Ride Difficulty Rating – Intermediate
Distance – 72.3 km
Estimated cycling time: Just over 3.5 hours based on an average 20 km/hr speed
Elevation Gain – 664 m
Maximum Elevation – 1290 m
Maximum Grade – Uphill grade 3.3% at km 19.3 , downhill grade 4.0% just past Water Valley as you descend into the Little Red Deer River valley
Best Parking Option:
Park in Madden at the Madden Community Centre just south of the Beaver Dam Golf Course and RV Resort on AB-Hwy 772.
Points of Interest:
Heading west the views open up to the Rocky Mountains with gentle rolling hills mainly on smooth pavement. At km 16 you descend and cross the sometimes busy Hwy 22 (Cowboy Trail) after which you will begin a slow and gradual climb to the Water Valley Golf Course which is at the highest elevation and up hill grade in this ride. Heading west the views open up to the Rocky Mountains with gentle rolling hills mainly on smooth pavement. At km 16 you descend and cross the sometimes busy Hwy 22 (Cowboy Trail) after which you will begin a slow and gradual climb to the Water Valley Golf Course which is at the highest elevation and up hill grade in this ride.
At km 28.9 you will encounter the four way stop in the Town of Water Valley. Just off to the west is the historic Water Valley General Store that is always worth a stop for supplies and washrooms.
As you continue north of Water Valley you will descend steeply into the Little Red Deer River valley. There is a campground and day use area on the south and north side of the river with outhouses for your bio break, should you need one. Exercise caution as there is a single lane traffic bridge that you will cross.
Farther along you will cross the river again at km 40.4, also over a single lane traffic bridge.
Enjoy the return trip as you wind your way through the industrial town of Cremona while watching for large vehicles, down picturesque RR 35, along the smooth pavement of Twp Road 292 and back to Madden.
Comments from our test riders:
Beginner Road Cyclist – ‘Very long ride, very hilly past Water Valley.’
Intermediate Road Cyclist – ‘Such a great ride with little traffic. ’
Expert Road Cyclist – ‘A great ride for training for longer rides’.
What to expect from on this ride
This long but fun route is recommended for Intermediate riders because of the mileage and repetitive hill climbs and descents. The route has low traffic volumes that keep you off of Highway 22 (except for one short 1.1 km section near Cremona) and a variety of interesting terrain and sites. The maximum uphill grade is only 3.3% and downhill grade of 4.0%.
Just before the halfway point you pass through the town of Water Valley which is a great spot to experience historic Alberta with a visit to their general store. In late June, Water Valley hosts a one day Celtic Festival so expect much higher than usual traffic volumes. (In 2019 it was held June 20th).
This is one of our favourite rides due to the light traffic, views and road conditions. We have cycled this route on both weekdays and weekends with very little difference in traffic flow and volume. Part of this ride is on the ‘super smooth’ asphalt Twp Rd 292 and there are lots of rolling hills to keep even the most hard to please rider interested. Passing through three historic Alberta towns and one locality, Madden, Dog Pound, Water Valley and Cremona, this ride offers cyclists the opportunity to stop and access facilities. Please ride single file on this route and use extreme caution when crossing Hwy 22. The drive to Madden is approximately 30 minutes (42 kms) from the west limits of the city. This ride is recommended for calm, warm days. On weekdays watch for industrial traffic near Cremona and along the short Hwy 22 stretch.