Spring is officially here! But this year it didn’t really take until now to persuade people to get out and take some outdoor exercise. Thanks to the unseasonably warm weather over the past month or so, swarms of folks itching to stretch their winter legs took advantage, getting a head start on hiking and biking. Since February, even I’ve been out for several +20km bike rides, multiple walks and a few hikes.
Here are some trail systems within and close to the Regina region where you can walk, hike and even bike: In the city – Multi-use pathway/Trans Canada Trail
Within Regina, the Multi-use pathway system is a well-used and loved paved trail system shared year round by runners, walkers, rollerbladers, cyclists, skiers, and even skateboarders.
Part of the system is designated as part of the nation wide Trans Canada Trail, which is the world's longest network of recreational trails. The Regina portion is just under 25km and stretches and winds through scenic Wascana Centre, around the Legislative Building, the University of Regina, the Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the Kramer Imax Theatre. Trail users can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding lake, along with the creek and marsh section’s extensive wildlife habitat.
As a birder, my favourite stops along the way are the bird sanctuary in Wascana Park and A.E. Wilson Park.
Approx. 15 minutes away – Condie Nature Refuge
Maybe you fancy more of a stroll outside of the city where you can take in nature, appreciate fauna and simply saunter under the afternoon sun. Condie Nature Refuge, located just north of Regina is the perfect place to enjoy a short amble along a 4km trail system. Pack a picnic and take in the view while you enjoy the trills of marsh birds and explore the banks of the shallow lake along the way.
Directions: From NW Regina, take Highway 11, and turn left at Exit A (14 km). After a few km’s watch for the Condie Nature Refuge sign and take a left.
Approx. 20 minutes away - Lumsden/Deer Valley
The Lumsden/Deer Valley section of the Trans Canada Trail and the Lumsden Walking Tour are two choices for those seeking to get out on foot in the area.
With approximately 16km of trail, the Lumsden/Deer Valley section of the Trans Canada Trail is for beginner to intermediate hikers and features both natural terrain and paved walking surfaces. It stretches from Lumsden River Park to Deer Valley.
Lumsden's Walking Tour showcases the town's historical sites and buildings and allows visitors to explore such site as the CNR Train Station (built in 1904), the Lumsden Museum Heritage Park and the Town Bell. The 6.5km round trip walking tour is open year round.
Directions: Lumsden is NW of Regina on Highway 11.
Approx. 25 minutes away - White Butte Trails
A 10km loop, the White Butte Trails, located close to Pilot Butte, are rated moderately easy and best for hiking and biking. In the winter, the trails are well used for cross-country skiing. The trails are mainly single track with gravel, but also some mud and sand.
Directions: Take Highway #1 (east of Regina) to the junction at Highway #48. Turn the opposite direction of #48 onto a service road. Head west until you hit your first turn off to go north. Go another 1.5 - 2 km to reach White Butte.
Approx. 30 minutes away – Wascana Valley Trails
Wascana Valley Trails is a popular place for those who like to hike and bike in the Regina region.
Offering a mix of three interconnected pathways, the trails feature beautiful views of picturesque Qu’Appelle Valley and Wascana Creek, winding through a mix of prairies, treed areas, coulees and hills.
With over 15km of trails, there is a suitable path system for all levels of walking and hiking. One thing to note however is that the trails are quite thin in some spots, especially along the black section (most advanced trail). The bottom of the valley offers slightly flatter terrain for beginners. Expect a variety of short and sometimes steep ascents and descents occur along the pathway along with gradual hills.
Hikers and mountain bikers may come across wildlife such as deer, and the area is quite rich for bird watching. Look for eastern king birds and marsh wrens along the way.
Directions: Take Highway 11 NW Regina. Just over 10 km north of Regina from the Highway 11 overpass you will turn left (west) on Exit A (Grid 734 – same road as Condie) Continue down the grid until you see a sign that marks where the turnoff is. Follow the grid for another 10 km until you hit the valley. There will be a sign that tells you to head south towards the trails.