Quarry Lake Park - Phase 2

Quarry Lake Park - Phase 2

October 15, 2020

You may have seen a few weeks back that work started back up at Quarry Lake Park. Our trail crews have moved onto the second phase of the project that will see a multi-height drop zone, with a ride around, added to the existing network. More drop features are something many of our members have stated as a priority and we’re excited to be executing on it.

The new drop zone was part of the original Quarry Lake Park trails proposal that was approved by the Town of Canmore council back in 2017.
A special thanks goes out to Mark Ridgely and Shaun Jaimeson from Ridgely Construction for donating machines and operator time to help clear the area.

Background on QLP

We thought it would be useful to provide some of the background information about the QLP project. Back in 2017, Canmore Town Council approved a proposal to build a new network of trails in the Quarry Lake Park area that would be primarily utilized for mountain biking. The existing network in the region sees a large amount of traffic from bikers, runners, dog walkers, and other recreational user groups. Unfortunately, this network was built and grown “organically” without long term planning into how to link all of the undesignated trails in the region together safely. Elements such as proper sightlines and managing speed into trail intersections have never been considered for that area.

As a result, the vision for the project was to create a network primarily for mountain bikers that would minimize crossings with the existing network in order to reduce the potential for conflict.

The project is broken down into multiple phases:

  • Phase 1: Provide a new path connecting the Peaks of Grassi to the Quarry Lake parking lot
  • Phase 2: Construct a drop zone located near the top of the main connector trail
  • Phase 3: Build multiple loops off of the main trail

Phase 1 was mostly completed at the end of 2019 providing a connection from Peaks of Grassi to the existing network and onto the Quarry Lake parking lot. Phase 2 started at the beginning of October 2020 and is currently underway. Phase 3 is in the design stage and a start date has yet to be finalized.

Reducing Conflict Potential

As mentioned previously, one of the motivations for the new trail system is to provide a mountain biking specific path through the area in order to reduce conflict with dog walkers, hikers, runners, and other trail users. Since the beginning of the Summer of 2020, CAMBA installed trail counters on the QLP connector trail to measure traffic along the new path. What the data shows is that the trail sees a lot of use with an average of 150 riders daily at the peak of the season. This traffic is comparable to some of the busiest trails at the Nordic Centre, the undisputed busiest mountain biking area in Canmore, which is a strong indicator that mountain bikers for the most part are sticking to the new trail.

Unfortunately, due to the high density of trails in the network, as well as constraints such as undermining in that area, crossing the existing network is unavoidable. To mitigate conflict at the crossings, signage will be installed that will inform all users of the trail to beware for oncoming traffic. Additionally, we’ll be improving sightlines at these intersections to ensure that all users have a clear view and plenty of warning of oncoming traffic.

The New Drop Zone

The new drop trail is located directly off of the Peaks of Grassi entry of the existing connector trail. This new trail includes some bermed corners that lead riders into a multi height set of wooden drop features with a ride-around. The trail then continues down into the forest and rejoins the Town of Canmore sealed path.

Progressive drops at 1, 2, and 3 feet
Progressive drops at 1, 2, and 3 feet

Drop zone area with ride around
Drop zone area with ride around

The drops are approximately 1 ft, 2 ft, and 3 ft high and are designed to provide a challenge, and progression, to a wide range of riders. Drop zones are a trend we’ve seen become very popular in other areas and is something that doesn’t exist in Canmore, at least not officially. A point of feedback that we often hear from our members is that Canmore lacks these types of features that allow riders to work on technical skills like drops. We’re excited to be working on this phase of the project that we believe will fulfill a need for many of our members.

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer for the Quarry Lake Park project next season, please send us an email at volunteer@camba.ca.