The Goat Creek/Spray River trail from Canmore to Banff is surprisingly dry. My tires didn’t pick up a speck of mud on this 18.9K trip which is one of my all-time favourites for biking and skiing, especially if I can get someone to pick me up at the Banff trailhead and go to the hot springs or EddieBurger afterwards.
The distance markers on this trail are quite inaccurate. It’s only 900 metres to the Banff boundary but the maps say 1.8K. A trail crew was doing some maintenance at the boundary. The kiosk had fallen over with rotted posts, so those were shored up and the sign is back in place. Further down the trail, a large deadfall was chainsawed and cleared from the trail.
Starting at the Goat Creek trailhead, it’s 7K to the Goat Creek bridge with a net elevation drop of 170 metres. Thereafter, the trail is rolling with plenty of ups and downs, and a few sharp turns,which are a lot of fun. I was in granny gear for one of the climbs.
Bear scat was on the trail about 2K from the start.
When you reach the junction at 13.4K where the Spray river trail divides into an east or west leg, I took the west side. The east side is probably a little easier, as it is a lot flatter. It takes you down to the golf course, but there is a connector which will take you to the west side trail as you near the end.
There’s a new kiosk at the Banff Springs west side trailhead, and the ramp for unloading horses has been removed, although a hitching post remains.