Cochrane to Water Valley out and back

This group of cyclist are enjoying the route. Note how their solid colour jerseys show up well and they are all riding single file.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Distance: 81 km

Estimated time: 4 hours based on cycling speed of 20 km/hr

Elevation Gain: 800 m

Maximum Elevation: 1347 m

Maximum Grade:8.7 % uphill at 58.7 km , 7.8 % downhill at 22.8 km

Best Parking Option: The strip mall at the corner of Hwy 1A and Horse Creek Road in Cochrane or along Horse Creek Road just as you turn north off of Hwy 1A onto Horse Creek Road. Note: Hwy 1A is ofter referred to as Bow Valley Trail on maps. If you park at the strip mall, park well away from the business entrances.

Points of Interest: At ~ 23 km you will cycle past the Dartique Lodge – currently used as a community hall this historic building was constructed in 1934. As of summer 2021 a new metal roof has been installed so the building is being well maintained.

Water Valley has some interesting spots including the General Store (open 7-7 daily and offers ice cream and coffee) and the Water Valley Saloon (popular with the motorcycle crowd but very welcoming of the lycra clad cyclists!).

Amenities: Washrooms at the Water Valley General Store (please support them with a purchase!)

Comments from our test riders:

Beginner Road Cyclist: A long ride!

Intermediate Road Cyclist: A great training ride with some varied terrain.

Expert Road Cyclist: Awesome!!! You can really get going on this ride as there are very few STOP signs and traffic to contend with.

Water Valley General Store.

What to expect from this ride

This fantastic route was made possible with the ~2017 paving of a short section of Horse Creek Road that now allows for a ride all the way from Cochrane to Water Valley on paved surfaces. This route has very low motor vehicle traffic and passes by lovely acreages and farm land. The occasional group of motor cyclists will pass you and usually give you lots of room. If you decide to stop for lunch, you may meet up with the motorcyclists at the Water Valley Saloon. There are some nice climbs but none are too long so this makes for a very pleasant cycle and would make a great route if you are planning a group ride with friends.

This area can be subject to winds so be prepared and plan to do this route on calmer days. For most of the route you will be on a variety of pavement surfaces, but generally very good and as of Sept, 2021 pot holes have recently been filled. Most roads have no lines or designated shoulders once you get past Twp Rd 280.

Very, very quiet roads!

Goldenrod, Madden, Dog Pound Panhandle

Aug 7, 2021 was a smoky day due to wildfires in BC and Alberta. But even then the views of the farm land between Madden and the Goldenrod Hall are spectacular. The condition of this road on this stretch of the ride is excellent….not a pot hole or pavement crack in sight.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate with option for a Beginner ride by turning around at Madden

Distance: 69.4 km

Estimated time: 3.5 hours based on 20 km/hr cycling speed

Continue reading “Goldenrod, Madden, Dog Pound Panhandle”

Canmore – Lake Minnewanka Loop via the Legacy Trail (Spring Road Closure Option)

Cascade Mountain snowcapped in the Spring

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Beginner to Intermediate

Distance: 55.6 km

Estimated time: This ride takes approximately 3 hours Based on cycling speed of 20 km/hr

Continue reading “Canmore – Lake Minnewanka Loop via the Legacy Trail (Spring Road Closure Option)”

Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Route Combinations

It is possible to connect from Canmore to Lake Louise through bike pathways, low volume side roads, and the Bow Valley Parkway to experience a variety of biking options that are pretty much limitless. The following are just a few of the possibilities.

2021 Biking Season: The Bow Valley Parkway will be closed to motorized traffic for a portion of this year. This is an amazing opportunity to cycle this historic route without having to worry about sharing the road with cars. Please check with Parks Canada to verify the timing of the closure.

Start of the Bow Valley Parkway

Canmore through to Lake Louise : Two groups could leave from either end and then exchange keys as they pass on the Bow Valley Parkway. This avoids the downtime required for a car shuttle.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Distance: 80 Km

Estimated time: Based on cycling speed of 20 Km per hour it would take roughly 4 hours

Continue reading “Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Route Combinations”

Highwood Pass: Through Route to Longview; Gate to Gate to Gate; Kananaskis (North Gate) to Summit; Longview to Summit; South Gate to Summit…the options are endless

Highwood Summit – June 6, 2019 Is that snow??!!

Note: As of June 3, 2021 the road surface is not as good as in past years. For the North gate to Summit route there are sections of rough pavement as well as a few herds of mountain sheep to contend with on your swift descent. Our current recommendation, is to do this route from the South gate to the Summit as the road is in better condition. On Sunday, June 12, 2021 there were cyclists reporting that it was snowing at the summit.

