagram post of the swing from @mrs_mandyann!
Now, I really debated whether I should write this blog post about Edmonton’s River Valley Swing because the last time I blogged about a lovely, highly Instagrammable swing (in beautiful Canmore), someone went and cut it down…. really. Okay, so I don’t know for sure that it was a result of my blog post but it was pretty close timing (and I got some angry emails from someone who was mad I had shared about the swing).
BUT!! Since CTV Edmonton has done a story on this swing, it has been featured in a few different posts (like on YEG Date and on YEG Secrets) AND it has its own Google Maps Marker (lol), I figured it would be fine for me to talk about Edmonton’s River Valley Swing on this blog!!
Now I am not going to share the exact location of the swing in this post, so there is still *some* mystery, but if you’re intent on finding it, you really shouldn’t have much trouble.
I hope this lovely swing continues to bring lots of joy to lots of people, locals and tourists alike!
And I really hope no one tries to cut it down…
So I just have a few things to say about Edmonton’s River Valley Swing:
1. It’s super, super cute!!!
Obviously. And photographs reeeeally well, as you can see lol.
Heck, I mostly just wanted to share this blog so I could share cute swing photos lol.
2. It’s a bit tricky to get to.
The swing itself is just off a paved trail in the Highlands area which is not difficult to get to, but to actually get down to where the swing hangs, you need to sort of backwards maneuver rappel your way down a fairly steep little dirt hill.
Some very kind person (maybe the same person who put the swing up!) put a stick and rope into the ground to help guide you on your way down. But be careful! It’s not hard to slip and slide down into the wet sand and water lol.
If this doesn’t work for you, I did notice a few dogs go down a different dirt path to the river bank a few feet away from the swing so that’s potentially a secondary option to get down to the water if rappelling down this rope doesn’t sound fun, lol.
There’s also a paved trail that could take you basically all the way to the swing (at least up to the part where you need to rappel down to the river bank), but Mike and I ended up taking a short cut through the river valley, barrelling down several hills and through lots of trees (the shortcut path is marked on Pokemon Go!) and it cut a15 minute walk to 5 minutes, if you’re so inclined lol (but 15 minutes is pretty easy too lol).
Also depending on time of year, you might find the water levels too high to actually get to the swing!
3. It was apparently made from a dare
On a river valley float with the RiverWatch Institute of Alberta, we actually passed the swing on our rafts and our float guide Bailey told us that ‘legend has it’ (lol) the swing was put up by a man who lives in the area and whose girlfriend dared him to swing off the branch of the tree that was hanging out over the water.
Apparently the man went one further than the dare and added the swing instead! Thank you good sir!!!!
4. It’s as old as 2015 (maybe older than that)
The oldest reference I could find of the secret swing was from a reddit post dating back to 2015 when someone asked whether people knew the location of the “secret swing.”
5. Careful—it’s not the sturdiest
Mike wouldn’t sit on the swing. He didn’t feel confident that it could hold him up and he’s about 200 lbs, lol. The swing bench is pretty wide though so you could in theory fit two people on it, sitting. I was able to stand on the swing for my photos but it was definitely a shaky experience.
Just be careful! It would not be fun if the swing broke while you were on it, lol.
(I also cannot be held liable for any injuries caused by your visit to the swing lol).
So that’s really all I wanted to say about Edmonton’s River Valley Swing!
Exploring the river valley and finding + photographing this swing with Mike was so much fun.
Thank you to the lovely human who put the swing up, and set up the rope that helps people rappel down to the swing. Thank you to @mrs_mandyann for letting me know the swing was on Google.
If you’re planning a visit to the swing, please be respectful of the area. Don’t do anything dangerous or stupid. Be safe. And really, just enjoy! Enjoy the swing. Enjoy the water. Enjoy the view.
Enjoy North America’s largest River Valley park system (yay, Edmonton!)
And please, please, don’t ruin the swing for everyone else…