Blackstrap Provincial Park

Background: Blackstrap Provincial Park is a landmark in southern Saskatchewan thanks to the unusually large hill that emerges from the top of the valley and towers high over the prairies. The hill, appropriately titled Mount Blackstrap, is man-made and provides downhill skiers one of a few areas to ski in the province. The hill overlooks Blackstrap Lake and was created to provide a venue for some events at the 1971 Canada Winter Games. The park is 530 hectares and has Nordic ski trails extending from the bottom of the ski hill near the chalet. The area has been home to many mountain bike races in recent years. Trails are very well marked and provide "Level of Difficulty" classifications.

The area offers rolling single and double track that are straight-forward with the only difficult sections being on some single track area. The double track twists and turns through aspen groves and dense brush until finally re-emerging at the ski lodge area. From here, riders can follow the back route up and behind the hill, and ride across open grasslands before descending to the bottom. The fast and exciting ride down is overshadowed by an ascent that is sure to challenge the most avid climber. The climb up Mount Blackstrap is done by climbing from platform to platform, until you finally wind your way behind the hill and attempt the final steep ascent to the top. From there, it's all downhill. Be careful on the way down because it is very drawn out and fast. Ride in control and within your ability!

Blackstrap also offers riding outside the ski area that is very straight forward and consists primarily of asphalt or gravel pathways along the lakefront. These areas are ideal for riders who want an easy day on the bike enjoying the scenery and lake activities. The area also offers excellent camping and recreational facilities

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced - The single and double track areas are straightforward and free of difficult sections. The main concern in the area is descending Mount Blackstrap. Grasses on the hill can cover small holes that can be dangerous if encountered at high speeds. Always ride within your ability and do not take foolish chances. When in doubt, get off your bike and walk down.

Directions: Blackstrap Provincial Park is located 32 kilometers south of Saskatoon via Highway 11, and 8 kilometers east of Dundurn via Highway 211.

What to Bring: Tire punctures are the most common breakdown at many of the races at Blackstrap, so pack spare inner tubes and take all your tools Temperatures can sometimes play tricks as cold winds blow off the lake. In the spring, when ice remains on the lake, the coolness can sometimes last throughout the day. Be sure to bring the appropriate clothing. The nearest store is in the Town of Dundurn, about 10 kilometers away. If you plan a full day at Blackstrap Provincial Park, make sure you have all the food and fluids you need.