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The Great Trail (TransCanada Trail) in Central Alberta

The Great Trail logoConnected but not completed
Trans Canada Trail logoAlthough, as of August 26, 2017,  The Great Trail is now considered to be connected across the country, it is not in some areas completed. Nationally, the trail is about 93% completed but in Central Alberta, it is closer to 40% so there's still lots of work to be done.

Most urban communities along the trail in Central Alberta have their sections of The Great Trail completed, including Red Deer, Blackfalds, Lacombe, Ponoka, Penhold and Innisfail.

The Great Trail Olds to PonokaThe map to the right shows the Great Trail as connected in the region but most of the rural sections are roadways.

The maps on the left show the sections in orange that are still on roadways.

Once completed, all sections will be off-road although some portions may be parallel to a roadway but physically separated from it.

North of Red Deer, the most significant rural connection completed is between the Blindman River north of Red Deer through Blackfalds to Lacombe in Lacombe County.

Blindman River to Blackfalds to Lacombe trailLacombe County (with some funding from TCT and Alberta TrailNet and assistance from the military reserves)  completed the Blindman River Bridge in 2010 as well as a trail from the bridge to Blackfalds.

A 8-km trail linking Blackfalds and Lacombe was completed in 2012 and officially opened in 2013 (see map). The final section from Lacombe to the Ponoka County boundary is expected to be completed in 2018. All sections completed in Lacombe County to date are paved and designed for bicycle and pedestrian use.

Ponoka County has completed a gravel section of Trans Canada Trail between Ponoka and the Lacombe County boundary, portions of which are designed for equestrian use as well as bicycle and pedestrian.

The temporary link between Red Deer and the Blindman River is the quiet local C&E Trail roadway. As the city develops to the north, this link will be at least partially relocated.

South of Red Deer, a short section of paved trail was built in a natural area south of the hamlet of Springbrook in Red Deer County in 2011. This will eventually form part of the off-road connection between Red Deer and Penhold.

Currently the connection is along the shoulder of the busy Highway 2A and this is a high priority to be remedied. Eventually, there will likely be two trails connecting these communities -- a commuter trail parallel to but separated from Highway 2A and a recreational trail west of the railway line through the hamlet of Springbrook.

Three options have been identified for a future trail south of Penhold to Innisfail, one of which is also parallel to but separated from Highway 2A. Another option uses the historic Calgary and Edmonton Trail which is now a major rural road but was once the main highway between Innisfail and Red Deer.

South of Innisfail, the trail will eventually link with Bowden and Olds. From Olds, the trail will head east to link with a future rail trail between Wimborne and Airdrie.

TCT Pavilion at Bower Ponds Red DeerThe TransCanada Trail Pavilion

The Trans Canada Trail pavilion in Red Deer was erected and dedicated in 2005 at Bower Ponds near Cronquist House.

In the fall of 2017, the pavilion is expected to undergo a refurbishment similar to the rendering at right.

City of Red Deer

The trail extends along the Red Deer River in each direction, much of it within the excellent Waskasoo Park trail system.


TransCanada Trail in Red DeerTo the northeast, it goes to Taylor Drive and north to the city limits, extending into Red Deer County along the C & E Trail to the Blindman River where a new pedestrian bridge was built in 2010.
To the southwest, the trail heads from Bower Ponds along Great Chief Park and west past Red Deer Golf & Country Club to the pedestrian bridge across the Red Deer River.
From there it heads east through Heritage Ranch, along the river in a northeasterly direction to the reconditioned former CPR bridge across the river and north to 67 St. where it again crosses the river.
From there it heads south to the Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary, along the river to Piper Creek.
From there it heads south past the Arena and Curling Club to Rotary Park and on to Kin Kanyon past Bower Mall to Westerner Park and the city limits.

Once the route of the Great Trail from Red Deer to Penhold is finalized, it will link up with the trail already built to the southern city limits.

Other Urban Trails in Central Alberta that are part of the Great Trail


Town of Ponoka City of Lacombe Town of Blackfalds
The Great Trail in Ponoka The Great Trail in Lacombe The Great Trail in Blackfalds to Blindman

Pedestrian bridge over Battle River built in 2010. Gravel trail south towards Ponoka County boundary

Paved trail links with Blackfalds to the south. Connection north to Ponoka expected in 2018

Paved trail north to Lacombe and south to Blindman River bridge. Only indoor section of Great Trail at Abbey Centre

Town of Penhold Town of Innisfail Town of Olds
The Great Trail in Penhold The Great Trail in Innisfail The Great Trail in Olds

Temporary rural connections north and south on Highway 2A. Built trails in town further east

Temporary rural connections north and south on existing roadways.

Temporary rural connections north, south and east on Highways 2A and 56.

For further trail development in urban centres, go to Urban Trails


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TransCanada Trail in Central Alberta
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