Prairie Link - TRAIL

Prairie Link - Trail, Rocky View No. 44, Alberta

A fun quick loop with a bit of everything...fireroads, singletrack, some good climbs, fast descents, scenery and roaming cattle.

Start at the Powderface parking area off Highway 66. Trail starts with a steep uphill and climbs on fireroad for a while before descending to follow doubletrack parallel to Powderface Creek. Gradual uphill riding brings you to a junction for Prairie Link. If you keep on straight, this is the longer Powderface Creek/Prairie Creek loop.

Hang a right and you're on Prairie Link. A good climb up through a lodgepole pine forest brings you to a fast doubletrack downhill, great fast turns, just watch out for the many deep runoff ruts. A creek crossing at the bottom brings you to the Prairie Link/Prairie Creek junction (if you'd done the longer loop you'd be coming from the Prairie Creek trail on your left).

Hang a right, now you're on Prairie Creek trail and enjoy a few kilometers of rolling singletrack, a few short climbs and descents. Eventually there is a fine grunt of a climb up from the creek, then a long, flowy, fast section of singletrack with the steep slope to your right dropping down to the creek. A final steep downhill with one technical rock ledge to negotiate brings you back down to creek level. From there it's flat singletrack back to Highway 66. The parking area where you started is 200 m to the right.

This can be a busy trail so watch for other riders but also hikers. And cattle.

User Reviews (1)

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Ecogeek   Cross Country Rider [Aug 16, 2010]

First, I am not surprised there are no other reviews.
I know this trail as Powderface/Prairie (Short Version) or "Powderface Creek/Prairie Link/Prairie Creek" to be more specific.
This is a nice trail for those building their skills and without a lot of stamina yet.
Climb slowly (pace yourself) for 3.something km to an obvious junction in a meadow w a sign and head right. Climb some more. Again go slow whenever possible to rest and you can clean the whole thing.
Then you get a decent short downhill to link up w Prairie Creek (head right when you meet it). You actually get more of Prairie Creek than you might expect. That is a good thing.
There are a couple of sudden random ditches that you should be wary of the first time you ride this. Plenty of mud-holes after wet weather too. Like right now.
It swoops its way back to 66 with a couple of short and steep and loose climbs to train you up. Hit 'em hard and go slow to rest between them. You'll probably surprise yourself and climb them all. Slow to a crawl once you're past the tough bits and rest as much as pos ready for the next bit. Repeat. You do not have to be a v good climber to clean this trail. Mildly fit, the right bike set-up, back tire, and some attitude will get you through.
After the final (and longest/hardest) climb (left hand bend then up loose stuff to a narrow rocky 'summit' with the river down to your right), there is a sudden drop. Ridable by anyone! Get right behind the seat and get off the front brake as you drop down it. Then away you go. There is one last obstacle to test you. As you come around a left-hand corner with a sign on the cliff saying caution, you should slow down!
Good riders will fly off this at speed. Noobs had better think twice.

The rest is easy, but rooty in places. Just remember to FLY at the final swoop back up to the highway at top speed, then stand and pedal like hell so you don't stall at the final hurdle. You can do it!

This has most of the fun of Powderface/Prairie proper, but without the gnarly climbing. I reckon you are better riding the short loop twice than the long one once.
Nice short ride. Takes under 1h clean. Can be busy.

Customer Service

Do it clockwise you fool!

Similar Products Used: Powderface/Prairie full loop starts at same place for a MUCH sterner climbing test with some more technical DH just after the pass too.
Once you clean the short version, it is time to find out why you didn't do the long version yet. Do it and find out! You'll hate it at the time, but you'll be ashamed to find out that cleaning the short version was really nothing at all!
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