The Battlefords

Update August 10, 2004:

There are four outdoor recreation areas in the Battlefords for all levels of skills: Battlefords Provincial Park; Blue Mountain Outdoor Adventure Centre; Finlayson Island; North Battleford North Shore Recreational Area

 

Battlefords Provincial Park (306) 386-2212
40 kilometres north on Highway 4, the park offers both leisure cycling and more advanced sections. The Nordic ski trails are marked with ˘level of difficulty÷ classifications. Riding is through forested groves as well as along Jackfish Lake.

A new 5 km bike exclusive trail should be checked out by any one already staying in the park but is rather short for an actual destination ride. This trail begins and ends at the nature trail parking lot and offers winding trails through parkland forest and shaded bluffs. The Battlefords Provincial Park offers camping facilities, water taps, lodges and a seasonal convenience store. Entrance to the park is free on a bike - camping fees would apply.

Blue Mountain Outdoor Adventure Centre (306) 445-4951
Located at the southern start of the park belt 32 kmĂs northeast of North Battleford via highway 378; or 30 km north of Denholm via grid road 687 and northeast 4 km on 378. The area is well marked from both directions.

The Nordic Ski trails, combined with some portions of downhill ski area offers marked singletrack and doubletrack though aspen forest and dense brush.

Trails range in difficulty from straight forward to very difficult - some downhill sections are particularly tricky.

Finlayson Island
Now the municipal domain of the Town of Battleford, the island is accessible by vehicle only from the town side and parking is available on the island. From the north, there is parking on the north end of the bridge at the bottom of Poundmaker trail and the island is accessible on foot by bike from there.

The trails on Finlayson Island are well maintained and offer excellent family biking for those unfamiliar with riding off road. Trails are mostly without significant elevation gain except near the bridges. Maps are posted on site. Pedestrian traffic is heavy year round but wide trails make it easy to avoid conflict. Approximately 40 minutes for a lap of both sides.

 

North Shore Recreational Area
The site of the 2004 Sask cup #4 provincial race, these trails are situated on the riverbank of North Battleford, east of the water treatment plant.

Consisting primarily of two parallel tracks through poplar woodlands, native prairie grasslands, and mixed brushwood, there are approximately 12k of maintained trails.

The multi use trail is a good step between those who would find Finlayson less challenging but are just starting out on technical singletrack. The singletrack portions of this area are well maintained by the members of the Northwest Mountain Bike Club. Conditions are predominately fast hardpack with some loose dirt and sandy areas. The lower trail is the cityĂs multi use trail, cut last year over old existing singletrack. Though now eight feet wide and machine groomed, the old ghost singletrack is still in good condition and runs fast. All areas of the trail make good use of the rolling terrain with many short power climbs and swoopy down hills. The Upper trail is directional and predominately meant to run east while the new city trail runs either direction. Though rare, pedestrian traffic does occur on both trails and will likely increase. The city has supplied trail marker posts for the trails. These indicate a split between directional technical fast track and the more reserved bi-directional routes as well as options to link to the other trail or to leave the trails entirely.

Access to these trails can be reached from the gate of the F. E. Holliday water treatment plant on Riverside Drive near the North Battleford Golf and Country club. A North shore trail sign has been posted by the parks department. Parking can be found at the north end of the pedestrian bridge linking the north shore to Finlayson Island. An unmarked parking lot is further up Riverside Drive between the bridge and the water plant if the marked lot is full. Ride, from either lot, east up Riverside Drive to the gate of the plant. The entrance to the trail is leading east outside of the gate.

Ride the multiuse trail to the first warm-up shelter and take the fork road behind it. This is marked by painted posts to the singletrack. Though very easily accessed from both Battleford and North Battleford this area has no services ű carrying water is recommended. Two spare tubes is a good idea. Cell phone service in the valley is weak but generally useable.

Local bike traffic is sparse. It is unlikely that someone would happen upon you if you run into a mechanical or medical problem. The exception to that is the area directly adjacent to the Saskatchewan Hospital cemetery, which is regularly patrolled by Saskatchewan Hospital security around the clock.

Road Riding
For those touring or logging road miles, Highway 4 from North Battleford to the provincial park is much improved in the last year with resurfacing and shoulder rumble strips in place for most of the way.

The terrain varies from stereotypical flat prairie to long rolling hills halfway to the park. The hills were included as the bike portion of the Battle at the Battlefords triathlon that was held regularly in the 90Ăs and included the road through the park to the beach. The distance from town to the beach is 25 miles.