Our Recreation Strengths

Surrounded by forest and foothills, with Canada’s enticing Rocky Mountains as a back drop, our community offers a rich menu of indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities.

The Great Outdoors
“My favourite aspect of Hinton is the endless opportunities to explore, explore, explore.” So said one resident when asked what she liked about living here. Her words ring true for many who live in and visit our community. In the fair weather months, experiencing the great outdoors may mean mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hunting, birding, mountain climbing, camping, horseback riding or ATVing. In winter, the menu shifts to snowmobiling, skating, pond hockey, cross country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, dog sledding, ice climbing, ice fishing and luge.
"19 wilderness parks and provincial recreational and natural areas exist within a 100 km radius of Hinton." - Town of Hinton
“Hinton has become a year-round destination for mountain recreational activities ranging from dogsledding and snowshoeing to hunting, fishing and golfing.” - Five Great Lifestyle Communities Alberta Venture, June 2010
2.4 Our recreation Strengths
Where do locals and tourists go when they want to experience the great outdoors? Some of the most popular, nearby outdoor destinations include the following:

William A. Switzer Park, just 30 minutes north of Hinton, boasts more than 35 km of trails for hiking, biking and cross country skiing, as well as several campgrounds and picnic areas. The Friends of Switzer Park Cooperating Association supports education programs and events and has developed such park amenities as a visitor centre and a new interpretive

Brule Sand Dunes offer the challenge and beauty of three-story sand dunes in a desert environment backed by mountain views. Coal Branch Railway, one of western Canada’s original railways, carried coal from Cadomin and other mining towns. Visiting sites along its route provides a glimpse of the days when coal was king.

Hinton Nordic Centre, located at the south end of the Switzer Park is where Hinton Nordic Skiers groom 35 km of trails for skate and classic skiing. In summer, mountain bikers and hikers use the trails. The site also offers a rustic day lodge, a biathlon range and a natural luge track operated by the Hinton Luge Association.

Foothills Recreation Management Association invites public use of the West Fraser Forest Management Area which hosts 343 campsites in 15 campgrounds. There are eight trail systems, numerous day use areas and opportunities for mountain biking, horseback riding, off-highway recreation vehicles, hunting, fishing and cross - country skiing. Among the latter are the Spruce Management ski trails, with a total of 18 km of trails maintained by the Friends of Camp 29.
In-Town Recreational Opportunities
Residents also enjoy outdoor activities that are a bit closer to home. A staging point for trails in the area, Hinton features more than 25 km of multi-use trails that loop through lush forests past creeks and lakes to mountain viewpoints. A growing network of mountain bike options is attracting riders of all ages, from a novice bike park at Happy Creek to Alberta’s largest free access Mountain Bike Skills Park.

Numerous other parks and playgrounds dot the landscape, some created in partnership with neighbours, service clubs or corporate citizens. Similar parks and playgrounds can be found throughout the area in smaller communities, such as Brule.
Hinton Golf Club
Other outdoor facilities in or near Hinton and neighbouring communities include ball diamonds, soccer fields, tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, indoor and outdoor archery, a campground, a gun range and a stock car racing track. You’ll also find skateboarding and a paintball park and in winter, neighbourhood skating rinks, pond hockey and tobogganing.
Mountain Bike Park
“Recreation and parks hold potential few of us fully grasp, offering proven antidotes to many of Alberta‟s most troubling issues. Obesity. Diabetes. Isolation and community breakdown. Environmental decay. Rural exodus. In short, this field is an essential public service, alongside sewers, roads and hospitals. It is Alberta‟s best buy in public health.” Town of

Hinton Community - Development and Enhancement Plan Integrated Report, 2003
The town’s numerous programs include a summer Discovery Camp that exposes 6 to 12 year olds to white water rafting, hiking, swimming and other activities A Hinton Get Fit Walking Challenge has attracted more than two dozen teams, spurring 1,000-plus residents to up their activity level.

Of course, there’s more to recreation than outdoor activities. Town of Hinton recreation facilities are headlined by the newly renovated Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre, with two ice arenas, an indoor swimming pool, a skateboard park, racquetball and squash courts, a daycare centre, a youth centre, an arts and crafts room and the Hinton Municipal Library. Other indoor facilities include school gymnasiums, a curling rink, a bowling alley and several privately owned fitness centres.

In 2007, the Town of Hinton conducted a survey to assess the town’s recreational facility needs. This plan’s findings regarding recreation are based on the results of that survey as summarized in the Barr Ryder Report and on the community feedback gathered as part of this plan.

The Barr Ryder Report is available online.