Ride Difficulty Rating: Easy
Distance: 39.7 km
Estimated time: 2 hours based on cycling speed of 20 km/hr
Elevation Gain: 360 m
Maximum Elevation: 1,280 m
Maximum Grade: At ~24 km there is a steep decline of 5.7% followed at ~25 km with a short steep 3.8 % incline.
Best Parking Option: Rocky Ridge YMCA located in NW Calgary. Ample parking on the north side of this huge parking lot.
Points of Interest:
- At the Rocky Ridge YMCA there is a fun and playful outdoor sculpture high on hill behind the YMCA. Bonus points if you can figure out what it is! Right across the street is Butterfield Acres which is a petting farm so listen for the baahh of the sheep!
- If you want to get a glimpse of what the oil industry is up to lately, at ~ km 24 you will pass by a 2021 drilled pad location which means that several horizontal oil wells are drilled from one central location. This helps centralize and reduce surface disturbance.
Amenities: None on route but you can always duck into the YMCA or Public Library at the parking spot.
Comments from our test riders:
Beginner Road Cyclist: I found the short stretch along Lochend road to be too much motor vehicle traffic for my liking. I would have preferred to turn around at the corner of Glendale Road and Lochend. (Cycle Alberta: this is a great alternative to this route which makes the route 45km and leaves out the steeper climb. Never cycle a road that you are uncomfortable with the traffic volumes.)
Intermediate Road Cyclist: A great Saturday morning training ride close to Calgary.
Expert Road Cyclist: Ditto to the Intermediate Road Cyclist comment.
What to expect from this ride
This ride is a good ‘go to ride’ when you have limited time to cycle. There is always ample parking at the YMCA and lots of cyclist on this route. The road surface is good, but watch for the odd rough spot or pot hole, and most of the route is on roads without lane markings. The exception is Lochend Road, which has a very narrow shoulder. This section of the ride is ~4.5 km. At time there can be higher traffic volumes on this section so an alternative would be to turn around at km 22.4 (the intersection of Lochend Road and Glendale Road) and follow Glendale Road back to Twp Road 262.
You will pass by several ponds (watch for the resident muskrats) and of course, the over sized acreage homes and their manicured grounds through Church Ranches.
This area can get windy so it’s best to cycle earlier in the day.