CHIEF WHITECAP PARK TRAIL
The Meewasin Valley Authority just recently finished another section of trail that allows you to now hike or bike from the Circle South Bridge in Saskatoon to Chief Whitecap Park. The Chief Whitecap Park is located south of Saskatoon and is a nature area that allows visitors to explore the Saskatchewan River bank.
Whitecap Park is a popular place for people to bring their dogs and let them run offleash, so if you have a furry friend bring him along. Dogs should be onleash until you reach the park.
The newly completed trailhead can be found in Deifenbaker Park. There is a parking lot that overlooks the bridge and the river - this is the best place to start your journey.
The trail is a gravel path that follows the Saskatchewan River for about a kilometer before it turns towards Saskatchewan Crescent. I would recommend biking this trail instead of walking it to get to the Chief Whitecap Park faster.
There are a couple steep sections on the path with a blind corner so be careful on your bikes descending the hilly sections as there is a good chance that a person could be on the wrong side of the path.
The Chief Whitecap Park has two parts to its ecology. There is open prairie on the top of the valley and if you descend towards the river you will venture into the more wooden and bush area. Located on the north end of the park near the riverbank is a grove of manitoba maple trees. These trees create a spooky feeling when you walk through them with their sprawling branches reaching out above you.
The beaches are covered in perfectly smooth sand that are made for afternoon picnics laying in the sun. You can easily load up a backpack and head down to the riverside and enjoy a peaceful afternoon. I highly recommend planning your trip to have the energy and time to explore the park. You will often see large flocks of birds hanging out on the sandbars in the middle of the river. There are also many intersecting trails that you can follow depending on your mood. The place is a sandbox of discovery.
The park overlooks Yorath Island - a large sandbar created in the last 100 years from changes in the rivers flow. It is named after Christopher Yorath who designed the road layouts for Saskatoon. The island hosts some of the furthest north cottonwood forests in the world.
If you are comfortable on your bike you can find some fun on the trails that are along the valley - just keep your eyes open for people who are on foot. They could be around any corner!
In the winter the park is still worth a visit as you can overlook the massive ice dams that are created by the Saskatchewan River meeting shallow portions of the riverbed. Huge chunks of ice get forced up and make some interesting shapes.
If you own a kayak or canoe this is also a great place to launch and boat back into the city. I recommend placing a vehicle on both ends of your journey so you don't have to paddle against the current to get back to your vehicle.
This is a great trail to take if you have young kids and are looking for an afternoon outing. The trail is easy to walk or bike and it is not too long that you'll be carrying everyone home at the end of the day.
Bring a lunch and take a break on the beach and listen to the birds. You most likely will see cranes on the sandbars soaking in the sun.
Finding the trail is easy. Just head to Deifenbaker Park and drive your car to the parking area that overlooks the bridge and the river.
Park here and follow the path down to the river. You will see the trailhead and a structure to the south of the Circle Drive Bridge - follow the signs until you reach Chief Whitecap Park. From the bridge to the park is 3 km.
If you want to just explore Chief Whitecap Park follow Saskatchewan Crescent south towards the Riverside Golf and Country Club. You will see a small parking area and a sign that shows the entrance.
Difficutly - Easy
Distance -7km round trip
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