By: Matt Setlack

Start/End Location: I usually start/end this run in Tri-City Estates but you can also start/end it at the Tim Horton's near Staples/Canadian Tire or the Cold Lake Provincial Park (shorter version).

Distance: Approximately 20km (Cold Lake Provincial Park Outside Loop is 6km)

Surface: 95% trail, 5% road

This is a really quiet and relaxing trail to run on. There are no motorized vehicles around except for the occasional ATV. It is one of my favourite trails in the area. The route described here is only one of many different possible trail options.  

Map for Countryside Trail Run (click map to enlarge) 

Route Description

Starting at the Tri-City Tim Horton's, run east towards the Museum and then turn left (north) when you are at an opening in the trees about half way there. Go through the opening past a muddy depression and veer to the right (NNE) on a ATV trail.

 Turn left here (at the muddy ATV trail)

Turn left here (at the muddy ATV trail)

Once you leave the road and go through the opening in the trees, you should see something similar to the trail below.

 Follow the ATV trail

Follow the ATV trail

Keep following the main trail (there are A LOT of ATV trails in this area).

 Take the left trail and head for the green field

Take the left trail and head for the green field

Keep running in generally a NE direction. Cross up and over a gravel/dirt road and back down into a green farmers field. Keep following the trail through the field. This field is perfect for doing cross-country interval sessions (as is the adjacent field to the north).

 Typical trail conditions

Typical trail conditions

You will get to a 4-way trail intersection (about 300m ahead of where the above photo was taken). The right (south) goes to toward the Museum. The straight option (east) goes towards the African Lake bike trail (not recommended). The left option (north) is the direction you want to go.

 This is the trail intersection. Go left (north) here.

This is the trail intersection. Go left (north) here.

You will run up a slight incline on a trail through a farmers field and eventually get to row of trees/bushes that separates the fields.

 View looking over your left shoulder (west). What you will see during the Countryside Trail Run

View looking over your left shoulder (west). What you will see during the Countryside Trail Run

Go through the opening and take an immediate right (east) turn. You will then get to a muddy depression (it's always muddy here), which you will have to go around it. The muddy depression is you crossing over the African Lake bike trail (not recommended). Keep heading east through the muddy depression and into another field.

 Typical running conditions for the Countryside Trail Run

Typical running conditions for the Countryside Trail Run

You will eventually see the back of some houses on your left. Keep them on your left side until you get to 16 Ave / Township Rd 633, at which point you run up onto this road/highway and follow it east until you get to the Cold Lake Provincial Park (CLPP). Take the first left after you get into the park and you will pass by a couple of parking lots and a washroom. You can do the CLPP loop in any direction but I like to run CW (the lakeshore is always on my left). Once you get back to the CLPP parking lot, you can turn around and follow your trail back to Tim Horton's in Tri-City.  

 Running on the Cold Lake Provincial Park Outside Loop Trail

Running on the Cold Lake Provincial Park Outside Loop Trail

This trail is perfect for:

Training for cross country (XC) races because the surface of the terrain and rolling hills is exactly what you can expect in an XC race.

Alternate OptionS

There are MANY ATV trails in the fields between Tri-City and the Cold Lake Provincial Park. There are a lot of good fields where you could do a interval session if you bring your flats or spikes along. The ground is nice and soft especially after a light rain.

 Matt running at the CLPP just north of the parking lot

Matt running at the CLPP just north of the parking lot

If you don't want to run to the Cold Lake Provincial Park from Tri-City, you could drive to the park and park in the parking lot. Then do the "Cold Lake Provincial Park Outside Loop", which is approximately 6km. The trail is extremely nice and very well maintained. The park attendants keep the trail clear all year around. Typically within a few days of a tree falling over the trail, it is removed. Very impressive!

 "CL PP Around The Outside" Segment Map

"CL PP Around The Outside" Segment Map

As shown in Strava segment entitled "CL PP Around The Outside", the fastest time that this 6km trail segment has been run in is 22:34. If anyone runs this segment faster than this, I will buy them a beer.

Stay tuned for Matt's Favourite Local Run #2!