“Trails for Everyone” has become a bit of a catch phrase for mountain biking in Atlantic Canada and nowhere exemplifies this credo more than Truro, Nova Scotia.
a destination for a full spectrum of riders
Long having a history of mountain bike trails in Victoria Park, Truro has seen a surge of trail development in recent years. From early trail development, to the formalizing of The Railyard, to the addition of new jump lines in the park’s southeast, The Hub of Nova Scotia is becoming a destination for a full spectrum of riders.
Locals recognized a need for trails
Mountain biking was first introduced to the park roughly 20 years ago in the same fashion as many trails of the day – ‘informal’ community engagement. Locals recognized a need for trails and as was customary at the time, sought to create them. As this went on, the community engagement gradually came to involve the town itself. In 2017, resulting in large part from the hard work of volunteers and financial donations from the community, the Railyard Mountain Bike Park was opened as the trail network we enjoy today – complete with parking facilities, trail maps and ample signage to help you navigate your way.
Officially opened on July 5, 1888, Victoria Park is one of the oldest municipal parks in Nova Scotia. It was created to protect the unique natural features that make the park special. Covering 1200 hectares and rising nearly 100 meters from north to south, it’s home to deep ravines, waterfalls, unique geologic formations and an old growth forest of Eastern Hemlock.
Victoria Park’s majestic scenery is worth the visit – and only a stone’s throw from downtown
Winding from the reservoir through the center of the park is Lepper Brook which descends nearly 50 meters to the northern tip of the park. Carving its way through the geology, Lepper Brook has produced two scenic waterfalls, Joseph Howe and Waddell Falls. The brook has significant ecological value to the park supporting a variety of aquatic and riparian flora and fauna. Whether riding your bike or simply walking your dog, Victoria Park’s majestic scenery is worth the visit – and only a stone’s throw from downtown.
Built to modern standards, the Railyard Bike Park has been designed to provide riders of all abilities with an engaging mountain bike experience. From beginners to advanced, riders can enjoy the trails while advancing their skills to the next level through the progressive nature of the park’s terrain. With a wide range of trail difficulties, technical trail features, wooden structures, pump tracks, and dirt jumps, the park has been designed to allow riders to build their skills in a safe and incremental fashion.
technical trail features, wooden structures, pump tracks, and dirt jumps
To access the upper trails, park at William Barnhill Extension off Young Street. If you’re visiting with young children, drive just a little further and pull onto the Reservoir Trail to park right at the skills park. From there, you’ll have easy access to the pump track and dirt jumps as well as a host of kid-friendly trails including “The Pines”, “Satisfaction” and the aptly named, “Parent Trap”. When little riders tire of pushing pedals, there are a number of additional amenities to complement the trails. These include a swimming pool, skatepark, playgrounds, and various other green spaces lower down at the park’s north entrance off Brunswick Street.
If you’re visiting with your riding chums, Truro has you covered there, as well. With close to 40km of trails of varying difficulty complete with wall ride and newly completed jump features, Vic Park will leave you with a smile on your face and the desire to go back.
Adding further to the desirability of the Railyard is the emerging fatbike scene that has been growing in the park during the winter months. Shops have seen a huge increase in fatbike sales in the past few years and it shows with the profusion of riders throughout the trails on wide-tired machines. A trip through the park on any winter weekend will provide evidence of this growth with 4” tire treads laid liberally over the park’s snowy surface.
Following your ride, swing around the bend and you’ll find yourself smack dab in downtown Truro. With watering holes like the Nook and Cranny and the Engine Room Pub right around the corner, you’re covered for post ride beers and bites. Too knackered for post ride brews or have a long drive ahead? Jimolly’s Bakery Cafe is also a neighbourhood staple and ready to give you that recharge with a hit of espresso and your favourite sweet treat. Rounding out Truro’s offerings are both the Bike Monkey and Hub Cycle providing for all your gear and maintenance needs.
Having emerged from humble beginnings, The Railyard has developed into a high quality, four season mountain bike destination. From trails to pubs to shops, Truro has you covered on all fronts for a satisfying mountain bike experience. In fact, living up to the moniker of its home town, The Railyard at Victoria Park is proving itself to be a mountain bike hub for not only the residents of Nova Scotia but for Atlantic Canada as a whole.
Contributed by Chuck Sutton, Advisory Committee Member and Community Advocate for Mountain Bike Atlantic