Westlock is a sled-friendly town

A great network of easy trails

by Jessica Kirby

Westlock's Pembina Drift Busters stop for a rest on the Long Island Lake Trail's Main Loop.
Westlock's Pembina Drift Busters stop for a rest on the Long Island Lake Trail's Main Loop. Photo courtesy of Cliff Bromberger

Westlock, Alberta’s, Long Island Lake Trail boasts 150 kilometres of groomed bush trails that make for excellent family and novice riding. The Main Loop begins at the staging area on Highway 801 and circles north, connecting with two smaller loops—North Loop and West Loop. Scenic picnic areas and cozy warm-up shacks mean riders can spend a whole day cruising the countryside, but be prepared to relax—the winding, twisty trails through the trees are made for pacing, not racing.

Main Loop

Flat terrain with mild undulations makes this a nice, easy 40-kilometre cruise for families and novice riders. The trail passes through the trees on Crown land, and leads to a warm-up shack that is open to the public. There are a few meadows along the Main Loop that are good for some play time before seeking out the picnic area past Bolloque Lake for lunch.

North Loop

The North Loop crosses Main Loop at its north end and follows along near Francis Lake and Steele Lake, the latter of which is in Cross Lake Provincial Park. At its northernmost end, North Loop connects with the Trans Canada Trail. Riders will find a warm-up shelter and a picnic area on the trail, offering scenic forest and prairie views.

West Loop

From the staging area, cross Highway 801 to the west to reach West Loop, which runs about 30 kilometres. The trail heads around Bear Lake and to the Ducks Unlimited dam, and at its north end passes through a grazing reserve for some open flatland play areas. Watch for a picnic area with a firepit stocked with wood.

Driving directions: From Westlock head north on Highway 44 to the Dapp Corner Store. From there head straight north on Highway 801 for 15 kilometres, and the staging area is located on the east side of the highway.
Grooming Season: December to March.
Difficulty Level: Novice to relaxed intermediate.

Sled tip

Cliff Bromberger, president of the Pembina Drift Busters, said riders love visiting Westlock for its well-groomed forest trails and sledding-friendly community. Visitors should remember to watch for game on the trails, however, as Westlock gets a lot of snow and the animals use the groomed trails almost as much as the sledders.

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