Ride Difficulty Rating – Beginner for shorter route, Intermediate with add on.
Distance – 44.1 Km out and back (with short loop near the end), 52.3 km with Cochrane hill alternative extension for Intermediate and Expert riders
Estimated cycling duration – Just over 2 hours…
Elevation Gain – 312 m, 507m with Cochrane Hill
Maximum Elevation – 1341 m
Maximum Grade – Beginner ride 4.1% Max up hill grade at 19.6km , 4.8% Max downhill grade at 43.8 km, Intermediate/Expert 6.3 % downhill and 7.3 % uphill on the Cochrane Hill.
Best Parking Option
Park at the side of the road just as you turn off of 12 Mile Coulee Road and on to Nagway Road. We do not recommend parking at the Bearspaw Lions Hall and note that in the summer months the Bearspaw Farmers Market makes this area congested on Sunday’s until about 2pm. To find this parking location you can use Google maps to the intersection of 12 Mile Coulee Road and Nagway Road
Points of Interest
After turning west onto Twp Rd 262, the views open up to the Rocky Mountains with a series of gentle rolling hills. After travelling 3.3 km west you will cross Lochend Road which can be busy so be mindful of traffic. There is a small pullout just past this intersection if you need a break or are waiting for others in your group.
Near the turn around point, travel the short 2.2 km section west along Big Hill Road (appropriately named!) and you will be treated to a spectacular view of the town of Cochrane and the Rocky Mountains. Great photo stop! Can you spot the larger than life Budda statue? This section of the ride has some rough pavement and a few potholes, but the view makes it worth it. Experienced riders have the option to continue down into Cochrane at this point. See alternative add on to this route.
On the way back south on Bearspaw Road, before you reach Hwy 1A you will turn east into Church Ranches and enjoy a beautiful short down hill section winding through the estate homes dotted with wetlands in this development before heading back to your car parked on Nagway Road.
Comments from our test riders:
Beginner Road Cyclist – ‘I felt very comfortable riding here due to hardly any traffic once I got a few km down Bearspaw Road’
Intermediate Road Cyclist – ‘A great ride for a quick out and back after work.’
Expert Road Cyclist – ‘Cochrane hill is a great humbling ascent.’
What to expect from this ride
This short but fun route recommended for all Beginner riders has generally low traffic volumes (especially the farther you get away from Hwy 1A) and gets you to Cochrane but keeps you off of busy Highway 1A. An easy, gentle, rolling ride has a maximum uphill grade is only 4.1%. At the halfway point, Intermediate riders can extend the ride by venturing down the hill into the town of Cochrane. Your downhill skills will come in handy and you will be challenged to a leg burning trek back up Cochrane Hill (bragging rights are earned!). See Alternative route details.
This route makes a great early season ride. Please ride single file on this route. The convenience of this ride is that it is a short drive from the city limits so lends itself well to an evening weekday or early Saturday morning. Not recommended on Sunday mornings due to increased traffic due to the Bearspaw Farmers Market and not recommended when the acreage owners are rushing home weekdays after work from 4-6 pm.