New trail network boasts great views — and a lot of elevation

More than seven kilometres of multi-use trails have opened along the North Saskatchewan River north of Langham in the last year.

River Ridge Trails celebrated a soft opening in November and has been expanding ever since. Already there are plans to add another four kilometres to the network.

“It’s right on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River in the valley so there’s a lot of good elevation in that park to utilize for trails,” says lead trail developer Craig de Gier. “It’s the kind of place where you can bring your family and do a lot of activities together or, if you need to split off, you can do that too and it’s quite enjoyable.”

The park where River Ridge Trails now sits was once a nine-hole golf course, but the land sat idle for years before the Langham Town Council began exploring the idea of putting in mountain bike trails. De Gier did a feasibility assessment for the town and told them it was a prime spot for multi-use trails that could welcome runners, dog walkers and hikers as well.

The town agreed and a volunteer governance board formed to oversee the project, breaking ground on the trails in September 2020. The project is expected to cost $300,000 to complete and has received support from government grants and private donations.

“In COVID times I think people have really started to value these outdoor spaces,” de Gier says.

A view from River Ridge Trails.

Most trails are single-track, but some are extra wide to accommodate adaptive mountain bikes.

“The biggest difference you’ll find running out in River Ridge versus Saskatoon is the amount of elevation,” de Gier says. “From the level of the river to the upper part of the park we have almost 45 meters of elevation that the trails cover. We have some trails that are the better part of a kilometer long that are predominantly uphill or downhill the entire way.”

The trail network has already played host to a mountain bike competition and de Gier and the board would love to see trail racing happen there eventually.

When the snow falls, trails will be groomed for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking and hiking. There will also be access to some pretty impressive toboggan hills.

You can find more information about River Ridge Trails online and check them out in person by heading out just north of Langham off Range Road 3074 (roughly 40 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon).