Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Distance: 66.8 Km
Estimated time: 3.5 to 4 Hrs based on average of 20 km/hr (assuming some stops along the way)
Elevation Gain: 557 m
Maximum Elevation: 1187 m
Maximum Grade: 4.9% at 33 Km
Best Parking Option: Park just off of Main Street near the Koffee Kabin (1112 Osler Str.)
Points of Interest: Historic store and farm site, PASU Farms, U-Pick Berry Farm
Amenities: There are washrooms at the gas station in Carstairs (Fas Gas Plus – 802 Centre St.) Grab a candy bar or two for the ride.
Comments from our test riders:
Beginner Road Cyclist: Whew, this was a very long ride !
Intermediate Road Cyclist: Nice relaxing trip with good rolling hills.
Expert Road Cyclist: Great training run with interesting scenery.
What to expect from this ride
This ride is a great way to view rich Alberta farmland. We can see the work that goes into the food that we consume and take for granted. This route is very exposed to weather as the storms can spawn quickly and they usually are pushed Westward from the mountains in a hurry. For this reason it is very important to check the weather forecast throughout the day. Leaving early is necessary to avoid afternoon weather disturbances and wind. At the same time those skies are never ending entertainment.
To begin, park along main street Carstairs and perhaps grab a coffee at “The Koffee Kabin” just off the main drag. The route is best travelled counterclockwise. Head West up Township Rd #303 (Carstairs Blind Road). There is no shoulder on this section but the road is quite peaceful. After roughly 19 Km turn left onto Range Rd #35 (Garfield Road). On the corner is a plaque noting the site of the original General Store and Post Office. Continue along this very quiet country road until you reach Township Rd #292 where you make another left turn. The “292” is busier but there is a good shoulder and great vistas as you head back East. Please watch carefully at the intersection of the “292 and the “766” at the 40 Km point since you are travelling fast downhill and even though there is a Stop sign for vehicles on the “766”, they may not see you approaching at warp speed! Along the 292 is the U-Pick Berry Farm and when you make the final Left onto Range Rd. 23, you will pass by PASU Farms which specializes in woollen goods. Continue until you intersect the Township Rd. #303 where you make a Right turn and follow back to Carstairs. This is not a true loop trip as you have to double back a bit on the “303” in order to avoid some poor road conditions on the “292”.