For us, mountain biking is a family affair, so at least once every summer we head over to the Hinton Bike Park. It has so much to offer! Today, Jacob rides the jumps a few times while Madison tries out the skinnies, teeter totters and other challenges in the skills area. You can’t help but be impressed with the bike park’s design.
Moving on, we ride the single track Happy Creek Trail System where we split up to ride trails suited to our abilities. Jacob loves speed and technical challenges, while Madison likes to slow it down and take in the scenery. Last visit, we rode Jack’s Trail System, which starts on the other side of the Bike Park. We never get tired of this place!
If you love mountain biking and the outdoors, pack your gear and head to William A. Switzer Provincial Park, which is just 21 km (13 mi) northwest of Hinton on Hwy 40. It’s a real thrill to ride the classic single track at Athabasca Lookout Nordic Centre where triathletes train for the cycling part of their competitions.
There’s more than mountain biking to do here. We decided to spend a few days exploring the place. After we set up camp, we took the short hike to Athabasca Lookout. The panoramic view of the front ranges of the northern Rockies and the beautiful Solomon Valley will take your breath away.
Picking up a Family Adventure Pack at the Visitor Centre, we joined an interpreter for a guided hike that took us to more spectacular viewpoints. The wildflowers were in bloom and we were all on our bellies, taking dozens of close-up photos.
After a bbq supper at our campsite, we went to the amphitheatre for an entertaining and interesting presentation about wildlife in the park. We learned there are 30 different kinds of mammals here and more than 150 bird species. And it’s true that your chances of spotting animals like elk and mule deer are best at dusk. Just after sunset, we saw a doe and two youngsters come out of the forest to drink at the water’s edge.
The next morning, my brother arrived with his boat to take the kids water skiing at Jarvis Lake. Which left me lots of time to head for Jarvis Creek with my fly rod and catch a nice-sized brook trout. Tomorrow, we’ll rent a canoe and paddle the easy interpretive course that connects Blue Lake to Cache Lake. The family is keen to do the whole five-lake circuit. Maybe next time.