When you’re just getting started in a mushing sport it can be hard to find good trails for you and your dog to train on…so, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite Calgary pathways for a winter canicross run.
Let’s get to it!
1. Edworthy Park Pathway
Running along Memorial Drive, you can go as far or short as you like. I like to park around the Gas Plus around 32 St NW & Memorial Drive. During the day I’ll head west along the grassy corridor on the north side of the pathways, then back in the grassy median between the two paved pathways.
This is a great short training loop (it takes me around 25 minutes at a walking pace). I like it because there are always lots of other users we can practice our on-by commands around, but it gives us a lot of space to move away from distractions (for my more reactive dog).
At night, I’ll head east along Memorial Drive, go for miles if you want! I usually turn around across from the Horse Store (where Memorial and Kensington Drive meet). The light from the street is bright enough I don’t feel uncomfortable walking this one at night. The bike path is plowed in the winter, and last time I went, the walking path was as well. Together they make a good nighttime loop.
2. North Glenmore Park
I like going through the grass on this trail. I start at one of the lots just past the Canoe Club, walking through the grassy/snowy park. There is no “trail” here, but it is often well packed and easy to follow.
As a bonus, this is a great city option for skijor or kicksledding. The cross country trails are skier set, so no rules against dogs on the trail. And I haven’t had issues with off-leash dogs.
Again, this loop takes me around 30 minutes at a walking pace. To extend it you could cross the road, and go back along the plowed reservoir pathways (if you aren’t kicksledding of course!).
3. Twelve Mile Coulee
This is a good longer option, but bring some cleats with you in the winter – the pathway isn’t plowed (more ice than snow). I start on the Tuscany side, and walk as far as I want to go, typically I loop back through the neighbourhood to keep it interesting for the dogs (and me!).
4. Canmore Park / West Confederation Park
I usually canicross here (and it’s one of my favourite hot summer day trails), but it’s a good option for skijor as well. The Confederation Golf Course (on the east side of 19th St NW) has ski trails set in the winter, so you’ll often see lessons on the park side, or skier set track for people who just want to get out a little longer. You can extend you canicross run by going through the nearby neighbourhood. The park itself usually takes me 20 minutes to loop at a walking pace.
5. Griffith Woods
This is a lovely trail! It has some paved pathways, with a lot of dirt and woodchip paths to connect and make loops with. It is an on-leash area, but I find most dogs are off-leash. So, you might want to avoid this one if you have a reactive dog. When we have enough snow it can work for kicksledding as well.
This trail system will make you feel like you’re in Bragg Creek, without the drive. It’s a great summer trail as well, but can get busy on a hot summer day.
While there are many other trails that can be used in the winter, these are my favourites, and I hope they give you a few ideas to get out and enjoy some winter training.
I hope we’ll see you join us in the League, and I hope I’ll see you on the trail!