Prince Albert

Background: Little Red River Park offers some very exciting riding in the Prince Albert area. Riders follow the Nordic ski system consisting primarily of double track, with single track tributaries, over gradual and rolling hills, through boreal forest and alongside the Little Red River. There are also steeper sections to challenge any technical rider. The soil is sand and clay based. All trails are very well marked with "Level of Difficulty" classifications. The area offers well maintained picnic areas and a lodge remains open for most of the year. The lodge offers a canteen, washrooms and water. Little Red River Park offers excellent riding minutes from the City of Prince Albert.

The Prince Albert area is also home to the province's only national park. Prince Albert National Park is situated in the transition zone between the northern boreal forest and the central aspen parkland. It offers beautiful riding through forests of white spruce, black spruce and jack pine, through aspen parkland, across prairie grasslands, over rock out-croppings and alongside swift-flowing streams and crystal-clear lakes. Wildlife abounds in the area including deer, moose, elk, black bear, and perhaps the odd caribou.The park is alive with trail systems and fireroads which means that riders will never have a dull moment. Park staff can direct you to the bicycle trailheads and provide maps and trail classifications. All trails are well marked and provide "Level of Difficulty" classifications. The premiere mountain bike trail in the park is The Freight Trail, which runs approximately 27 kilometres through breathtaking landscapes and follows the route used by fur traders as they transported their goods between Prince Albert and Waskesiu. Elk Trail is slightly longer at 33 kilometres and the rolling hills and long grass make it more challenging. Some of the grades on this trail, especially near Hunters Lake, will likely force you to push your bicycle. Fish Lake Trail is a pleasant 12 kilometre trail to the Fish Lake Campground that features gently rolling hills, aspen forest and several small lakes. The Hunters Lake Trail is similar to the Elk Trail and includes steep hills and exposed rock. The Westside Boundary is 37.5 kilometres long from Cookson Road to Sturgeon Crossing Station, and additional 24 kilometres from the station to the north end of the park. This trail is a compacted gravel-based road with little overgrowth. It covers some of the most interesting parts of the park, especially the Sturgeon River Valley and the Fox and Rabbit Creek Basins. It provides the opportunity to stroll through the fescue grassland meadows and perhaps catch a glimpse of the free-roaming bison herd. Be careful in rainy weather because the first two kilometres can become very muddy.

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced - Both Little Red River Park and Prince Albert National Park offer a wide range of possible trail routes. This means that riders can take alternate routes if any one section appears particularly difficult. Most of the trails are well marked with "Level of Difficulty" classifications so riders should encounter no surprises. Riders should pay particular attention to some of the steeper sections and be careful around jagged rock out-croppings.

Directions: Little Red River Park is located 3 kilometres east of the city of Prince Albert via Highway 55. Prince Albert National Park is located 88 kilometres north of the city of Prince Albert via Highway 2 and Highway 264.

What to Bring: Be sure to bring your complete tool kit and extra inner tubes should any of the jagged rock out-cropping cause flats. Bring adequate food supplies if you are planning a full day ride. Black fly and mosquito repellent are also good ideas. Remember that you are in bear country so equip your bicycles with bells. Both Little Red River Park and Prince Albert National Park are well maintained and offer water and picnic areas as well as good parking. Waskesiu, a small village nestled in the national park, provides extensive services for visitors.