Single track in the valley has been explored by many means over the years. Bikes, hiking, walking and even horseback have their places on the local trails. Today one of the most common ways of exploring new and old single track trails is through the sport of trail running. Trail running has mixed roots with some adopting it because running on roads and concrete have created unwanted impact. Others have moved to a slower paced sport from the break neck speeds of full on mountain biking, while others have adopted it for its fairly economic commitment.
Aside from good trail running footwear, a few key pieces of gear are needed for safe and fun trail running in the Rockies. Bear spray, a hydration pack or belt, and a good lightweight rain jacket top the list; with collapsible hiking poles as well as technical running shorts and shirt as secondary pieces for the more adventurous runners. For late fall and early spring runs, you may want to consider a small head lamp for visibility or in case of emergency.
Canmore has many different trails to explore with shared use, variable difficulty, and two-way traffic flow on most of them. Some of the classics for the advanced trail runner are the Highline trail or the New High Rockies trail on the back side of the South range behind Three Sisters and beyond. For the beginner, many river path trails and a huge network of variable trails exist at the Canmore Nordic Centre, which is also home to many trail running races for those seeking to make their adventure into a full blown race.
The best part about trail running single track in the Bow Valley is that it’s a year round activity. With so much fat bike and foot traffic on all the local trails, it makes for a fun winter activity and challenge. Having winter trail running shoes or slip-on shoe crampons definitely helps on the icy sections and a light weight pair of running snowshoes can still get you out after a good snow fall.
If you’re looking for a group of cool cats to run with and to learn more about trail running and the vibe here in the area, there is a group of fun, like-minded individuals that meet weekly to explore and play on the local single track. Find their group, Canmore Trail Culture, on Facebook and join them for a fun-filled evening. If you’re still a bit timid to try it, just know that this group offers variable speeds to accommodate all levels, as ex-Olympians and newbies show up to the runs regularly.
A quick tip to making your first trail running experience in the mountains a success is to consider walking up the hills and running when the terrain is flat or going down hill. After a few runs progress to running some of the shorter hills first and eventually run the entire trail.
Don’t forget to enjoy the view.