Eastern BC/Western Alberta trip planning for this coming July- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Eastern BC/Western Alberta trip planning for this coming July

    Hello All,

    I originally posted the in the general travel section a few weeks ago, but haven't gotten any response. I'll try here in the regional forum hoping that local experts will share their wisdom.

    The current thinking is that my wife and I will take a 6 week trip this summer out West to do some riding, sight seeing and visit family. We'll probably start out in Eastern Washington, and head North from there. We have a small travel trailer which will be our base of operations for the duration.

    The general plan is for her to fly into Portland, OR, visit with our daughter and boyfriend and then have them drive up to Eastern Washington to meet me. I'll have departed a week earlier and driven XC with the bikes and trailer, with a few stops along the way (Cable, WI, and the Black Hills). Once we're together we hope to set up camp for 5-7 days in a given location and wander from there. Ideally, we'd be able to stay in a nice campground frequented by other riders and close to the trails. For trails, I like technical XC stuff, my wife likes flowy cruisers, so a selection of each would be nice. She also likes to hammer out scenic road miles, I am less enthralled with that, but will have a CX bike along in the event.... A XC race might be interesting and finally, I am also the main trail builder in my town, so would love to chip in for a work day or two to see how it is done elsewhere.

    We are in the very early stages of planning, so basically anything (within the laws of physics) is possible. I am specifically looking for suggestions for good riding between Eastern Washington and Edmonton, where I am thinking my wife will fly out of at the end of July. Also, I'd like specific recommendations on nice campgrounds that can accommodate our 23' trailer, but is not the typical RV park. We are fine without hookups, would like the sites to feel a bit secluded and would love to have other riders around. Suggestions? Input?

    Thanks,
    Ward
    Putney, VT

  2. #2
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    If you come to Edmonton, private message me. Edmonton has the largest river valley parkland in North America and we have a hell of a lot of single track to ride! I can't really offer much on the RV side of things, but I can definitely help you with some ride planning in Edmonton.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the offer, if I am not totally fried after 5 weeks of riding, I'd love to get the tour!

    Ward

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYj_...ature=youtu.be

    The video really doesn't show the trail topography very well, but it was a great day!

  5. #5
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    Those look like some fun trails! Where are all the rocks?

    Ward

    Quote Originally Posted by jkirkpatri View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYj_...ature=youtu.be

    The video really doesn't show the trail topography very well, but it was a great day!

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    Roots, we have lots of roots. No rocks.

  7. #7
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    If you're looking at western Alberta near the US border, then Canmore and Kananaskis country are worthwhile stops. There's some epic rides in the east slopes of the Rockies around Canmore and Kananaskis country. Canmore Nordic Centre has a variety of blue intermediate single track, including some longer flowier trails, and then there are a variety of "in the wild" trails around or near Canmore, like Highline. Canmore is a nice mountain town to hang out in, some good restaurants (and some not so good, but hey, that happens).

    Canmore Nordic Centre trail map

    Canmore Townsite Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks

    Kananaskis Country Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks

    Barrier Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks

    Powderface Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks

    West Bragg Creek Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks

    Moose Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks


    And then you could cross the Continental Divide headed West on Highway 1 and wander over to say, Golden or Revelstoke in BC (2-4 hours of driving). Both have a compact downtown. Revy has a broader choice of nice eateries.

    Moonrakers Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks

    Mt. Macpherson Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks

    Revelstoke, British Columbia Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks

    ..and then you could head south toward the US border to Rossland, BC (most of a day of scenic travel)

    Rossland, British Columbia Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks

    Red , Rossland Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks

    Monte Christo - KC Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  8. #8
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    Thanks Rockyuphill, that is a great outline for an itinerary. I was thinking of crossing the border and working my way North to Edmonton. Airfare to the NE US is pretty good out of there. My wife needs to be back to work on August 1st. I'll take three days or so to bomb home in the truck across 16 to Winnipeg, then 17 to Montreal. From Montreal, I am 3 hours from my door. I'll likely be heading out from visiting family in Moscow, ID on July 5th or so. I could take 395 up to Rossland, then up to Revelstoke, then over to Canmore. That leaves me a lot closer to Calgary then Edmonton, so what do you recommend North up 93?

    Thanks,
    Ward

  9. #9
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    That clockwise direction would work too. You'll miss the Edmonton Fringe Festival which runs Aug 11-21, and it would be a shame to be in Edmonton and not spend an evening or two along Whyte Ave during the Fringe Festival.

    Add some variety of scenery and shorten the drive, take HWY #6 up to Nakusp and then north on HWY 23 to Galena and grab the Upper Lakes Ferry to pop across to Shelter Bay which puts you on HWY 23 along the west side of Upper Arrow Lakes, and that takes you 40-45 minutes to drive right to the Mt.Macpherson trails by Revelstoke. It is a much shorter drive and includes a 15-20 minute ferry ride.

