Winter is all about having fun in the snow. Heading out for an afternoon of snowshoeing is a great way to make the most of the season. There are many great trails within the Waskasoo Parks in Red Deer and this loop is a great option for an afternoon on the trails with the kids. It follows some of the smaller trails kids love, includes plenty of open space for games and great spots for hot chocolate breaks along the way.

It’s a great option for all ages at any time of the day. If you’re looking for a longer outing you can easily explore the many side trails you’ll encounter along the way.

Some of the trails are unofficial trails and can be harder to find, especially after a fresh snowfall.

The area is not usually overly busy but the sound of Highway 2 is noticeable. The area has tracks set for cross country skiing. Make sure to step over the tracks to leave them set for skiers in the area.

Trail Guide

Trail conditions can change quickly. The map and directions below are based on our experience snowshoeing in the area throughout the winter. The multi-use trail is usually groomed for cross country skiing after each snowfall.

  • Activity: Snowshoeing
  • Distance: ~2.4 km return
  • Elevation Gain: ~30 m
  • Challenge Level: Easy
  • Family Friendly: Yes (not stroller or sled friendly)
  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Trail Conditions: Unofficial Trail – Good
  • Season: Winter
  • Congestion: Moderate, especially on weekends
  • Management: The City of Red Deer
  • Protection Status: Waskasoo Park
  • Trailhead: Heritage Ranch parking lot. Public washrooms.
  • Other Trail Uses: Fat biking, horseback riding, xc skiing
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
  • Permits / Restrictions: None
  • Cell Reception: Good
  • Alternate Descriptions: Larger paths are shown on city maps

Trailhead: The parking lot at Heritage Ranch can be accessed through the Westlake neighbourhood on Cronquist Drive and Webster Drive. Access is also available from the Visitor Information Centre and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame on Highway 2.

The Trails

Access | 0.2 km

    • Follow the path from the parking lot, crossing the pedestrian bridge overlooking the horse corrals.

Snowshoe Trail | 0.7 km

    • 0.2 km | At the intersection, follow the narrow trail into the trees before the cross country ski trail sign.
    • 0.5 km | At the bench, follow the trail into the forest on your right.
    • 0.6 km | Take the trail down the hill at the junction.
    • 0.7 km | Walk past the trails on the right into a clearing and turn left to toward a cutline.

Picnic Area | 0.2 km

    • 0.9 km | Make your way across to picnic area toward the pond.

Return Trail | 1.2 km

  • 1.1 km | Follow the trail past the washrooms, heading back toward the cross country ski trail.
  • 1.2 km | Bear right onto the cross country ski trail.
  • 1.3 km | Turn left where the two cross country ski trails meet.
  • 1.5 km | Watch for a narrow path heading into the forest about halfway up the hill.
  • 1.6 km | Go straight, staying at the top of the hill.
  • 1.9 km | Go straight, staying at the top of the hill. This the trail we walked earlier.
  • 2.0 km | Follow the cross country ski trail back to the trailhead.
  • 2.2 km | Go straight at the junction to end your hike at the Westlake Grill.
  • 2.4 km | Westlake Grill.

Access | 0.2 km

Start from the trail at the corner of the parking lot closest to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and the Visitor Information Centre. The trail heads up toward a pedestrian bridge overlooking the horse corrals. Follow the trail to the junction ahead, where the cross country ski trails start.

Snowshoe Trail | 0.7 km

At the junction, just before the cross country ski trail sign there is a smaller path heading into the forest on your right. Follow this trail as it stays close to the edge of the river valley, closely following the multi-purpose trail. The trail soon comes up to a bench along the main trail. Follow the trail into the forest and down toward the valley.

At the next junction, follow the trail on your right heading straight down the hill. Shortly after merging with another trail, the trail appears to take a sharp right. This trail heads toward the bridge over the Red Deer River and Great Chief Park. Go straight instead, walking into a small open area where you will see a trail heading into a cutline on your left. Follow this path to the picnic area.

Heritage Ranch Trails

Follow the path on the right

Heritage Ranch Trails

Snowshoe trail

Heritage Ranch Trails

Approaching the picnic area

Picnic Area | 0.2 km

The path comes out at the cross country ski trail. Cross the trail, being careful not to damage the groomed tracks, and head straight across toward the picnic area. There are washrooms available here, along with fire pits (you need to bring your own firewood if you are planning to have a fire) and tables. This is a great spot to play in the snow and enjoy a hot chocolate break before heading back on the trail.

Return Trail | 1.2 km

Follow the trail past the washrooms, heading back toward the cross country ski trail. At the ski trail, bear right and then left at the next junction. Follow the multi-purpose path along the field and up the hill. Part way up, watch for a narrow path heading into the forest on your left. Don’t worry if you miss it; just keep going along the cross country ski trail.

The trail takes you in the forest, along the top of the ridge and past some rudimentary shelters. Soon you’ll reconnect with the trail we used earlier. Follow it back to the multi-purpose path and from there head left toward the trailhead.

Head back directly to the parking lot by following your tracks across the bridge or follow the trail straight ahead to make your way back to the Westlake Grill for an apres-snowshoe.

Heritage Ranch Trails

Taking a break

Heritage Ranch Trails

Shelters along the trail

Outdoor safety

  • For your safety and the protection of the area please follow trail signs, stay on the trail and respect all trail closures.
  • Be respectful of wildlife and familiarize yourself with wildlife safety techniques including making plenty of noise, keeping your pet on a leash and keeping your group together.
  • Always be prepared when travelling outdoors.
  • This area has cell phone reception.
  • Information provided here may be inaccurate or outdated. Always make sure to obtain current trail information before going on your adventure.

Disclaimer

There are inherent risks in outdoor activities. Although we strive to provide accurate information and to alert you of potential dangers, trail conditions may change quickly due to weather conditions and other factors. Using the information provided on this site is entirely at your own risk and Pursuit Adventures is in no ways liable for any injuries or other damages that may be sustained by anyone using the trails or information described on this site.