Ride Difficulty Rating – Intermediate due to the steep grades…not due to distance
Distance – 38.3 Km out and back
Estimated cycling time – 2 hours
Elevation Gain -598 m
Peak Elevation – 1739 m
Best Parking Option
Allen Bill. From the town of Bragg Creek continue south along Hwy 22, turn right (west) on AB-66. Turn into the Allen Bill parking area. There are outhouses at this parking area. (This used to be called Allen Bill Pond but our 2013 floods wiped out the pond…so now just called Allen Bill, just a little trivia)
Maximum Grade – Uphill 8.9% at km 12.8, Descent 9.9% at km 25.8
Points of Interest
From December through May the road is closed to motor vehicle traffic west of Elbow Falls at approximately km 8.8. During road closures there is a gate across the road, which will force you to get off your bike and slide your bike under the railing. Road closure information updates are available from Alberta Parks.
There are many roadside pullouts along this route with interesting interpretive signs regarding information about the areas history. They are worth a stop if you need a break.
At km 19.2 you arrive at the destination, Forget-me-not Pond. Explore the interpretive trails around the pond if you need a rest before heading back. There are outhouses at the picnic area parking lot.
Mainly smooth asphalt throughout the route but there are sections of rumble strips that separate the shoulder from the traffic lanes. Shoulder width varies from 1 to 3 feet. Use caution when the road is open to motor vehicles as this is a popular route for motorcyclists and recreational vehicles. If the spring weather cooperates, we recommend doing this ride before the road opens to motor vehicle traffic. Cyclist enjoy having the road to themselves with the advantage of pedalling down the steep descents without being confined to the shoulders. Note that the pavement surface generally varies from smooth asphalt in the shoulders to chip seal on the main road. Watch out for domestic and wild animals on this route. This route can be very windy and subject to quick weather changes so come prepared.
Comments from our test riders:
Beginner Road Cyclist – ‘Too many hills but loved having no traffic to worry about.’
Intermediate Road Cyclist – ‘The perfect ride to prepare me for the cycling season.’
Expert Road Cyclist – ‘Fun ride to do even when the road is open to traffic. I would like to extend this ride by parking in Bragg Creek next time.’
What to expect on this ride
The Allen Bill to Forget-me-not (Pond) ride is a great early season ride away from motorized traffic. Part of this route is closed to motor vehicles most years from December to May 14 (Hwy 66 West of Elbow Falls & the Powderface Trail). The first 8.8 km’s of this recommended route is, however, open to traffic year round but traffic volumes are not heavy in early season and drivers seem respectful of cyclists. By May 15 the whole route is open to traffic and is a popular camping and hiking area so use caution during the summer months.
This out and back route has absolutely stunning views of the Alberta Foothills with steep climbs and thrilling descents, In fact, this ride has one of the steepest grades in our cyclealberta route library so what it lacks in distance will be made up in leg burn. At the halfway point on this out and back ride, your hard work will be rewarded at the pleasant rest stop at Forget-me-not Pond.
Watch for rough patches and gravel in the shoulders and ride single file when the road is open to motor vehicle traffic. When the road is closed enjoy the open road and ride as you will (of course be on the look out for wildlife and domestic animals on the road). On one early April ride we startled some horses that likely hadn’t seen much in the way of traffic on the road since December!
The Alberta Foothills can be extremely windy and subject to sudden weather changes, especially early season in this valley. Although there is a steep descent into Forget-me-not Pond you may find yourself having to pedal downhill against the strong winds! The bonus is that you will have the strong wind at your back on the return trip that can make you feel like Superman (or that you are on an e-bike) on return uphill climb!
This is a great early season (before June) ride. This route boasts steep hills so rated as Intermediate. The only draw back to this ride is that it is a bit of a drive from the Calgary city limits (~40 minutes) but take the opportunity to stop for an ice cream or coffee in Bragg Creek on your way home. The Cinnamon Spoon in Bragg Creek is our recommendation.