Reason No. 217 to ride Melfort

Explorers looking for wildlife are welcome in Melfort

by Kyle Born

Lenvale Shelter is one of the stops to make along the Melfort trail system.
Lenvale Shelter is one of the stops to make along the Melfort trail system. Photo courtesy Doug Armstrong

Melfort’s snowmobile trails will be scaled back this year. Due to poor weather, most farmers in the area were unable to complete their final harvest. Riding over top of crops damages them and farmers don’t appreciate sledders destroying their fields. Some of Melfort’s trails are connected to farmland and thus some creative tweaking has taken place to ensure that sledding continues near this small Saskatchewan city. Riding north of Melfort won’t be an option this year but the Melfort Trail Riders still have their main trail open south of town. 217A south is the go-to trail in Melfort. President of the Melfort Trail Riders, Doug Armstrong, said, “From there you get on 217C, and then 217B. That’s the loop. It’ll all be open.”

What’s there to see?

Once you’re on the trail south of Melfort, you’ll ride approximately 24 kilometres to the Naicam Junction. Heading east will take you to the Barrier River warm-up shelter. The shelter is stocked with firewood. If you have a hankering for hotdogs you’re free to have a wiener roast. After the break, the trail leads you north 32 kilometres to the town of Star City. Riding 20 kilometres west will take you back to the starting point in Melfort.

The trail gives a good mix of open country riding and bush. Cruising around on lakes is a welcome diversion by the Barrier Shelter. The Melfort area in general receives a healthy amount of snowfall every year so you and your buddies will have plenty of pow to dive into.

Highlights

Keep your eyes peeled while sledding Melfort—you may come face to face with creatures of all kinds. “There’s lots of wildlife,” said Armstrong. “There’s always a good chance of seeing a moose or a deer or an elk wandering around.”

You may feel a bit peckish if you don’t bring some food to roast at the Barrier Shelter. Don’t sweat it. The Naicam club has a trail that goes east to another lake with a restaurant. “People like that,” Armstrong said. “It’s a good link to continue riding.” 

The Melfort Trail Riders maintain trail 217A and set up appropriate signage.
The Melfort Trail Riders maintain trail 217A and set up appropriate signage. Photo courtesy Doug Armstrong

How to access it

Trail 217A is accessible off of Highway six on the south side of Melfort. “We always have a trailhead marker sign set up with a map and other information,” said Armstrong. There’s a place close by for parking, about a kilometre away, but you shouldn’t have an issue parking your truck. “We groom right into town,” he said, “That way you can get into the gas stations, restaurants and hotels.”

Snowmobiling in Melfort will be limited this year, but there’s still a solid amount of riding to be had by you and your crew.

Click the link to see the Melfort trail map.

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