Urban Trails in Central Alberta
Several communities in Central Alberta have developed well-used trail systems. Many
are part of or linked to The Great Trail (also known as the Trans
The largest and best known trail system in the region is in the City of Red Deer,
much of which is in Waskasoo Park.
The trail system covers more than 110 km and is continually
Citizens of the city have ranked the trail system as one of the most
cherished amenities of the community.
The trail system includes three
pedestrian bridges across the Red Deer River including an abandoned
historic CPR railway bridge. Features along the system include Heritage
Ranch, Maskepetoon Nature Park, Great Chief Recreation Park, Bower
Ponds, Cronquist House, Great West Adventure Park, Gaetz Lakes
Sanctuary, Kerry Wood Nature Centre, Three Mile Bend off-leash dog park,
McKenzie Trails, Riverbend Recreation Area, Discovery Canyon, Coronation
Park, Rotary Recreation Park, Rotary Picnic Park and Kin Kanyon. Recently, the city has built a trail along the east
edge of the city on a berm that will eventually be part of an
expressway. Plans are under way to develop a trail system in the north
part of city as it develops.
The system connects the historic downtown, City Hall Park, Public
Library, and 'The Arches' interpretive pavilion with the Red Deer Museum
and Art Gallery, Golden Circle Seniors Centre, Blue Grass Central Spray
& Play, Red Deer Recreation Centre, Red Deer Arena, Pidherney Curling
Centre, Rotary Skateboard Park, Sunnybrook Farm Museum, Collicutt
Centre, Westerner Park, Red Deer Golf & Country Club, River Bend Golf
Course, Lions Campground, Mountain Bike Park, Alberta Sports Hall of
Fame, Tourism Red Deer and Civic Yards.
A Trans Canada Trail pavilion was erected near Bower Ponds in 2005.
Deer Waskasoo Trails map 2014)
Extensive trail networks have been developed in
the City of
Lacombe and the towns of
Sylvan Lake, Blackfalds and Penhold. All but Sylvan Lake are
partially or mostly part of the Trans Canada Trail (now The Great Trail) system.
Many of the initial trails in the City of Lacombe (population
11,700, 25 km north of downtown Red Deer) were constructed by a lone
individual, the late Bill Nielsen, who was very dedicated to trail development. The city has
since developed, expanded and upgraded the community trail system to a
length of about 16 km. (Lacombe
Blackfalds (population 9,900, 14 km north of downtown Red Deer) has the only indoor section of Trans Canada Trail in
the country. It goes through the Abbey recreation Centre fieldhouse. The
town has also completed paved trails linking the Lacombe County trail south to the Blindman
River and the Lacombe County trail
north to the city of Lacombe. (Blackfalds
The town of Ponoka (population 7,200, 56 km north of downtown Red
Deer), as part of a continual trail development plan, completed a new pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the
Battle River in 2010. The Diamond Willow trail system extends 5.2 km.
Sylvan Lake (population 15,000, 24 km west of downtown Red Deer) has developed a natural trail system
that includes the abandoned
CPR/Alberta Central Railway right of way. There is also a lakefront
trail and a much more formal
promenade along the lake front for a total of 26 km. (Sylvan
Lake trails map)
The town of
Penhold (population 3,300, 16 km south of downtown Red Deer) has recently constructed a trail along Waskasoo Avenue
linking the community with the Penhold Multiplex and the Penhold
Crossing High School. Other trails are in the planning stage.
The town of Innisfail (population 7,800, 33 km south of downtown
Red Deer) was one of the first communities in Central Alberta to have a
section of TransCanada Trail around
Dodd's Lake. Since then, a fairly extensive trail system of about 20 km
has been developed. The town has recently expanded its trail system around Napoleon
Lake, much of it through volunteer efforts. (Innisfail trails map)
The town of Olds (population 9,000, 66 km south of downtown Red
Deer) is developing an extensive trail network.
The village of Alix (population 850, 54 km east of downtown Red
Deer) has a 6.5-km trail around Alix Lake.
The hamlet of Springbrook (population 1,500, 14 km south of
downtown Red Deer) has both paved and gravel trails in a natural area on
the south side of the community as well as a trail along Airport Drive.
Red Deer and Red Deer County are in the planning stages of extending
the city's Waskasoo Park into the County as the city grows along rivers, tributaries and possibly
abandoned railway lines.