You are here:

Cypress Hills Trail Plan and Development

2016 – ongoing | Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park, Medicine Hat, AB

McElhanney has been engaged in trail-based projects in the Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park (CHIPP) since 2016.  

These projects included a trail design plan, aimed at making CHIPP a regional and provincial destination for mountain biking. McElhanney identified key areas for CHIPP to meet its goals, and findings included connecting the existing and proposed trail system to the campgrounds and park’s infrastructure to reduce reliance on vehicles. Revitalizing the ski hill by adding summer lift access bike park trails was also identified as an important step in attracting tourists. 

Additional projects included an equestrian and cross-country ski trail master plan to consolidate resources within a united network, as well as several phases of construction of multi-use trails and mountain bike specific trails within the park.  

Prior to the trail planning process, Cypress Hills was plagued by a lack of funding and a lack of good quality trails. Their ad-hoc trail development approach treated each trail as a stand-alone product; consequently, progression and a variety of user experience (from family-friendly to expert) were not being provided. The trail planning process unified these visions and placed the correct trails in the correct locations for the correct user groups. The trail planning process also enabled government officials to share in the vision and secure ongoing funding and approvals to complete the plan. 

The trail networks proposed in these plans have now mostly come to life and feature exceptional experiences for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders.

Learn more about the mountain biking in and around Medicine Hat, AB, from the local 670 Collective Mountain Bike Club.


McElhanney provided:

  • Trail design plan 
    • Trail mapping for the park, showing both existing trails and proposed future trails 
    • Stakeholder and public engagement 
    • Identification of major origins and destinations for trail trips 
    • Analysis of existing network, and a list of concerns and solutions 
    • Guidelines for the maintenance, policies and programs to manage and support the trail infrastructure, summary of potential liabilities 
    • Planning-level cost estimates for trails and lift upgrades 
  • Following the success of the trail plan, McElhanney completed a trail masterplan for equestrian and cross-country ski trails and flagged out phase 1 of the MTB trails 
  • Detailed design (including trail flagging), procurement services, construction inspection and management, of 30km of trail including the campground trails and the complete bike park and pump track 
  • Manage Environmental Review (sub consultant)  
Cypress Hills, Medicine Hat