So this past weekend I made my first attempt ever at trail running. I usually stick to running in the city for my training runs and have always wanted to venture out into the mountains and start adding more elevation to my workouts.
I decided to run the Grassi Lakes trail (which I have hiked before) and the Troll Falls trail (a brand new trail for me). Both are fairly easy hikes and I thought they would be great starting points for a beginning trail runner such as myself.
I did take some video throughout the day as I wanted to share with all my runner friends just how beautiful Alberta is. If you haven’t guess already I just LOVE running and hiking here – I really do think we have some of the nicest trails in Canada.
…Anyway my first attempt at being a videographer was an epic fail haha. For starters I should have filmed with my iphone sideways for a better picture, the audio is a bit off, and some parts are pretty shaky. I think that if I want to start doing more vlogging or video reviews of my trail adventures I would probably be best to invest in a GoPro.
I have still posted the video below for anyone who is interested but please go easy on me – it’s not quite the quality I would usually be happy sharing lol Also, if you’re prone to motion sickness some of the clips are shaky – you have been warned!
Overall, I loved my first trail running experience. It was so exhilarating running through the woods and getting to see the gorgeous mountain views after the ascent. I did notice though that my pace was much slower than normal. I guess I can account that to the constant worry that I was going to trip over a rock or branch on the ground and roll an ankle. For the more experienced trail runners – Does that feeling ever go away? haha I assume that the more I run on uneven surfaces the more comfortable I will get…? Either way I think this is going to be a new addiction of mine and I don’t think running on the pavement will ever been the same…
Here is a little more information on each of these trails if you are curious or find yourself in the Kananaskis area sometime..
Grassi Lakes – Canmore
This trail has it all – lush forests, spectacular mountain vistas, and a waterfall eventually leading up to a vibrant turquoise lake. Grassi Lakes is a great trail for families and offers two different routes: an easy route up a gravel access road with gradual rising slope or a more difficult route that takes you through a wooded trail out to the stunning waterfall before a steep climb to the lake. If you do plan on hiking or running this trail make sure to arrive early in the morning – this is a very popular trail and will get quite crowded on a sunny summer day.
Getting There: The trail-head begins on Spray lakes Road which is about 2 km past the Nordic Centre. Take a left turn when you see the sign for Grassi Lakes. The parking area is down the gravel a little ways on your right. Parking is available but the lot is pretty small so be prepared to park on side of the gravel road and have to walk a km or two on busy summer days.
Distance: 3 mi (return)
Elevation Gain: 300 m
Troll Falls – Kananaskis
Compared to Grassi Lakes this trail did lack a bit in scenery but was still a pleasant run through some lush green forests ending at a gorgeous waterfall. Troll Falls trail is part of a network of different cross country ski trails which double as hiking trails in the summer. It’s an easy trail with only a little elevation gain, making it a popular spot of hikers and runners alike.
Getting There: Troll Falls is located in Kananaskis Country near the base of the Nakiska ski resort. From Hwy 1, head south on Hwy 40 for about 25 km. Turn right at the Kananaskis Village turnoff. Head past the village towards Nakiska and watch for the Stoney Trails sign. Take the first right onto the gravel road that leads to the Stoney Day use parking area. At the end of the parking lot towards the large power lines look for the Stoney Trail head sign where the trail leads into the forest on the left.
Distance: Approx 2 miles (return). Note: there are a few different trail options once you reach Troll Falls to return on that can extend your mileage.
Elevation Gain: 100 m
Have you done much trail running in the Banff/Canmore/Kananaskis area? If so, what are your favorite trails? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!