Note: as of Aug 7th, 2022 there is road upgrading being done on Horse Creek Road so this route it not paved the whole way as a result.
Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate to Expert
Distance: 64.6 Km
Estimated time: Based on cycling speed of 15 Km per hour it would take roughly 4 hours. Hilly terrain justifies a lower average speed.
Elevation Gain: 500m
Maximum Elevation: 1355m
Maximum Grade: 9 percent
Best Parking Option: Park just off of Horse Creek Road and Hwy 1A ( There is a small strip mall on the North side of the 1A just before the turnoff that is never usually full).
Points of Interest: The focus for this alternate Grand Valley loop out and back option is the Hamlet of Bottrel (General Store c1905)
Amenities: The town of Cochrane has everything required to start your ride. The Bottrel General Store makes an excellent pit stop for lunch.
Comments from our test riders:
Beginner Road Cyclist: I prefer the Grand Valley to Horse Creek Road Loop! This is a better length for me.
Intermediate Road Cyclist: This was a challenging ride due to the hills on the Bottrel out and back section. Wonderful foothills vistas.
Expert Road Cyclist: A great ride with some good foothill inclines.
What to expect from this ride
This is a variation on the Grand Valley to Horse Creek Road loop that includes an out and back section to the Bottrel General Store circa 1905. This is a challenging ride due to the elevation gain and loss as can be viewed on the graph. It is advised to start at the Horse Creek junction with the 1A and proceed West along the 1A for a short distance until you exit and travel North on the Grand Valley Rd. This is so that you follow the route counterclockwise. Now you can travel uphill on the Grand Valley Road which has rougher pavement.
If the weather is holding and you are feeling energetic, the ride to Bottrel is worth the effort. After all, the store is historic and has a peaceful back deck. It is a nice spot to stop for lunch and has an interesting bathroom facility. Essentially you turn North at the Horse Creek Road junction (Range Road 50) and then head East on Township Road 284 until intersecting the Bottrel General Store.
Edward Botterell and E. H. Botterell ( from Montreal ) were the founders of The Dog Pound Ranch in the late 1880’s. This became the The Botterall Ranch hence the origin of the name of the Hamlet. In 1905 the property was purchased by J. T. Boucher and he opened the Bottrel General Store and Post Office which saved the surrounding population from travelling into Crossfield. There is a park and and campground out back on the Dog Pound Creek.
In summary, we are privileged to be able to cycle these roadways in the heart of scenic ranching country. The pastoral countryside with mountain and foothills vistas is spectacular. Early morning is the best time to tackle this as storms build (along with the wind) in the afternoon hours. Please be cautious of working machinery and livestock traversing the same path. They have the right of way!