Coyote Lake Nature Sanctuary is part of the Upper North Saskatchewan River Basin Natural Area. This park protects over 470 hectares (1,200 Acres) of boreal forest and parkland along the shores of Coyote Lake, Alberta. There are approximately 8km of natural hiking trails throughout the nature sanctuary. We hiked a little over 6.5km of them in an hour and 40 minutes and were pleasantly surprised by the interesting rolling terrain. Twenty-two types of mammals, 266 types of plants and 154 different birds have all been spotted within the park making this an area rich in biodiversity.
It was a dream of Eric and Doris Hopkins to make sure the land they called home on Coyote Lake, Alberta would be protected forever. They donated 130 Hectares (320 acres) to Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) on the condition that the NCC purchase two quarter-sections of land across the lake as well. The only other condition was that Eric and Doris Hopkins would be allowed to live out their lives on that land. In 1999, the Coyote Lake Nature Sanctuary grew in size when neighbours Daryl and Kathy Howery donated land to the nature sanctuary bringing the total protected area to 470 Hectares (1,200 acres) around the lake.
Since 1962 the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has protected more than 15 million hectares (37 million acres) across Canada. In fact, the NCC is Canada's largest national land conservation organization. Since their first Alberta project in 1970, they have protected over 455,000 hectares (1.1 million acres). Including the 470 hectares (1,2000 acres) at Coyote Lake Nature Sanctuary. NCC worked with the Hopkins and later the Howery family to conserve the lands surrounding Coyote Lake thereby protecting one of the richest biological areas in Alberta.
Coyote Lake has rolling and sometimes punchy hills that wind through a combination dry mixed wood boreal forest, meadows, wetlands and of along the shoreline. The trails have natural surfaces with some routes and uneven terrain. Regardless, the trails are easy. Coyote Lake Nature Sanctuary is an interesting place for a walk in the woods, trail running, hiking or snowshoeing in the winter. Packing a post-hike picnic to enjoy at the gazebo by the lake rounds out the adventure.
Distance - 7-8 km
Route Type - Loops
Elevation Gain - 144m
Difficulty - Easy
Time Needed - 30-60 minutes.
Trail Surface - natural
Amenities: Parking, washroom, viewing platform and gazebo
Trailhead - Coyote Lake Nature Sanctuary Access Road on Range Road 44
Dogs - Allowed and must be on leash according to the NCC website.
Permitted uses - Hiking, walking, running, and snowshoeing.
Trail Signage - Well marked.
Interpretive Signage - Yes
There are seven trails to choose from at Coyote Lake Nature Sanctuary. Some are as short as 300m whereas others are about 2.5km in length.
Coyote Lake Nature Sanctuary is a pleasant place to explore and to go for a picnic. The rolling and sometimes punchy hills make for an interesting hike through the woods, and meadows. Whereas the gazebo overlooking the lake is an ideal spot for a picnic.