For the last 3 years, my brother and I (and sometimes a few others) plan a bike trip of some kind. Getting away for a week like we did for the Castlegar -> Pentiction trip is a little harder now as he has 2 little tykes at home so it was decided to go for a shorter trip together to keep the streak alive.
So, with these things in mind we decided to do something a few days shorter, a little closer to home, and something neither of us had done before.
Note: I have found that RideWithGPS is a pretty cool tool for creating routes - this is what I used to map out this particular route.
Leave a comment if you'd like or if you have any route, bike, or equipment questions.
Day 1 Strava
Waiprous to Canmore
|The Carter Brothers off on another goonie adventure.|
|The Transalta road more or less keeps climbing for it's entire length but this one particular section was really steep and knowing we had a long day ahead we were more than happy to hop off and walk when needed.|
|Hiking With An Awkward Cart - as my friend Doug likes to say. But it did give us time to look up and marvel at the mountains encroaching from both sides of the valley. Truly spectacular.|
|Looking east through Devil's Gap.|
|Jesse ACTUALLY pedaling instead of walking on a section of the east Minnewanka Trail. R-U-G-G-E-D is all you need to know. You've been warned.|
|Dinner time in Banff. Not even sure I tasted what I ordered I ate it so fast.|
|Bellies full, downhill tailwinds all the way to Canmore on the Legacy Trail. We earned that.|
|Home for the night. Jesse's head literally popping off from the effort today. That was the longest day I've even spent on a bike - 7h52m - and no legs cramps. Winning!|
Day 2 Strava
Canmore to Little Elbow Campground
|Trailhead at Jewel Pass achieved. Jewel is a popular MTB trail and it pretty fun - but also a little hairy for our loaded bikes so we took it easy on the way down to Barrier Lake.|
|It's been maybe 15 years since I'd ridden Jewel Pass and a lot of trail work has gone into it. Big thanks to those that advocate, build , and support trail access. This bridge-over-waterfall-to-sweet-switchback-drop was really nice.|
|Barrier Lake. From here we headed towards the Widow Maker, refilled our bottles, and began our gravel grinding segment of this adventure with Hwy.68 and the Powderface Road ahead.|
|The heat of the day was now upon us and while we were both thankful to have a tailwind up the long Sibbald Highway climb, it did make things feel even hotter with basically no wind.|
Day 3 Strava
Littte Elbow Campground to Calgary
|Snacks and hot coffee onboard. That was a trip. Thanks for reading.|
- Depending on the time of year, the Ghost River might not be possible to cross safely, so best to attempt this in July and later but...
- ...July 10 is when the Minnewanka Trail is entirely closed to bikes (until September) so you have a small window to get through in the Summer or wait until September
- Wayfinding through the Devil's Gap is not obvious although there are a few Parks signs once you get into Banff NP
- From the east end of the park to the Wardens Cabin is about 15kms and there are lots of trees down and a few washouts. Look to little rock cairns to guide you across the washouts. Be prepared for bears (we saw 2 at the same time) and expect to be hike-a-biking a bunch
- Powderface Road is a tough slog from north to south, expect it to take you longer than you think
- As always, because you're in the mountains, be prepared for bad weather no matter what time of year
- Tout Terrain Outback, with Pinion 12-speed gearbox
- Schwalbe Nobby Nic Tires 27.5 x 2.6
- RockShox Revelation RC fork 120mm
- Spank Spoon Pedals
- Ortlieb Bikepacking Series handlebar bag, accessory pouch, frame bag, and seatpack
- SQ Labs 30X Alloy Handlebars 16 degree sweep, 45mm rise, 780mm wide, and Innerbarends