2022 update: On May 13th we attempted to do the Sheep River Ride (Road closure in effect until May 14th) since we were under the impression that the bridge construction was complete (May 1st was the completion date given). Unfortunately we were stopped 5 Km into the ride since the bridge is still not finished. Please note that the road conditions on the first 5 Km have deteriorated significantly due to the passage of heavy construction trucks.
Ride Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Distance: 35.4 km
Estimated time: 2 Hrs Based on a cycling speed of 20 km/hr
Elevation Gain: 523 m
Maximum Elevation: 1588 m
Maximum Grade: 13.9 %
Best Parking Option: On the side of the road before the gate or in the parking lots near the gate
Points of Interest: Sheep River Canyon, Mountain Sheep, mountain views, Sheep River Falls, hiking trails
Amenities: There are no amenities open (when the gates are closed) so be sure to have a bathroom break in Turner Valley and be prepared with enough food and water to keep you energized.
Comments from our test riders:
Beginner Road Cyclist: This was a wonderful ride without any motorized traffic. The hills were quite a workout!
Intermediate Road Cyclist: A scenic early season ride with plenty of terrain to get me into better shape.
Expert Road Cyclist: I rode from Turner Valley into the park and appreciated the fact that there was less traffic on the highway due to the road closure.
What to expect from this ride
The opportunity to cycle this route when the road is closed to motorized traffic is a huge draw and the drive from Calgary to the gate is only about an hour. Please check the Alberta Parks website to verify the closure date for the Sheep River Trail. Once you arrive in Turner Valley, head west up Hwy 546 (Sheep River Trail) at the four way stop sign and follow the road to the closure gate at the Sandy McNabb Campground. Enjoy this 20 minute drive through prime ranchlands
The Sheep River Provincial Park shelters a population of Mountain Sheep that depend on the river’s shear canyon walls and rocky outcroppings for protection from predators. When we have cycled or hiked in this area we have viewed these creatures from prime vantage points. The important point being not to disturb them as they prefer the valley bottom in the Spring.
Choose a fine weather day to come out this way and bring layers just in case the wind picks up. Enjoy this Spring cycling option and on your way back to Calgary you can check out the Turner Valley amenities such as the award winning Fahr Brewery.