Bear on Goat Creek/Spray River

About 400 metres from the trailhead, looking back towards Ha-Ling peak

The Goat Creek and Spray River trails from Canmore to Banff are among my favourites for skiing and biking. Seeing a bear while biking along this beautiful trail is icing on the cake.

I started my ride from the Goat Creek trailhead above Canmore and was 11.2K into the bike ride, so officially, I was on the Spray River west trail. The bear had obviously heard me coming before I spotted it, because as I came around a bend it was already running away from me down the trail. I only saw it for about 3 seconds when it disappeared into thick forest at the side of the trail. When I first saw it, I’m estimating that it was about 50 metres away.

These bikers were heading back to the Goat Creek trailhead. They had just crossed the Goat Creek bridge and were climbing the steep, twisting, rocky hill as I was descending it. You can see from the rocks that we’ll need a lot of snow on this trail for ski season.

I can’t even tell you if it was a grizzly or a black. It was dark coloured with lighter-coloured hair around its paws. I didn’t get a look at its face at all. It all happened too fast to get a photo.

Goat Creek trail is in fine condition for biking as is the Spray River west. There were only a couple mud puddles which were easily avoided. It appears the trail maintenance work has been completed in the places where the trail was washed out from the spring rains and high creek flows.

The Spray River west trailhead near the Banff Springs hotel

Soon after leaving the trailhead I encountered a young lady on the trail who had been down to the Goat Creek bridge and was hiking back up. We chatted briefly and I asked her if she had bear spray. She said it was in her pack. I suggested that she carry it in a place where it’s accessible immediately, because it would be completely useless inside your pack. Bears move mighty quickly, and seeing the one running down the trail today just reinforces that.

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