Yellowknife is blessed with a number of trails suitable for walking, biking, hiking and jogging. Travel at your own risk and carry water and bug dope and be prepared to see wildlife, including, occasionally, black bears. A good reference on the flora and fauna of this area is Blue Lake and Rocky Shore by Jamie Bastedo, available locally.
Several free maps and guides are also available through the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre. Happy Trails.
The Prospector’s Trail
This is a scenic (4 km) trek across a colourful patchwork of ancient rock. With a pocket guide from the Northern Frontier Visitor’s Centre, a good pair of rubber soled shoes (and some bug dope) you can interpret the forces that formed the geological region surrounding the city. A government Geological Survey team identified gold near here in 1935. Prospectors and miners soon arrived from the south by boat, raft and aircraft and set the scene for development of Yellowknife, a gold mining community for some 70 years. The trail starts and finishes in the Fred Henne Territorial Park. Interpretive brochures are available to highlight some of the geological features of the area. Due to highway construction in 2013, the trail may be closed.
Frame Lake Trail
The Frame Lake Trail (5 km) is an extended network of well maintained paved and graveled walkways and bike routes that circles the scenic lake, connecting downtown Yellowknife with the residential and commercial areas to the west. The network of trails also connects to the Bristol monument, Lakeview cemetery and Fred Henne Territorial Park. These nature trails are a daily route to work and an exercise path for Yellowknifers in all seasons. Interpretive brochures are available to highlight some of the geological features of the area.
Niven Lake Trail
The (2 km) Niven Lake Trail circles a small and productive lagoon which features some of the best bird watching in Yellowknife, as well as glimpses of muskrats and the occasional beaver. There is a variety of ground surfaces here, from muskeg, to forest to rock, and many scenic viewpoints with interpretive signage. You can connect to trails that will take you to the Yellowknife Ski Club, and to the historic Back Bay Cemetary.
Range Lake Trail
The 1 km Range Lake Trail connects to the Frame Lake trail system to include suburban Frame Lake South, a popular residential area. From the Frame Lake trail, take the exit at the hospital (the big red brick building at the opposite end of Frame Lake from the Visitor Centre), and head through the hospital parking lot toward the supermarket across the intersection of Old Airport Road and Range Lake Road. The starting point for the Range Lake trail is behind the Shell convenience store.
Tin Can Hill
A designated ‘off leash’ area for dog walkers, the Tin Can Hill provides a wonderful greenspace within the City of Yellowknife. The old roads mark a 1940s trail that connected Yellowknife’s Old Town with the Con Mine community and was once littered with garbage, hence the name ‘Tin Can Hill’. Old treasures may still be found by exploring the old trails. Motorized vehicles are not authorized in the Rat Lake-Tin Can Hill area during the summer months.
Ranney Hill Trail
Accessible by driving up the Vee Lake Road, this natural hiking trail (2.5 km) is a popular afternoon adventure. For the adventurous and sturdy climbers only, the summit of 75 foot Ranney Hill – an ancient volcanic plug – provides a spectacular view of the Yellowknife region. This trail is well traveled in the summer months only. The hike to the summit of Ranney Hill is unmarked but it is recommended you approach the climb from the south wall. You can also continue to follow the trail westerly to Martin Lake.
Big Hill Lake
Big Hill Lake is a hidden treasure of the Yellowknife area. Accessible by driving down the Ingraham Trail to Madeline Lake (25 kilometers east), with access and parking available on a rough pull out on the south side of the highway. The 6-kilometer round-trip hiking trail is well marked in the summer months only. It is a great destination for an overnight camping trip. No facilities are provided. Please contact Visitor Centre staff for more information on access.
Prelude Lake Trail
This scenic nature trail within the Prelude Lake Territorial Campground (30 kilometers east) is sure to expand your knowledge of the local flora and fauna. The 2.5 km loop provides gorgeous views of Prelude Lake and interpretive signing will explain everything you need to know about the north’s wildlife and vegetation.
Cameron Falls Trail
This 2 km round trip pathway to Cameron Falls on the Cameron River is accessible from the Ingraham Trail, 46 kilometers east of Yellowknife. The falls is a prime day trip destination with many beautiful views of the taiga landscape. Interpretive brochures are available to highlight some of the geological features of the area.
To The Yellowknife River Trail
There is a hiking and biking trail just off the Ingraham Trail, just past the Dettah turn off, up the hill on the left. This is not an official trail of any type and I don’t even know the name of it, but the entrance is marked and I’ve done the trek several times. It is an easy 80 minutes round trip if you don’t stop and enjoy the great view overlooking the Yellowknife River. Check this trail out at your own risk.
If you know of a great hiking trail around Yellowknife, and you don’t want to keep it a secret, let us know about it.