Vernon to Calgary.. what to ride?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Vernon to Calgary.. what to ride?

    Planning a summer trip early, got the time now so might as well. Will be in Whistler for a couple of days, going to ride bike park and rent a DH bike, otherwise I'll be on a 120mm Trek Fuel EX8. After Whistler driving to Vernon and spending a couple of days there, is it worth bothering with Silverstar bike park after Whistler bike park? Or better to do some XC rides? Any recommendations would be great, I don't know if there are any "must do"s in the area? I'll be visiting family in Vernon so I can't take days away from Vernon to add to Whistler Then I'll have 3 days to get to Calgary from Vernon.

    Plan A is stop in Revelstoke for Frisby Ridge, then Highline trail at Lake Louise (I've been before, hiking), Cox Hill in Kananaskis before heading to Calgary. Are those good choices? I could swap one of those out for a ride in Golden if that's a better spot? Looking for scenery/alpine rides that kind of thing. Can do shuttles but driving a 2wd sedan.

    Plan B would be to go south to Rossland, ride Seven Summits, then to Fernie for a day, and back up to Cox Hill before heading to Calgary. Not sure what their "don't miss" trails are Fernie either? This way is 6 hours more driving.

    Any advice would be great!

  2. #2
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    Why don't you stay overnight and do two days at Revy? Mt Macphersen Is worth it. I would probably pick it over Frisby.

  3. #3
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    Sure I could but it would mean dropping one of the other rides, I have time for 3 rides in 3 days. I just want to get the most out of it so hoping people who've done it all seen it all can throw in their two cents so I hit the best highlights





    Quote Originally Posted by rlee View Post
    Why don't you stay overnight and do two days at Revy? Mt Macphersen Is worth it. I would probably pick it over Frisby.

  4. #4
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    I did a trip like this in reverse a couple months ago (sans Whistler)! Silver Star is a fun mountain, I recommend it. Lines don't exist at the lift, the weather is generally perfect (sunny and mid-20's in August), and the trails are well built. For AM stuff in the area, I've only really spent time at Three Blind Mice, which is between Kelowna and Penticton. It's a good time but there's probably better riding to be had closer to Kelowna and Vernon.

    I'd personally go with plan A, even though Rossland is one of my favourite places (there's some really good riding to be had outside of Seven Summits too!). I haven't ridden Revelstoke before, I meant to, but I've heard Frisby Ridge is dope from people that I trust.

    Golden is fun. I rode LSD on my trailbike and I spent 45 minutes convinced I was going to die as I picked my way down some steeps that were just a little too intense for me and my bike (with 140mm of travel). But it linked up with the Canyon Creek trail and that was really nice. Highly recommended. If you spend a day in Golden, make sure you pick up a trail map from their visitor centre, I had a hell of a time navigating without one and got fairly lost. Also, bring bug spray.

    I haven't done the Highline Trail, but I've spent time in Banff (there are some really nice trails around the townsite that are definitely lap-able) and the Canmore Nordic Centre is a good time. Lots of diversity in trails (which are really well maintained) and the whole area is unbelievably gorgeous. Every time I'm there my brain kind of breaks trying to comprehend the size of the mountains.

    Finally, the Jumping Pound Ridge/Cox Hill ride is a mixed bag. Currently, it's about a 17-18km pedal up a logging road to get to the trailhead. If you can shuttle it, do that (contingent on the Powderface Trail being opened by Parks Canada - it was damaged pretty badly in 2013 flooding). It's ridiculously pretty the whole ride but there are some weird details along the way. So the whole area is crown land, which means people can hunt/bring guns there. Summarily, a lot of trail signs have been shot up. Behold! https://instagram.com/p/6OmfcoKwt5/
    It's kind of nerve-wracking because those signs are important. If you're using Trailforks as a resource to plan these rides, definitely look for a topo map of the area. The 2km beginning to the trail proper ascends like three or four hundred meters. It's the dumbest climb I've ever done, I'm even dumber for thinking I could have done it 1x10. Bring a granny gear/be ready to push. When you get to the top it feels like you can see most of Alberta. Continuing on, you descend Jumping Pound and then climb Cox Hill (once again, expect 3-400 meters of vertical). The climb lasts way longer than the descent (go figure). The view from Cox Hill is ridiculous. 10/10. Then you get a gnarly 7km descent filled with pretty exposed single track, loose shale, and big hunks of granite (be careful with your derailleur, I smashed mine repeatedly). It is incredibly fun and makes any amount of suffering totally worth it. Definitely ticks off the "scenery" prerequisite.

