Hot Post Of The Month

Apr 13, 2020

Southern Alberta's Seasonal Car Free Parkways

** Be sure to check with local authorities before venturing out to these locations **

** Plan ahead: Do not visit small communities unless absolutely necessary **

** Leave no trace. Practice safe hygiene and distancing. Take precautions against Covid **

Check out "Physical Distancing Road Loops In Calgary" 

---

Is there anything more dreamy than cycling on a highway closed to vehicle traffic?

Here in Southern Alberta, we are lucky to have a handful of highways that are seasonally closed during the winter that are available to cycle on in the weeks leading up to their opening. For some cyclists, taking advantage of these closures to cars is a seasonal treat - with Highwood Pass being the "classic" that most everyone knows about.

There are other options too for people looking for something different, perhaps a little more accessible than Highwood, and even a few gravel options for all you folks that have hopped on the gravel bike bandwagon.

Below are 5 rides we'd recommend you check out before the gates open to cars.


Some thoughts and considerations:
  • Since the roads are closed - so are all the facilities - no bathrooms - leave no trace
  • Don't expect much cell phone signal - be prepared!
  • Even though the roads are closed be vigilant for surface imperfections or damage caused over winter
  • Wildlife - be bear aware and do not startle sheep, goats, and deer you may encounter
  • Stop. Listen. Look. Take it all in.
  • Pack a picnic or #coffeeoutside supplies and find a spot out of the way to take a break
  • Be prepared for all weather. These routes are all in the mountains and the weather can switch between hot sun, driving rain, snow, hail, you name it - all in one ride.
  • PROTIP: Bring a BBQ for some apres-ride tasty eats


Highwood Pass


Total Distance Gate To Summit Return: 34kms
Surface: Smooth Pavement
GPX Link: Ride With GPS
Gate Opens To Vehicle Traffic: June 15th
Park at the end of Hghway 40 and ride up. Or make it a huge day and ride gate-to-gate-to-gate for a 110kms ride over Highwodd Pass twice.






Sheep River Parkway


Total Distance Gate To End Return 36kms
Surface: Smooth Pavement
GPX Link: Ride With GPS
Gate Opens To Vehicle Traffic: May 15th
Park at the gate at Sandy McNabb campground or start in Turner Valley for a ride of approx. 75kms




Sheep River Falls


Maclean Creek Road


Total Distance Gate To Gate To Gate: 65kms
Surface: Gravel
GPX Link: Ride With GPS
Gate Opens To Vehicle Traffic: May 15th
You can start at either end accessible by Highway 66 in the north or Highway 549 in the south.




Powderface Road


Total Distance Gate To Gate To Gate: 65kms
Surface: Gravel
GPX Link: Ride With GPS
Gate Opens To Vehicle Traffic: May 15th
Access via Highway 68 in the Sibbald area.






Somewhere along the Powderface Road

Livingstone Pass 


Total Distance Gate To Summit Return: 42kms
Surface: Gravel
GPX Link: Ride With GPS
Gate Opens To Vehicle Traffic: May 15th
Access via Highway 22 park on the gravel road not on the highway.






--- If you have car-free, seasonal route you'd like to share leave a comment below. --- 

Thanks for reading.

5 comments:

Curtain said...

Any idea if the Akamina Parkway to Cameron Lake is still closed to cars in Waterton? Might be the last summer we get to ride it.

Paul said...

Can we park cars in the Parks (ie at the Highwood gates)?

BikeBike said...

Hello Curtain

We are unsure whether the Akimina and Red Rock are still closed to cars but are very sure both those roads are closed to everybody until the covid thing passes as they are in the National Park.

BikeBike said...

Paul - as indicated at the top of the article, best practice would be to check with authorities before venturing out.

Gord M said...

I phoned Alberta Parks and the rep said Sandy McNabb staging area parking is open this weekend for those of us interested in biking the Sheep River Highway. I have never done this before...what I don't know is does the parking lot get overwhelmed to the point that someone goes and has to turnaround if full? Guess I'll find out this weekend!