Through Route to Longview – Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Expert , also an expert level of logistics and planning required!!

Distance: 98.9 km…darn, just shy of a metric century ride

Estimated time: 5 hours based on cycling speed of 20 km/hr, but you might be quite a bit faster because there is quite a long descent on this route.

Continue reading “Highwood Pass: Through Route to Longview; Gate to Gate to Gate; Kananaskis (North Gate) to Summit; Longview to Summit; South Gate to Summit…the options are endless”

Grand Valley to Bottrel : Foothills Challenge

An Iconic Landmark
Cyclists take note

Ride Statistics

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.

Continue reading “Grand Valley to Bottrel : Foothills Challenge”

Century Ride from Turner Valley

Update: until ~June 6, 2021 there is construction (repaving) of the road from Black Diamond to Longview so we would recommend avoiding this route for the next few days. But…after that, it will be a treat to cycle this section of new pavement. It does look like they are widening the shoulder so hopefully that will result in a safer cycling experience.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Distance: 101.7 km (or round it to 100 km! and call it a century ride)

Expected time: 5 hours based on 20 km / hour average cycling time

Continue reading “Century Ride from Turner Valley”

Madden-Water Valley-Cremona (Short Version)

Cycling quiet country Twp Road 292 towards the Water Valley Golf Course on a beautiful summer day. This cyclist is practising safe cycling by wearing a brightly coloured jersey and cycling close to the shoulder.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating – Intermediate

Distance – 58.7 km

Elevation Gain – 470 km

Maximum Grade – Uphill grade 3.3% at km 19.3 , downhill grade 3.2% at km 52.6 just before you turn south off Twp Rd 292 onto RR 35

Continue reading “Madden-Water Valley-Cremona (Short Version)”

Sundre to Bearberry

Heading South on the 584. A nice long smooth downhill stretch.
The BearBerry Community Hall. This is real ranch country and the General Store, which is right next door to the Community Hall, is popular with the motorcycle crowd.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate due to the distance

Distance: 84.3 km

Estimated time: 4 hours and 15 minutes based on cycling speed of 20 km/hr

Continue reading “Sundre to Bearberry”

Banff to Lake Louise

Getting organized for the Banff to Lake Louise ride : Start of Bow Valley Parkway at Vermillion Lakes
Stunning views along the Parkway

Summer/Fall 2021: Part of this route is closed to motor vehicle traffic this year which provides a unique opportunity to cycle the Bow Valley Parkway without any motor vehicle traffic. Check the Parks Canada website before heading out. As of June 25, 2021 there is some construction just where the road splits for the second time at ~km 36 past Castle Junction towards Lake Louise.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating –  Beginner or Intermediate. The majority of this ride has grades less than 2%, and as an out and back you can always turn back at any point. It is a nice gradual uphill ride but just 5 km out from Lake Louise there is a steep uphill grade to the turn off to Lake Louise, then a steep downhill grade into town.

Distance – 111 km out and back

Estimated cycling time – 5.5 hours assuming 20 km/hr

Continue reading “Banff to Lake Louise”

Mountain View – Bearspaw to Cochrane Out and Back

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating – Beginner for shorter route, Intermediate with add on.

Distance – 44.1 Km out and back (with short loop near the end), 52.3 km with Cochrane hill alternative extension for Intermediate and Expert riders

Estimated cycling duration – Just over 2 hours…

Continue reading “Mountain View – Bearspaw to Cochrane Out and Back”

Sundre Timber Trail With Optional Extension on the Burnt Timber Road

Main Route

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating – Beginner for short loop, Intermediate with the optional extension

Distance – 49.2 km circle route, option for an additional 44.0 km out and back

Estimated cycling time – 2.5 hours with out the extension

Continue reading “Sundre Timber Trail With Optional Extension on the Burnt Timber Road”

Four Hills of Banff

Map includes distance markers (in white) from the Cascade Pond parking area. Points of interest are labelled 1-4. Look at those switch backs up the Mt. Norquay road!

Ride Statistics

Mt Norquay road has been recently paved so it is a nice smooth ride up the six switch backs. Watch for mountain sheep on this steep road.

Ride Difficulty Rating – Intermediate and Expert

Elevation Gain – 848 m

Distance – 49.7 Km combination of loops and out and back routes

Estimated cycling time – 3 hours due to steep grades

Continue reading “Four Hills of Banff”