    Bring bear spray, food, tons of water, something that doesn't require a cell signal to emit a distress call, and all the things you need to fix your bike because that ride is far from help. Here's the data I got from the full loop via Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/366171373

    Also around Calgary is the ever-so-popular Moose Mountain and West Bragg Creek. If you're feeling a little worn out after Revelstoke and the Banff area, I highly recommend West Bragg (Merlin View in particular). It's got flowy trails, beautiful views, and it's not as physically taxing as some of the riding in the surrounding area. The trails aren't super techy though, if that's something you're really into.

    Everything should be accessible with your vehicle. Jumping Pound/Cox Hill is sort of weird to get to because it seems like it's in the middle of nowhere. I kept thinking my GPS was wigging out, but I kept following it and it was right.

    I did a ton of research for my trip, so if you have any specific questions I might be able to help you out with info that I gathered!

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the advice, guess you didn't do T4 in Golden?

    For Cox I'd be able to get a shuttle, assuming powderface road is open next season, and it's ok for a 2wd sedan. So according the bike pirate it's best ridden south to north from jumpingpound ridge trailhead to dawson campground. so ideally my wife will drop me off and meet me at dawson, i'm assuming this would be about a 3hr ride?

    I looked at Moose mountain but it doesn't seem like anything special that it would be worth devoting one of my precious few days to. I'm really looking for epic scenic rides, it's something that simply doesn't exist out east where as bike parks and wooded trails are plentiful.

    So there's no cell service whatsoever? Any suggestions on alternative means of communication?

  6. #6
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    Frisby doesn't open until July 15, later if it's been a good snow year. It's a victim of its own popularity and will need some maintenance after getting beat down during a particularly wet long weekend. Keystone is a better ride IMHO.

    Best way to ride JP-Cox is to pedal 7km to the north branch of Jumpingpound, climb to Jumpingpound summit as an out and back, then finish off with cox. More singletrack, more alpine than the shuttle route.

    T4 would be a little much for a 120mm bike. Otherwise lots of great riding in Vernon, Salmon arm, revelstoke, golden, moose, but you seem interested more in the alpine gems!

  7. #7
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    Thanks I'll be in the area mid August. And yes I'm definitely most interested in alpine gems. At home I ride 90% XC and only do about 6-7 days of bike park/DH a season. I think on this trip after a couple of days in Whistler and maybe a day at Silverstar that will be enough bike park for me. I'd say I'm a strong XC rider but only an intermediate DH rider at best. And that's by east coast standards.

    Regarding Frisby vs Keystone, I saw this thread Revy Riding - North Shore Mountain Biking Forums which is why I figured Frisby was the one to do, but I guess it's not so cut and dry? I wouldn't have time for two days.

    Are there any alpine gems in Fernie? Is 7 summits in Rossland worthy of the hype it gets? I'm willing to do the detour if it is, or if it's a better ride than highline from Moraine lake. I know the scenery around Moraine/LL is awesome but I've been several times before doing some scrambling so I don't know that the bike ride would add much. I like the area so figured it gave me an excuse to go back

  8. #8
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    Guess that's that, thanks!

  9. #9
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    I would recommend 7 Summits.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by marving View Post
    Thanks for the advice, guess you didn't do T4 in Golden?

    For Cox I'd be able to get a shuttle, assuming powderface road is open next season, and it's ok for a 2wd sedan. So according the bike pirate it's best ridden south to north from jumpingpound ridge trailhead to dawson campground. so ideally my wife will drop me off and meet me at dawson, i'm assuming this would be about a 3hr ride?

    I looked at Moose mountain but it doesn't seem like anything special that it would be worth devoting one of my precious few days to. I'm really looking for epic scenic rides, it's something that simply doesn't exist out east where as bike parks and wooded trails are plentiful.

    So there's no cell service whatsoever? Any suggestions on alternative means of communication?
    epic ride is up moose mountain down the backside and then over to jumping pound ridge then out cox hill... more like a 4 to 6 hour ride.

    To communicate you have to have satellite or whistle really loud.

    Powderface trail is a full width municipal gravel road if open...Parks Canada is not the land manger.

  11. #11
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    I will just add that there is driving between these locations and some of might take you 3-6 hours depending on where you are headed.
    They are not like an hours or less to any of these locations.........
    Otherwise you will spend more time driving then riding.......just my 0.02 cents

  12. #12
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    There is some wicked XC rides in that area. I would suggest

    1. Vernon: Stone Free climb to Big Ed. Raced those two last year in single track six. Super long single track descent followed by one of the best descent I have ever done.

    2. Revy: Frisby is an awesome trail but if you like riding an XC bike you cannot beat McPherson. The single track found there is unique and some of the best in the world.

    3. Revy: Skip Frisby do Keystone Standard basin. Better views, better trail, but longer drive.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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