Barrhead, AB trail map

Whether a fledgling novice or an extreme sledder, Barrhead, Alberta has flat, wide-open lakes and plains that open up to as much adventure as you can handle as the trail heads away from town

by Jessica Kirby

Hundred of miles of trails—about half of them groomed—and a dedicated club of more than 100 members keep the sport alive for enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Three well-maintained warm-up cabins ensure toasty rest stops, and the nearby town offers lodging, food, gas and a well-stocked dealer in the event of trouble.

Anyone can plan a day trip from the staging area just east of the Neighbourhood Inn and next to the fire station—just follow the signs to the emergency responder station and you can’t miss the parking lot. The main trail is a one-way loop, with recently upgraded sight line signage to three main riding areas you won’t want to miss.

600 Shack

The ride to 600 Shack is playful and scenic—novice riders and families will enjoy 12 kilometres of groomed trails to the warm-up cabin from the staging area. The trail heads over Shoal Lake, which newbies should note isn’t usually frozen safe until December. About five miles from 600 Shack the trail nears Misty Mountain Ski Hill to the left, where sledders can stop for a hot chocolate and to head out onto several ungroomed trails, and Goodridge Lake to the right.

Goodridge Cabin

Fourteen miles from 600 Shack is Goodridge Cabin, which offers staging areas on either end of a 10-kilometre loop around Goodridge Lake. Twenty-five kilometres of trails wind around inside the loop, with meadows and novice to intermediate terrain that is slightly hillier than the main trail. Expect beautiful views and wildlife encounters for an unparalleled outdoor experience.

Flatbush Cabin

Fourteen miles past Goodridge, the trail arrives at Flat Bush Cabin where experienced sledders can spend the day on more challenging terrain in the immediate area, or head out to Athabasca or Swan Hills. Just three miles from Flatbush Cabin is the TransCanada Trail from which the possibilities are endless. Just remember to bring gas, lunch and a sense of adventure.

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