Mountain Biking is the ultimate thrill and challenge on wheels. Of course, you need an off road experience, not necessarily the mountains, to mountain bike. That’s why some people go for sand dunes, rocky shores, or rolling hills – here’s your guide to some of the places to head to for mountain biking and skateboarding in Central Alberta. There’s ramps, hills, climbs, drops, and pretty much everything you want waiting, no matter your skill level.
Get Your Gear
First, you’ll need gear, and luckily, you have a few options for shopping or renting. Rocky Mountain House’s Rocky Mtn Bike N’ Board is owned and staffed by experts who can help answer all your questions. Red Deer has three stores: Wipeout Ski & Bike, Mud Sweat and Gears, and Savy Cycle. Red Sports is located in southern Lacombe. Bentley Cycle is right next to Gull Lake and offers bike and accessory rentals as well as sales. We really can’t list all the options, there are just so many.
BMX and Skateboarding Parks
Once you’re fitted with protective gear, you’ll probably want to practice a bit. Blackfalds Bike Skills Park is 12 acres of ramps, jump areas, a pump track, a wood skills area, and pretty much everything else. It offers a wide range of difficulties, so any level of skill is welcome. It’s also a BMX park, and is beside the Optimists All Wheel Park that offers skateboarding and scooter opportunities for kids of all ages.
In North Red Deer, you’ll find the Red Deer Mountain Bike Park, a beautiful and scenic spot. Red Deer also has a skate park near Waskasoo Creek and across from the Rotary Picnic Park, along with the Great West Adventure BMX Park, 335 metres of technical track, obstacles, jumps, and step-ups. It’s the home of the Red Deer BMX club, and has hosted local, regional, and national championships. The Olds Regional Exhibition hosts Alberta’s only indoor BMX track so you can practice over the winter months too.
Drive north a bit and you’re at the Lacombe Skate Park, a great spot for all ages. There’s also Cranna Lake in Lacombe, open for skateboarding and biking in summer, but also ice skating, biking, and cross country skiing in the winter. Other spots to head if you’re into skateboarding include Centennial Park in Olds, as well as the Blackfalds Skateboard Park. For something to keep an eye on in the future, starting construction in 2019 is the Innisfail Skatepark, with a dedicated multi-purpose design for BMX, inline skaters, and scooter riders too. Rocky Mountain House has the Christenson Sports & Wellness Centre.
The trails are pretty much endless no matter where you look. Circling Crimson Lake is the scenic Amerada Trail. The Raven River Cross Country Skiing and Mountain Bike Area in Red Deer County near Gleniffer Lake is an excellent spot near the Red Deer River. There’s also the Trans Canada Trail between Lacombe and Blackfalds.
What did you think we were going to say? It’s mountain biking! Frontier Lodge near Nordegg is the perfect spot. It’s nestled right where the foothills start to meet the first chain of mountains, the Bighorn Range. Near Fish Lake, there’s also the Nordegg Fire Smart biking trails.
If you’re looking for something more leisurely, Red Deer has extensive walking trails open to city biking, incorporated bike lanes, and both Bower Ponds, packed with all sorts of outdoor activities and open to winter ice skating and biking, and Maskepetoon Park, a dedicated city pollinator park (meaning a more wild park with no spraying). Stairs do exist at one end of the park, so you may need to dismount, but you’ll quickly forget you’re in a city. If you have the safety equipment and some experience, you can also head out to western Clearwater County, right on the border of Jasper and Banff for some mountain action!
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