Echo Valley Provincial Park

Background: Cyclists who love to climb will enjoy the Echo Valley Provincial Park Trails. The park is situated on the south side of Pasqua Lake. Over 10 kilometers of single and double track stretch up and down the valley walls, pass through dense coulees of poplar and aspen, and over prairie grasslands at the top. Remember, what goes up, must come down! The downhills are so exciting that it is not long before riders gladly endure the long climbs to take any number of downhill opportunities. Trail areas are very well marked with maps and "Level of Difficulty" classifications.

If the trails at the provincial park prove to be too rigorous, riders can take any number of back roads or lakefront trails. These areas are not marked, nor are they especially difficult, yet provide straight forward riding alongside Pasqua and Echo lakes. If you are riding "in-season", ask the park staff for maps or directions to trails. The area also offers shelters and interpretive trails for those who would rather hike than bike. These areas are also clearly marked.

Echo Valley Provincial Park offers excellent camping facilities and makes for great cycling and camping weekends. Campsites are very well maintained and are in close proximity to the trails. You can basically wake up, eat and ride...

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced - The main aspect of Echo Valley is the climbing. This is not to say that the climbs are especially difficult, but rather long and very drawn out. There are no unexpected technical sections nor any steep flanks; only a long double track that seems to go up, and up, and up. The valley walls are quite big along this portion of the Qu'Appelle Valley system, and while they provide challenging climbs, they also provide exciting downhills, which like the climbs, seem to go on forever -- a unique aspect for any Saskatchewan trail.

The trails at the top and bottom of the system act as connectors to the larger runs and are flat single and double track running through brush patches and forested groves. These trails access all the runs so you can follow any routine. Be careful that you do not follow a trail that leads out to farmland. This is a concern because the connector trails, especially the top ones, meander quite extensively throughout the area. Sometimes a tributary can blend into farmland and, before you know it, you're riding on cultivated soil wondering, why is it so hard to pedal? If you find yourself suddenly on cultivated land, simply turn back to the main trail and try another route.

Directions: Echo Valley Provincial Park is located 8 kilometers west of the Town of Fort Qu'Appelle on Highway 210.

What to Bring: Bring enough fluids, especially if it is hot. Mosquitoes and wood ticks can be a problem in the early summer, so bring the appropriate repellent. If you run out of water during the ride, there are several taps and fountains throughout the camping areas that are available only during the "in-season". Bring your standard tool kit and first aid items. The area is isolated so bring enough of everything you require. If you do run out of any particular item, the Town of Fort Qu'Appelle is nearby and offers a variety of services. There is, however, no mountain bike shop, so bring all the tools, extra inner tubes, pumps and accessories. You may also want to bring extra clothing should the weather change suddenly, or if you wish to enjoy any "lake activities"