McIntosh Run, favourite route?

Hi folks, finally home to NS for a visit with my bike - wanting to check out McIntosh Run and wonder about favorite routes to hit all the best parts!

What are the “must-hit” trails?

Which trailhead / parking is your preferred starting point?

Looking to go out late afternoon for 10-15kms as daylight allows.

It might be good to share your skill level and trail type preferences. McIntosh Run and the unofficial Fight Trail area have a full mix from smooth flow to steep and technical. The Norrawarren trailhead accesses smoother terrain through the woods and has a fun downhill line with berms and optional jumps called Granitude. The Hartlen Park trailhead starts with a very smooth flow climb to access the intermediate and expert granite trails. This also accesses the unmanaged Fight Trail area which is more expert technical terrain. Flat Lake and Duck N’Run join the two areas.
You could do 15k of fun flow from Norrawarren and not miss any trails. Or you want 15k of hardcore tech on the granite start at the Osprey trailhead and do the Time trails and then head into Fight Trail and hit Gords Gold.

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Fair point! Skill level is advanced, happy to roll some steep & techy chonk.

Thanks for the overview!

For the chunkiest terrain I’d probably park at the cul-de-sac at Osprey and rid it to the Attic counter clockwise to Time Flies. Ride Time Flies clockwise and continue on Time Out. You may want to ride up and down Wrinkle in between the two Time trails. It has some fun drops and the big granite roll down at the bottom. At the end of Time out take Schnitzel counter clockwise back to the Attic counter clockwise and ride it all the way to the start of the Flat Lake trail. Peel off onto the unmanaged Flat Lake Loop right away and take it to Gords Gold. At the bottom I’d recommend taking Flat Lake back up and doing the full Flat Lake Loop around clockwise and returning on the Flat Lake trail. That would give you about 10-12ish kilometres of tech chunk.


If you want more, you could add in SSS in the middle of the lake loop but I haven’t been back there lately. It can get overgrown. You could also do the Time trails backwards for an additional challenge.


I usually switch up my route. If i only have a hour i will
Option A start at hartlen park go in through clark kent to divide to in out to the cul de sac. Osprey to and then baci the way i came…

Option B is park at nora warren ride up to herring cove road heading back towards the rotary the onto sara drive. This will get you onto orange jelly to granitude, at the bottom take the rightt trail at pizza corner onto west pine… stay on west pine climbing out you will hit nora then warren. Stay left onto joe cracker and whicu will dump you at in out and then the trail head…

15km option for route b. Instead of going right at pizza corner go straight across the bridge into duck n run… if you stay on it you will eventually come to flat lake. At that point turn back

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I’d love to see trail systems post gps files along the lines of “expert rider who wants to see everything with no time limit” to “noob who wants an introduction to the trail network”

It took me forever to piece everything together at the Railyard.


Depending on the region, the Routes feature on Trailforks is good for this. Does not seem so useful for NS though at the moment.

The few times I tried that at the Railyard it was an absolute failure. None of the trails in the ‘route’ were connected, it missed entire sections. Just garbage. This was a few years ago, but I’d never give it another shot after that mess.

I’ve had decent luck with it on the west coast, but I’m not too surprised by that.

Thats actually a pretty sick idea.

Imagine bar codes with multiple gpx files for different routes.

So much scanning, so much uploading, so much tech.

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Yeah I was thinking qr codes on the signs at the trailhead. It occurred to me last time that I was at the Railyard and saw a group of cyclists from Vermont staring blankly at the map trying to make sense of it.

There’s got to be a way to hit everything on our trails here without a lot of overlap and backtracking.

I laid out and then we completed a route of McRun that hit every trail at the time with minimal backtracking and repeats. Was about 40 kms a few years ago, would be more now.


My favourite type of route way-finding is similar to this, but with signs. Went to a little trail network in Pembroke or Petewawa Map at the trail head had 4 routes marked out with different colours. Red was hardest and longest, so all you had to do was follow the red arrows. Wanted easier, just switch colours mid ride. Wanted the quickest way out, follow the exit signs. It was brilliant, yet so rare to find in trail systems.

My Garmin is absolute shit at off-road navigation on a route.


I wouldn’t think that would be so hard if multiple riders/groups worked together. Ride/Record/download (if already available) the routes. Use the the existing scheme or decide on a difficulty scale/color scheme and combine all the tracks into one folder in an app and share it. I use the GAIA app which has some nice tools to create/manage GPS data and have hundreds of routes/tracks in it that I use for planning rides and trips for my ATV group.

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This x100. Certainly QR codes are a great idea, however the easy low tech option should be there as well. I don’t mind flailing around in the woods getting lost or turned around on my own. However, as our family travels on more bike trips over the years, GPS or no, I’ve found good signage/directions can make all the difference between keeping the crew stoked to ride vs “oh shit dad’s taking us on another death ride again…”.


So what route did you end up riding and how was it?

I noticed that almost all the weekly group rides started at Osprey, so I went in there and hit pretty much everything in that main area.

Very cool terrain, definitely some “gotcha’s” in the Time Flies/Time Out bit! Stayed on this side of the lake since it sounded like it was a bit overgrown on the other side, but had a blast getting lost!


I’ve mentioned an idea like this to several builders at several sites: The Tourist. You’re new, here’s the must-hit trails. Every system could have The Tourist route.

I do like the low-tech option mentioned in this thread too. My buddy and his son had ridden the Railyard a few times before riding with me, and I showed them trails they’d never hit, all good stuff. Love the Railyard, but it’s a PITA to navigate if you’re new.

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Sounds similar to the Bluff loop around here. Simple but super effective.