    Upper Arrow Lakes Ferry Schedule
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    That clockwise direction would work too. You'll miss the Edmonton Fringe Festival which runs Aug 11-21, and it would be a shame to be in Edmonton and not spend an evening or two along Whyte Ave during the Fringe Festival.

    Add some variety of scenery and shorten the drive, take HWY #6 up to Nakusp and then north on HWY 23 to Galena and grab the Upper Lakes Ferry to pop across to Shelter Bay which puts you on HWY 23 along the west side of Upper Arrow Lakes, and that takes you 40-45 minutes to drive right to the Mt.Macpherson trails by Revelstoke. It is a much shorter drive and includes a 15-20 minute ferry ride.

    Upper Arrow Lakes Ferry Schedule
    That is perfect, I was wondering about that ferry. I've taken some really small ones in the Canadian Maritimes, so was wondering about the trailer. Unfortunately, the Fringe Festival will have to be missed, it turns out getting 5 weeks off is epic enough!

    Thanks,
    Ward

  11. #11
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    Fernie is worth a stop if you can swing it, miles of singletrack (both up and down, no boring fire access road climbs here!) all accessible by a short ride from town (shuttles not needed, leave your car parked).
    Fernie, British Columbia Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks
    There is an awesome campground at our Provincial park, but you need to reserve early - Mount Fernie Provincial Park - BC Parks and a new Fernie RV Resort, not as secluded or treed though.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartinS View Post
    Fernie is worth a stop if you can swing it, miles of singletrack (both up and down, no boring fire access road climbs here!) all accessible by a short ride from town (shuttles not needed, leave your car parked).
    Fernie, British Columbia Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks
    There is an awesome campground at our Provincial park, but you need to reserve early - Mount Fernie Provincial Park - BC Parks and a new Fernie RV Resort, not as secluded or treed though.
    Thanks Martin,
    We snowboarded for a week in Fernie a number of years ago, and loved the town and setting. I'll add that one to the list. Maybe we'll do 5 days at each location to get a bit more diversity in. We'll never be able to explore any of the areas adequately, but I know I'll enjoy every moment of riding.
    Also thanks for the campground info. I am hoping to have a firm itinerary by the end of the month, and will reserve campground space when possible.

    Regards,
    Ward

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    That clockwise direction would work too. You'll miss the Edmonton Fringe Festival which runs Aug 11-21, and it would be a shame to be in Edmonton and not spend an evening or two along Whyte Ave during the Fringe Festival.

    Add some variety of scenery and shorten the drive, take HWY #6 up to Nakusp and then north on HWY 23 to Galena and grab the Upper Lakes Ferry to pop across to Shelter Bay which puts you on HWY 23 along the west side of Upper Arrow Lakes, and that takes you 40-45 minutes to drive right to the Mt.Macpherson trails by Revelstoke. It is a much shorter drive and includes a 15-20 minute ferry ride.

    Upper Arrow Lakes Ferry Schedule
    You can break up the drive to Revelstoke with a trail ride in New Denver. Butter or Alamo are the obvious choices.

  14. #14
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    Ward, are you considering dropping down to Bend or Oakridge before heading up north? Lots of potential there.

    I would recommend Mt St Helens Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham Trail and Lewis River Trail. Good camping along Lewis River. Winthrop/Mazama has some interesting riding as well as some spectacular road riding on Hwy 20 up to Washington Pass. Camping at Pearrygin State Park or along Hwy 20 west of Mazama. Kettle Crest on hwy 20 in NE Wachington is a great ridge ride with camping nearby.

  15. #15
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    Last year was a very bad forest fire season in many parts of Washington and BC. Record number of fires and poor air quality in much of the Pacific Northwest. If we have a repeat of last year, backcountry closures may also be in effect. Keep this in mind when trip planning and prepare to be flexible.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by telebiker View Post
    Ward, are you considering dropping down to Bend or Oakridge before heading up north? Lots of potential there.

    I would recommend Mt St Helens Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham Trail and Lewis River Trail. Good camping along Lewis River. Winthrop/Mazama has some interesting riding as well as some spectacular road riding on Hwy 20 up to Washington Pass. Camping at Pearrygin State Park or along Hwy 20 west of Mazama. Kettle Crest on hwy 20 in NE Wachington is a great ridge ride with camping nearby.
    I've ridden in both Oakridge and Bend, my best friend from my day's in Oregon lives in Bend, so he's toured me around quite a bit. It seems like they're always updating things, so if I had the time, a revisit would be nice.

    Thanks,
    Ward

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by telebiker View Post
    Last year was a very bad forest fire season in many parts of Washington and BC. Record number of fires and poor air quality in much of the Pacific Northwest. If we have a repeat of last year, backcountry closures may also be in effect. Keep this in mind when trip planning and prepare to be flexible.
    I was aware of that last summer, I am hoping for everyone's sake, this (or any year) isn't a repeat. It is an excellent reminder to always keep some flexibility in the mix.

    Thanks,
    Ward

  18. #18
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    No one has addressed the more Northern area, what is the riding like in Jasper?

