A friendly group of bikers returning from a ride on the High Rockies trail

A friendly group of bikers returning from a ride on the High Rockies trail

A couple days ago I had a very enjoyable bike ride on the first 8.9K of the High Rockies trail. To access the trail, you first have to travel for 900 metres on the Goat creek trail, starting of course at the Goat Creek parking lot. All my distances on this report will include the 900 metres.

This trail is destined to be 80 kilometres in length on completion, so before I get started, check out the excellent overview of the trail from Tony Daffern on the Kananaskis Trails blog.

Spectacular views along the High Rockies trail

Spectacular views along the High Rockies trail

I started in mid-afternoon when the weather is prone to thunder showers, and I was accompanied by some pretty loud thunder for most of the trip out. At 5K, the trail was wet, so the rain was moving ahead of me.

Passing by Goat Pond on the High Rockies trail

Passing by Goat Pond on the High Rockies trail

The High Rockies trail, at least the portion which I rode, was quite easy and that’s just the way I like it. Goat creek parking lot elevation is 1680 metres. The elevation dropped to 1637 metres soon after starting out, and the highest point on my trip was 1722 metres near the 5K mark. I only had to use granny gear once, and that was right near the end on the return as I was climbing back up to Goat Creek.

The trail is not enclosed in trees, so there are spectacular views for most of the way. You reach Goat Pond at the 7K mark, and get occasional glimpses of it for the next kilometre.

The portion of the trail I rode is situated well away from the Spray Lakes road, so you’re not bothered much by road traffic.

The portion of the High Rockies trail covered in this report. Map courtesy of Tony Daffern

The portion of the High Rockies trail covered in this report. Map courtesy of Tony Daffern

At 8.7K you’ll encounter a swampy section which has a 200-metre boardwalk, and it was at the end of the boardwalk when I had to turn around. Workers with large machinery were busy on the trail, it looked to me like they were expanding the boardwalk. You can go a lot further, but I didn’t want to disrupt the workers. The group of bikers who I met earlier had gone as far as Driftwood at 14K.

It was probably fortuitous that I turned around there because it started raining and appeared to be raining hard in the southerly direction. As I headed back north, I was soon out of the rain and into blue skies.

I was impressed with all the flood mitigation features which have been constructed along the trail. Numerous drainage ditches should help prevent wash-outs. On the other hand, don’t hit them at high speed as some of them are quite deep and the walls are steep.

This would not be a challenging trail for die-hard mountain bikers.

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Trail marker missing on Highline Trail(and bear warning)

July 22, 2016

The Highline trail at Canmore has become very popular with bikers and hikers. For those who are familiar with it, this won’t be a problem, but if you’re doing it for the first time, it could be an issue. The trail marker at the top of the east

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Nature’s beautiful sounds

July 19, 2016
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I was returning from Ross Lake along the Great Divide on my bike yesterday when I stopped to take a picture of a thick patch of paintbrush. As I was getting my camera out, I was startled

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An explosion of flavour along Three Sisters creek

July 17, 2016
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Wild strawberries are ripe and I had a small feast of them today along Three Sisters creek. Nothing compares to the intense

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Redearth Creek: Summer or winter?

July 8, 2016

I enjoyed a bike trip on Redearth Creek yesterday, all the way to the warden’s cabin. I thought it would be interesting to compare photos for identical locations summer vs winter.

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Hanging Valley

July 6, 2016
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When I did the Centennial Ridge hike a few years ago, I looked down from the top of Mt Allan into the valley below and thought that some day I’d like to come back and

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Happy Canada Day!

July 1, 2016

You can see all 28 of Alf’s photos here Rae glacier June 30, 2016

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Bear sighting in Banff

June 29, 2016
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We were thrilled to observe this black bear for about 20 minutes while it munched its way through the Sawback burn along the Bow Valley parkway yesterday(Monday).

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Nipika says good-bye to Rufus

June 27, 2016

This was posted today on Facebook: If you’ve visited Nipika Mountain Resort anytime during the past 15 years, you will have undoubtedly met Rufus and possibly skied or hiked with him.

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Guess the trail

June 24, 2016
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Does anyone know which trail this picnic table is beside? I came across it while riding my bike in Banff National Park a couple days ago.

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Wild flowers on Pigeon Mountain

June 20, 2016
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Summer is officially here and today was the longest day of the year. Starting tomorrow, the days get shorter and in four-and-a-half months we get snow again! 🙂

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Wild flowers at Bow Valley Provincial Park

June 19, 2016
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Wildflower season is in full swing at Bow Valley Provincial park. Here are a few photos from the Many Springs trail which were taken on Friday June 17.

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Marble Canyon

June 14, 2016

We went to Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park yesterday(June 13), which is an easy but extraordinarily beautiful hike. In addition to the usual sights, there was a “feature” which isn’t normally present. Can you spot it in the above photo?

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How much water is on this hike?

June 9, 2016

Question from Mike: I’m heading on out on a back country hike. We are starting at shark mountain trail head and heading to Bryant creek, from there I’m heading over the Allenby pass to Banff cave and basin. I’m wondering if there is enough water stops along the way

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Ghostly images at Johnson Lake

June 3, 2016
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Was it an apparition or my imagination? I’ve hiked around Johnson Lake many times but until today, I didn’t know about Billy Carver’s mysterious cabin. The Banff Squirrel tweeted a photo of the cabin with an apparition in the window.

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Moraine Lake Road…open for the summer

May 25, 2016

Chuck is usually the first one to ski Moraine Lake road in early November, so it’s only fitting that he is also the first to drive it in the summer. Not only that, but he hiked to Eiffel Lake and Sentinel pass. Still a fair bit of snow up there as you can see in his photos.

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Red Rock Coulee

May 5, 2016
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Nature photographer Robert Berdan states on his website that “It offers one of the most unusual landscapes you will see anywhere and if there wasn’t any grass you could just as well be visiting Mars.”

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Can you spot the rattlesnake?

May 5, 2016

Neither could I, and I almost stepped on it. It surprised me when I heard the distinctive warning rattle. It did not strike out. I’ll post some close-ups later, along with some interesting photos of wild

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Early season biking conditions on Goat creek, High Rockies

May 2, 2016
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Goat Creek is one of my all-time favourite trails, and May 1st is the earliest I’ve ever biked it.

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The wolf killers of Elk Pass

April 25, 2016
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Cowardly, insecure, inadequate men with expensive snowmobiles and weapons lookin’ to kill trophy wolves. Wow, they must be proud!

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