This was a “filling in the blanks” trip which I did on June 16. I’ve previously skied to Skogan pass summit from Ribbon creek, and hiked the other end as far as the Pigeon mountain turnoff.
This bike excursion showed me the remainder of the trail which I’d never before seen. The entire traverse is 19.4K with a net elevation gain of 640 metres.
When setting out from the trailhead at Banff Gate Resort near Dead Man’s Flats, I didn’t know if the middle section of the trail was passable due to the flooding damage of 2013. Luckily, I met two bikers soon after starting out who had just done the whole trip both ways and reassured me that the trail was in good shape.
I met a lot of hikers who had been up to Pigeon Mountain to observe the plethora of flowers which are in bloom at this time of year. I didn’t make the detour to see the flowers as I had only my biking shoes and no sticks. It was also quite late in the day when I started out.
I saw plenty of flowers along the trail, however, including paintbrush, shooting stars, wild roses, and forget-me-nots. I didn’t see much wildlife but observed bear scat at least a dozen times. A deer ran across the trail in front of me as I was rocketing down the other side.
The trail bypasses the summit, but it’s only a further 200 metres with 20 metres of elevation gain to go to the top. I much prefer visiting the summit on my skis in the winter, but this was a pleasant bike ride. I’m no daredevil on a bike, and it took me just as long to descend the 10.2k from the summit as it does on skis – 35 minutes.
One advantage of biking over skiing is that I don’t have to pry my legs out of the snowplow position when I reach the bottom!
You can end this trip at a number of trailheads(or, conversely, begin it) including Ribbon Creek, Nakiska ski area, or Stoney trailhead. As I mentioned already, I started at the trailhead near Dead Man’s Flats which is commonly referred to as the Banff Gate Resort. It’s also the trailhead for Centennial Ridge and Wind Valley.
In the photo gallery, I’ve included some photos of the flowers you can expect to see on Pigeon Mountain. I took these a few years back. I’ve also included a couple winter photos of the summit.