Canada has no shortage of amazing trails and the MEC community loves trail running – it’s a stellar combo. To get you inspired to put on your trail running shoes and meet your 2017 race goals, here are shots of some of our favourite places to go trail running across the country. Have you check out any of these trail running areas?
Old Chelsea, QC
Gatineau Park is popular with trail runners for a few reasons: it has hills galore, it has a huge network of trails that allow you to switch it up on the regular, and it’s close enough to the city that you can sneak out for a run even if you don’t have a whole lot of time. Just 15 minutes outside of Ottawa-Gatineau, this conservation area houses 165km of trails that vary in length, steepness and difficulty. Heads up: some trails are shared with mountain bikers so make sure to pay attention, or opt for a pedestrian-only trail like the popular 8.3km Wolf Trail (it’s a tough one, so it’s good for more experienced runners).
Trail resource: Gatineau Park Summer Trails Map
North Vancouver, BC
Mount Seymour provide a sweet mix of technical terrain and entry-level routes, making it a popular place for trail races. The Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve is great if you’re heading out with friends with varying running experience, as both newbies and more experienced runners can find something to love. It’s absolutely loaded with trail options, ranging from relatively flat Rice Lake trails to rocky Bridle Path to steeper multi-use trails also used by mountain bikers (listen for riders and share the trail).
If you’re looking for more of an alpine experience, trails in Mount Seymour Provincial Park wind around Mystery Lake, Goldie Lake and Flower Lake, and Mystery Lake is perfect for a quick dip after you’ve worked up a sweat.
Scanlon Creek Conservation Area
Bradford/West Gwillimbury, ON
A small conservation area in Bradford/West Gwillimbury, Scanlon Creek rests just south of Lake Simcoe, about an hour outside of Toronto. This 300-hectare park features hilly terrain that meanders alongside its namesake creek, as well as a scenic lookout as reward for all your hard work. The variety of vegetation makes it a beautiful place to run anytime of year, but spring and fall will offer the best colours and the most agreeable temperatures.
Bluff Wilderness Trail
The Bluff Wilderness Trail is a local favourite for experienced trail runners in Halifax and provides an intense workout that varies in terrain and difficulty levels. Located within the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness area, Bluff Trail offers four different stacked loops. The shortest is the Pot Lake Loop, which offers a 9km return trip through beautiful landscapes including deciduous woodlands and barren granite terrain. If you’re in for a longer journey, consider heading up to the Bluff Plateau. The trek provides a substantial workout, and the view from one of the highest points in all of Halifax makes your sore glutes well worth it!
Frontenac Provincial Park
Located near Kingston, Frontenac is a quintessential Ontario park, offering 100km of backcountry trails past thick forests, swamps and hidden lakes. A variety of trails intersect each other so customizing your run is easy, and there’s a range of terrain options including some stretches of boardwalks. Be on the lookout for forest wildlife as you make your way past beaver dams, bogs, deciduous forest and even 19th century homesteads.
Trail resource: Frontenac Park Map
Calling all runners
If you’re as inspired by these photos as we are, check out some of our most scenic upcoming trail races in the MEC Race Series:
- April 30: Toronto Trail Race One in the beautiful Heart Lake Conservation Area
- May 6: Edmonton Trail Race along the Mill Creek Ravine
- June 4: Lower Mainland Trail Race Three, which goes from ocean to forest
- July 30: Montreal Trail Race Two at Mont Tremblant
- August 6: Ottawa Trail Race Four in Gatineau Park, showcased above
Wish you were as impressive as these rad folks? Read up on how to start trail running (and how to properly equip yourself) and this could be you in no time. If you’re wondering where to trail run near your city or want to meet other runners, check out MEC run crews across Canada.
Have your own photos to share? Be sure to follow @mec and use the #goodtimesoutside hashtag for your adventures for your chance to be featured in a future post.
Photo: Shutterstock / Izf