International Trails Day – June 5 (Part 1)

The Great Trail between Blackfalds and Lacombe

International Trails Day is a day dedicated to celebrating trails, their development, uses and the healthy lifestyle they encourage. We can celebrate Trails Day in Red Deer by taking the time to explore the over 130 km of trails (excluding Mountain Bike and Equestrian Trails) that meander throughout the city and neighbouring communities. Here is a list of some top trails you can experience in and around Red Deer to get you started on your next trail adventure.

The Great Trail (TransCanada Trail) connects our country, is the world’s longest recreational trail and spans from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. In central Alberta, the trail is about 40 percent complete, most urban communities have their section of the Great Trail established, including Red Deer, Blackfalds, Lacombe, Ponoka, Penhold and Innisfail. Although the trail does connect these regions, most of the rural sections are roadways, please be aware and plan your trip accordingly.

McKenzie Trails Recreation Area is a natural oasis within the city, leading you along paved paths next to ponds, through the forest and to a boat launch for access to the Red Deer River. These trails are wheelchair accessible and offer many lovely spots to stop for a picnic.

Heritage Ranch offers a mix of paved and gravel trails that weave throughout the 217 acres of wild parkland. It is great for various modes of travel from walking, biking, skateboarding and even horseback riding, just make sure you watch out for fellow trail users and their animal friends.

If you are looking for a quieter more peaceful setting, then try exploring the nonpaved trails at Maskepetoon Park. An ecological gem and a city dedicated pollinator park, with three kilometres of trails winding through the forest and marshland you will enjoy a diverse natural area.

Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary is a federal migratory bird sanctuary that is perfect for walking and hiking. Here you will find 5 km of hiking trails with viewing platforms, a bird blind, gardens, information signage, sightseeing benches and lookout points.

Head North to Lacombe and hike the Great Trail between Lacombe and Blackfalds or to the JJ Collett Natural Area. More than 18 km of maintained trails wind through a mosaic of shrublands, aspen groves, wetlands and grassy meadows located near the hamlet of Morningside. Check out the Kuhnen Natural Area in Blackfalds and experience the 65 acres of forested land, offering lookout points over the river valley and a trail that leads down to the water.

To the South, in the Town of Innisfail, you will find a paved and natural trails system linking the entire town with a 20 km trails network, including the Napoleon Lake Trail. Find more trails in neighbouring communities, like Markerville’s 1.1 km loop along the Red Deer River or the hamlet of Springbrook’s trails with both paved and gravel paths on the south side of the community with a trail along airport drive.

Sylvan Lake is always pretty with scenic lakeside trails, the boardwalk and 5.8 km of the Jarvis Bay Provincial Park Campground Trail complete with lovely lake views.

Why not visit our friends to the East in the Town of Stettler, enjoy the short rural drive and check out their scenic walking paths that highlight the town and their lovely parks.

Hiking in the West country is always an adventure, and places like Crescent Falls Provincial Park offer stunning views or hit up Crimson Lake where you will find over 10 km of trails, near Rocky Mountain House.

Did your favourite trail not make the list? @TourismRedDeer would love to hear about the trails you enjoy exploring in Red Deer’s backyard. Join us as we work to #getoutofthegrey and #experiencethecolours of central Alberta.

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