    Thanks,
    Ward

  19. #19
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    This past November, the club I ride with went to Moab and we rode for nine days straight. St. George, Moab, and Fruita were all ridden. After the trip, we all agreed that the riding was one of the coolest experiences we've had on a bike, but we also agreed that if we had to chose one over the other, we'd take Jasper.

    Jasper is well worth a visit!

    If you're limited for time, the three classic trails in Jasper are Valley of the Five Lakes (with the Wabasso extension), Saturday Night Lake Loop (aka 20 Mile Loop), and the Overlander trail.

  20. #20
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    As much as I love Jasper I would pick Utah for riding every time. Much more trails and variety than Jasper has. That said if you are in the area, don't miss Jasper. The riding is fun and the Park is spectacular. Camp at Whistlers, just outside of the townsite and you can do all the above mentioned trails without driving. Jasper❤️❤️❤️
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  21. #21
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    Jasper riding is more XC than a lot places in BC, but amazingly fun and scenic. Valley of the 5 lakes was single speedable for me as was most of Overlander. Not as many hikers on Overlander, VOFL is vert popular with hikers, for good reason.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

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  22. #22
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    Great, thanks for the input on Jasper. I was working on trying to lay out the trip yesterday, and there is way more great riding than days. I may have to be a bit less ambitious, seeing as I want to make sure that there is a balance between site seeing, cultural/historical visits and riding. I figure I'll ride most days in the AM, and site see in the afternoon. A couple days a week, I'll try an epic of some sort.

    At this point, I was thinking of driving up to Rossland/Nelson and camping in the area the first week. The following week I'd head to Revelstoke/Golden, then on to Canmore. While in Canmore we'd hit Calgary one day, and see Banff again. From there we'd take a scenic drive up to Jasper, then finish in Edmonton. This misses Fernie, but it is a bit awkward to fit it in the flow the driving route.

    Thanks everyone for the input. Please feel free to continue contributing thoughts.

    Regards,
    Ward

  23. #23
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    If you end up here in Edmonton, I'd be willing to take you two out, or show you what trails to take.

  24. #24
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    The Banff townsite is a total shit show and ruins the Natoinal Park experience. Jasper is not nearly as developed.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for “I suck at brake control.” Here’s a free tip: get better."

  25. #25
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    Thanks for theoffer, I'll PM you when we get closer.

    Ward

    Quote Originally Posted by jkirkpatri View Post
    If you end up here in Edmonton, I'd be willing to take you two out, or show you what trails to take.

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    Ward - your post is timely!

    the wife and I are registered for the Golden 24 on June 20th (I'm doing the 24hr and she is doing the 8hr). All told we have 10 days out west for the adventure, arriving 3 days before the race and with about a week afterwards of more riding (assuming my legs will still function!).

    I have a friend we will visit likely before the race in Invermere but after the race we will be looking for trails and more trails to ride and explore. Basically the area that rockyuphill suggested if I have my geography correct.

    We will be camping as well, but no trailer, I'm Fedex'ing our camping gear ahead of us as we will be flying across (coming from Toronto).

    Anyway, thread subscribed, I'm interested to keep reading the suggestions from everyone!

    If you had thoughts of hitting those new trails they are building in Duluth you could swing south through Michigan and then across the 401 to Montreal... if so, I could take you through our local trails here just north of Toronto, I could promise you a full day of some nice flowy trails with a bit of technical stuff thrown in, although nothing compared to what you will get out West I'm sure.

    Either way, sounds like an awesome trip!!!

    D
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

  27. #27
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    D,
    I just checked the Golden 24 website, I wish that was happening during our trip! On my itinerary, I was thinking of visiting Cable, WI and had considered Duluth as well. I'll need to keep revisiting my plan as I learn more. I have a pretty good sense at this point of what I want to do, but I don't want to "over plan", just enough to know we'll have some nice camping and access to sweet trails! The rest will come together in it's own time....It always seems like great opportunities pop up once your rolling, maybe a stop in Toronto is one of them.

    Thanks,
    Ward

    Quote Originally Posted by osteo View Post
    Ward - your post is timely!

    the wife and I are registered for the Golden 24 on June 20th (I'm doing the 24hr and she is doing the 8hr). All told we have 10 days out west for the adventure, arriving 3 days before the race and with about a week afterwards of more riding (assuming my legs will still function!).

    I have a friend we will visit likely before the race in Invermere but after the race we will be looking for trails and more trails to ride and explore. Basically the area that rockyuphill suggested if I have my geography correct.

    We will be camping as well, but no trailer, I'm Fedex'ing our camping gear ahead of us as we will be flying across (coming from Toronto).

    Anyway, thread subscribed, I'm interested to keep reading the suggestions from everyone!

    If you had thoughts of hitting those new trails they are building in Duluth you could swing south through Michigan and then across the 401 to Montreal... if so, I could take you through our local trails here just north of Toronto, I could promise you a full day of some nice flowy trails with a bit of technical stuff thrown in, although nothing compared to what you will get out West I'm sure.

    Either way, sounds like an awesome trip!!!

    D

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