On the north and south shore of Lesser Slave Lake, there are trails for non-motorized recreational use. These are set up for hiking, some cycling, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
A bit of digging revealed a tourism map on the M.D. of Lesser Slave River’s website, which marked the general area of most of these. There is a short FireSmart information trail by the Visitor Information Centre (VIC); this is not on the map.
On the south shore, Nine Mile Creek Recreation Area is 10 km divided into five loops. East of the lake, which is commonly referred to as the north shore, Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park has some trails.
The park is accessible from Slave Lake off Hwy. 88 or on foot or bike on the Allarie Trails.
Ceiridewen Robbins is the visitor services coordinator at the provincial park.
There are six trails in the park, she says, but Whispering Sands is the southern end of the portion of the park’s Great Trail (see article on Page 15 and below).
The park trails are in two basic sections. The one centres around the lake shore and Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation. The others start at the Marten Mountain Viewpoint.
The Songbird Trail is a 0.6 km loop by the Boreal Centre. Last winter, this was used for the Alberta North Arctic Winter Games snowshoe tryouts.
The Great Trail is also very close to the centre.
The Alberta government has ordered the Boreal Centre to close for the winter, but various groups and individuals are advocating for it to stay open year round. If it remains open, people will likely be able to borrow free snowshoes and cross country skis on certain days.
Marten Mountain Viewpoint is further north in the park. Turn off Hwy 88 onto a gravel road with a sign for Marte Mountain Fire Tower and Lily Lake Trail. The map on the parks’ website has the gravel road before, which is very rough, and may not connect with the viewpoint.
There are two short trails and Lily Lake Trail. This is a hiking trail in the hills. The others are relatively flat. Lily Lake Trail is 2.8 km in the Marten Hills. It ends at Lily Lake, which is stocked with rainbow trout.
Sections of the trails can be very muddy, so proper hiking shoes are recommended. Also, Lily Lake Trail has some steep hills. The other trails are flatter. Bears are also something to consider.
In the winter, these are set up for walking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. Horses and off-highway vehicles (OHVs) are not allowed. A map of these trails is available on the Provincial Park’s website.
The staging area for Nine Mile Creek Recreation Area on the south shore has a large map of this trail system. There are also maps at each junction. The entrance is off of Hwy 2 across from Widewater.
“I’m kind of the trail boss,” says Evan Baranyk. In the winter, the trail is groomed each Friday for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Many people walk their dogs on it, but it’s a bit wet for cycling. Horses are allowed, but not OHVs.
The short FireSmart trail by the VIC is just east of Slave Lake on Hwy 2. This area was burned in the 2011 Slave Lake Fire and reclaimed using FireSmart principles. The trail includes signs about FireSmart. ristened last year.