Ride Difficulty Rating: Beginner – Intermediate
Distance: 38.2 km
Estimated time: 2 Hrs Based on a cycling speed of 20 km/hr
Elevation Gain: 360 m
Maximum Elevation: 1451 m
Maximum Grade: 5 %
Best Parking Option: Please park respectfully in Turner Valley. One option is to go through the 4 way stop sign at the junction of Hwy 22 and the 546 and then park on the right hand side of the road.
Points of Interest: Historic town of Turner Valley, foothills ranchlands, Sheep River (if you proceed into the Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park)
Amenities: Take advantage of the Turner Valley facilities before you begin the ride. Be prepared with enough food and water to keep you energized.
Comments from our test riders:
Beginner Road Cyclist: This was a wonderful ride with minimal traffic during the park road closure. The road surface was excellent and the hills are relatively gentle.
Intermediate Road Cyclist: A scenic early season ride with plenty of terrain and the option to continue into the park if time and energy allows.
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 best time to cycle this route is when the road is closed to motorized traffic up at the Sandy McNabb Campground since there are fewer vehicles heading up to the park. The drive from Calgary to Turner Valley is about 45 minutes. Please check the Alberta Parks website to verify the closure date for the Sheep River Trail. Once you arrive in Turner Valley and park inconspicuously, gear up and head west up Hwy 546 (Sheep River Trail) which initially passes through a residential district of Turner Valley. Continue until you come to the Sandy McNabb campsite. Heading back to Turner Valley is a dream since you are almost guaranteed a tailwind and you get to take advantage of the overall decrease in elevation.
This is prime foothills ranchland territory and the rolling terrain is inspiring. This route can be extended by simply continuing through to the end of the park and returning to Turner Valley for an amazing 74 Km ride that is truly epic. Please refer to the Sheep River Ride for more details when planning your day.
This ride is a terrific Spring option but can also be done throughout the cycling season. Just be aware that once the road closure ends there is an exponential increase in traffic. Plan to tackle this early in the morning to take advantage of more stable weather and fewer vehicles. On your way back to Calgary you can check out the Turner Valley amenities such as local brewing and distilling, eclectic eateries, and shops.