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16. The Kettle River Heritage Trail

Moderate Difficulty - 17 km one way - Time 1 1/2 hour cycling - Crushed gravel trail and single track

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Perhaps no other trail best epitomizes the vision and dedication of the trails society than this one.  In 2001 when the Terasen natural gas pipeline was installed a crushed gravel surface was laid down on most of it.  Since then three trestles have been decked and re-decked.  And since 2011 the society has advocated for the paving of the entire trail to create a commuter-friendly corridor that would connect Grand Forks and Christina Lake with people-powered transportation.  It would also allow citizens and visitors of all abilities to bike through two new provincial parks and enjoy the scenery and beaches along the way.

You can start this trail at either end, but perhaps the easiest thing to do is to load your bikes and drive 18 km east on Highway 3 to the Cascade Trestle parking area located just before the Highway 395 turnoff. Pull carefully off the highway and drive down a badly rutted road to a wide parking area.  Here there are picnic tables and an outhouse.  Take the time to stroll across the trestle, renamed the Canadian Railway Workers Trestle by the military when they decked the trestle in 2003.   The Cascade Gorge is a breath taking waterway and attracts thousands of viewers throughout the year.  When you are ready, get on your bike and begin to travel west.  You will pass through three gates that provide security for adjacent land owners from motorized vehicles.  After that you will be riding in the new Gilpin Grasslands Provincial Park along the shores of the Kettle River.  After passing close by new homes on the south side of the trail you will pass by the area known as Mehmal Beach.  This area will be fenced even though the actual beach is actually on public property. On the other side of the river you will pass the Doukhobour settlement of Gilpin. Just past this you will come to another public beach area with riverside trails.  It is worthwhile to park the bike and wander down to the river and along the riverside trails because you will find yet another sandy beach just a km away upstream.  When you get back on your bike it is less than 2 km to the entrance to another new provincial park, Boothman’s Oxbow.  This park is famous for its birding and wildlife and it’s worth your time to bike or stroll down into the wetlands just to listen to the bird song.  Parts of this park are being replanted to replace the domestic grasses with the indigenous plants of the grasslands.  After 3 more km you will arrive at the Nursery trestle, renamed the Munro Trestle by the Canadian Military Engineers in honor of a long-serving local soldier.  There are beaches on either side of the trestle.  If you like that sort of thing there is a good jumping platform and rope swing into a deep pool of the Kettle River.  There are picnic tables, information kiosk and an outhouse.  There is also good parking on either side of the trestle if you want to pack up your bike.  If not, it is just another 1.7 km on the paved WaterFront Trail to 68th Avenue and downtown Grand Forks.