Walking above the airport

Hillcrest is a great neighbourhood. We've lived here since 1986 and have seen a lot of change: Granger wasn't even here then, just Lobird, Hillcrest and Valleyview. My website has a lot about looking at Whitehorse from a Hillcrest walker's point of view.

I thought I'd try to summarize things happening in our area from a walking point of view. We have many trails and it quickly gets complicated discussing them and showing on a map becomes difficult. Also, I often meet people out on the trails who don't really know the area, where they can go walking; everyone are generally not explorers, so the following various maps are particularly for them.

Our above-the-airport neighbourhoods options for longer, green-space style walks are dictated by geography: the escarpment, the airport, the Logan Arkell and the McIntyre Creek wetlands, the tank farm, Hamilton Blvd., the Alaska Highway and the many neighbourhoods that house our 7000+ residents.

Not to be forgotten is that our neighbourhoods are all within the City's Urban Containment Boundary; it's the focus for future city growth. As our city becomes denser, grows inwards, Hillcrest, as a neighbourhood at the center of the city faces the implications of increasingly denser population and greenspace use. Since we've moved to Whitehorse in 1979, it's grown from ~12,000 to today's 27,889 residents.

Greenspace protection, good trails, trail safety, better walking experiences will all come from greater trail use by more people. These are also important community and personal wellness topics. What's really needed is stewardship by residents of the area who are focussed on the land, as well as trails.

Peter (pjl at whitehorsewalks.com)
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada


City-designated trails

Trails shown on this map (right): official recreation, motorized and paved, are discussed below. (This map does not show neighbourhood trails, nor right-of-way trails.)

Official recreation trails

The above-the-airport Neighbourhood Trail Task Force has finished. There are many tasks Parks and Recreation could do, but cost and time commitments mean few can be undertaken in the short term. Below items marked city trail crew are some suggestions. Some background documents are:

Official motorized trails

ATV and snowmobile by-laws have been updated. Snowmobiles are generally unrestricted — they are encouraged to use designated motorized trails. ATVs and dirt bike must only use motorized trails.

Paved trails

In addition to trails already paved, this next map (right) shows trails the City proposes paving as blue lines. These trails are paved as part of City's Engineering and Sustainable city initiatives. Two-people icons show marked crossings: either crosswalks or traffic lights. Red triangles are unmarked, commonly used road crossings.

Right-of-way trails

Inner-subdivision corridors are important for safer, more appealing neighbourhood walking experience. But it can be hard finding our neighbourhood short-cuts. Both ends of walkways need to be clearly signed and mapped. These are marked with orange lines on this map. Information to draw these was taken from the recent City Zoning Bylaw maps. See inner subdivision connector page for more information.

In Hillcrest, these right-of-way trails are a topic that are being addressed in our on-going neighbourhood planning process.


Paddy's Pond/Ice Lake Park

The 2010 OCP designated 5 formal city parks. Our own Paddy's Pond/Ice Lake area was one chosen for this new status. See 5 OCP parks page for more background and maps on the parks in general and Paddy's Pond/Ice Lake Park in particular. Also, as background to OCP park planning, I've started a Mount McIntyre Recreation Area page.

Paddy's Pond

Culvert area

Ice Lake area

Rock Gardens

Alaska Highway

Airport perimeter trail

Hamilton Blvd.

Copper Ridge/Ingram/Logan/Arkell/McIntyre area

Arkell and McIntyre wetlands

Tank Farm



Stewardship, creating a shared walking vision above-the-airport


other issues

Walking trails

Here's a few resources for learning simple trail maintenance. Repairs such as small bridges could be made much less expensively if these were just narrow bridges.


Lets look at a few neighbourhood loop trails. Some would require the trail work shown above. Think of walking about 4 km per hour for a moderate pace; think about taking a daily walk and the trail variety you'd like to use as you walk from your home.

Hillcrest loops: 2.5, 2.7, 5.1 kms

Granger loops: 2.0, 2.1, 3.7 kms

Arkell wetland area loops: map 1: 1.5 (requires crossing A), 3 kms; and map 2: 3, 8 kms

Note that the map images are each linked to larger images

How far do people walk? Getting to 4th and Main

Health studies say we are not active enough. One solution is walking. Look at the popularity of the Millennium Trail, the Rotary Centennial Bridge. Interesting trails will become destinations, encouraging people to expand their horizons. What does our location do for above-the-airport walkers?

Before people set out on a walk they sometimes want to know how far, how long, where to go. So I made the map above with the corner of 4th and Main as a destination. Generally I chose to follow paved trails if they are obviously faster (shorter). But walking alongside roads is boring, noisy, smelly, so where it was possible, I chose cleaner air, quieter, more interesting scenic routes.

Think of walking about 4 km per hour for a moderate pace.