Hi, my name is Bethany, and I love exploring new trails! I’ve been skating for almost two years now, but I like to know what to expect when I go to a trail, so I thought others might as well! On #TrailSkateTuesday, I’m here to tell you the best trails to start with, and what to expect when you get there. Last time I posted about the Chain of Lakes trail, and this time, it’s my absolute favourite:
Portland Lakes Greenway
If you’re driving, take Portland St to Baker Dr, then turn left on to Freshwater Trail You’ll see the trailhead on your left, and you can park on the street. If you’re coming by Halifax Transit, the nearest stops are 8850, Baker Drive before Freshwater Trail, and 8843, Baker Drive After Freshwater Trail, on the opposite side. These stops are served by route 57.
Where I Skate
I like to skate from Freshwater Trail to Portland Estates Blvd, which is just over 3km round trip, and I often skate this section twice while I’m there – sometimes three times if I’m feeling energetic.
Super smooth pavement, beautiful lake view, nicely treed trail, small hills. Some sheltered areas, and some breezy open areas. It’s just a joy to skate.
This trail is made for cruising so a big soft set of wheels is the perfect ride. I ride on the Moxi Classic wheels (78a, 62mm) for this. A big wheel makes it easier to go longer distances and helps when encountering sticks or little pebbles. The mid-sized Radar Energy wheels would also be great for this length of the trail.
This trail has small hills that are a great opportunity to learn and build confidence. If you start at the Freshwater Trail end, you will be at the top of a gradual downhill slope. The trail isn’t wide enough to comfortably carve, but the hill is shallow enough that you have a number of choices: use plow stops or t-stops to check your speed, skate backwards and use your toe stop to control your speed, or just bomb straight down it! There is a long straight stretch after the first hill, then a much shorter second hill before a long straight stretch by the lake. When I first started at this trail, I was really nervous about this hill, because I don’t like speed and felt like I was out of control, but after I did it a few times, I really got a feel for it, and the long straightaway afterwards gives you a great opportunity to collect your thoughts.
There is one road crossing in this stretch of trail, at Eisener Blvd, where there is a marked crosswalk with lights. The trickiest part is that it looks like the trail ends here because the other side of the trail is hard to see, about 100m down on the other side of the road.
After crossing at the crosswalk, right before re-entering the trail, there is a pothole/wide gravel gap in the sidewalk. You cannot roll over it, and you cannot go around it, but it’s short. A confident skater could easily jump this gap; I chose to stop and step across on my toe stops, and it was no problem. There is also a wooden bridge near the Portland Estates end of the trail. The bridge is about 20’ long. I’m sure that a confident skater going at a good speed could roll over this bridge, but I’m timid, so I came to a stop and walked over it, which was also very easy and could be done on toe stops or wheels.
Please know that other than these two obstacles, there is glorious smooth pavement the whole way, and you do not need to worry about gravel. The first time I took another skater with me on this trail, she was ahead of me, started down a little hill, and could only see a gravel trail in front of her, so she dove onto the grass, but I promise, the pavement DOES continue!
Have you skated the Portland Lakes Greenway before? Let me know what you think in the comments, or recommend a trail that you want to see me review. Happy skating!