Get somewhere in Fort Qu’Appelle

A family-friendly network of trails around Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, gives sledders plenty to explore all winter long

by Kristen Mitchell

A large group of sleds gather around a cabin, seen from above.
An annual Calling Lake Cruisers event draws sledders for a day of fun on the trails. Photo courtesy John McNally

Only an hour from Regina, tucked between Mission and Echo lakes, is Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan. Once the snow flies this scenic town becomes a fun area for sledders to explore with over 300 kilometres of trail connecting a number of communities in the region.

Local snowmobile club, the Calling Lake Cruisers, maintains Fort Qu’Appelle’s well-signed and regularly groomed trails.

“It’s pretty scenic here—we have lots of valley, lots of lakes,” said John McNally, vice-president with the Calling Lake Cruisers. “We have four lakes that we cross and they’re probably about 30 or 40 kilometres in length. There’s lots of really nice scenic stuff throughout the valley.”

There are four warm-up shelters on the trail system, all of which have generators, barbecues and stereos. They’re open to the public and, as with many trail networks in the province, a Saskatchewan snowmobile registration functions as a trail pass. Maps can be found at trail intersections and cabins.

The Calling Lake Cruisers club promotes family riding and all of its trails are family friendly. The club also holds a number of family days each year when kids can visit the warm-up shacks with their parents for free hotdogs and drinks. Club memberships are only $50 per family.

Some of the most popular trails can be found around Spanco’s shelter, said McNally, with the area from Dysart to Pasqua Lake offering some of the best scenery.

And what, you may ask, is the snow like?

“Usually we have more than average—we’re lucky because we have the lake,” said McNally. “We’re never kind of in a downtime—we can always get somewhere.”

What's the buzz?

"When you're riding on the lakes you have to make sure (to check the conditions)," said John McNally. "We always mark for thin ice because we have to test it with augers, so just to watch for signs about the ice. We’ll tell you on the trailheads to the lake whether you can ride or not."

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