Touring - Off road touring in Jasper and Banff?
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04-09-05, 09:39 PM
Hi, I'm hoping to do a relatively short off road bike tour this summer lasting approximately 3 weeks. Is anyone familiar with Jasper + Banff parks in Canada? I was wondering whether they had a good bike trail system that would allow me to do a loop from Banff to Jasper and back. I would really like to stick to off road trails, but I know many parks do not allow bikes. Can anyone recommend a destination for this type of touring? I'm pretty familiar with mountain biking as well as camping, and I'd like to put the two activities together in a beautiful place. So, I'm all ears, I'd really appreciate any ideas or advice. Thanks.
three beer buzz
04-09-05, 10:01 PM
Not gonna happen. Banff is pretty much off limmits to bikes. have a real good look at the topo of that area. no way you could pack three weeks of crap with you though there, trust me I've done some big ride int hem parts. not many towns (like none) along the way to re-stock.
ya got to do your home work before you can play in those hills.
I'd look in to the great divide trail (or what ever it called south of the border) for that sort of riding.
04-10-05, 08:15 AM
The National Parks (Banff Jasper Kootenay Yoho) don't allow off-road cycling, with the exception of a few designated trails.
My suggestion would be to get out of the national parks. Off road cycling is allowed on provincial land and provincial parks in Alberta and B.C. Try the Kananaskis valley, south east of Banff and the network of logging roads in British Columbia.
Be aware there are no places to resupply, you would be pretty much on your own. Plus it is bear country. Nevertheless I know people have done some fairly lengthy off road trips, for example crossing the rockies from east to west south of Banff Park.
04-10-05, 08:28 AM
Thanks for the info. I'm now looking at doing part of the Great Divide route, starting around Helena, MT and ending in Banff (there is now an extended map from the GD to Banff (http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/greatdivide.cfm?pg=detail&s=Canada) ). If I have a few days left over, I could do some hiking and have a look around Banff. That sounds like a more reasonable route, and according to adventure cycling, there should be a town every 4-5 days so I could restock. Any more suggestions?
04-10-05, 02:52 PM
TransRockies Challenge (http://www.transrockies.com/the_race/stages.html)
This link takes you to the route used by the TransRockies Challenge, a 600 km mountain bike race across the Continental Divide. This may give you some ideas of distances between places to restock your supplies.
Banff Trails (http://www.canadianrockies.net/banff/biking.html)
There are a limited number of trails that do permit bikes within Banff National Park. Check the link above for more info.
04-10-05, 04:56 PM
Actually - Jasper and Banff allow far more off-road cycling than do US national parks.
There are a number of excellent routes on old fire roads that have become more trail than road over the years. Look at Athabasca River Trail to Hamber Provincial Park in Jasper. Also there's the Spray River Loop south of Banff townsite. There's far more mountain biking available in Kananaskis provincial Park south of Banff - and superb biking in BC in the Elk lakes, Elk River, Bull River, and Whiteswan areas. You can base a BC tour out of Fernie which is very cycle friendly. The list goes on and on, but you need to get more familiar with the parks that you are at present.
04-10-05, 10:44 PM
We use the Backroads map books by Mussio Ventures for help with planning our off road routes in BC and Alberta. Here's a couple of links to their series of map books:
Kootenay area in BC (http://www.backroadmapbooks.com/index-bm.php?bookId=vol4®ion=BC)
Southwest Alberta (http://www.backroadmapbooks.com/index-bm.php?bookId=swalb®ion=AB)
The opportunities for spectacular off road mountain bike touring in BC are astounding. Get yer bike here and come and ride.
three beer buzz
04-11-05, 08:15 AM
Back roads are still roads are they not. I was thinking the quest was for truely off road, you know, trails. if you want logging roads with a bit of patch work track, thats another story.
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