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  1. #1
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Calgary to Jasper Questions

    I'll be heading to Calgary soon for a tour along the Icefields Parkway. I have a couple of questions:

    1. Any suggestions for best route to exit city from Calgary airport that would put me in direction of Banff? I've tentatively selected 1A to Cochrane since it seems 1 would be busier. Is 1 or 1a better for cyclists?

    2. I'm uncertain about water sources from Banff to Jasper. Seems campgrounds along the way have wells with hand pumps; is a water filter needed or is drinkable water plentiful along this route? I prefer not to buy bottled water; if bottled water is the primary source then I'll bring a pump.

    3. Any recommendations of places/sites not to miss along the way?

  2. #2
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    I'd ride 1A - there isn't much if any shoulder, but it sees 2% of the traffic that the hwy 1 does. I've ridden 1A both directions without any issues.

    There is water all along the route both at shops and many campgrounds. I tend to carry 3 water bottles on that route and just keep 'em filled as opportunities present themselves. I've never had to filter water.

    When you get to Lake Louise stop and have a sticky bun at Laggan's Bakery. Other than that the whole Icefield's route is really nice. You'll love the scenery and there are decent shoulders most of the way.

    I live in Calgary - when are you arriving? I might be able to ride with you out of town and get you on the 1A.
    safe riding - Vik
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  3. #3
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/vikappr...7605979043585/

    Here are some Icefields Parkway photos to get you stoked for your tour...I'll be riding the parkway both ways in the second half of July. Awesome ride...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/vikappr...7604001237778/
    safe riding - Vik
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  4. #4
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Thanks for the images. Those are one reason I selected the Icefields tour this summer. Sent you a PM.

  5. #5
    Gr8 day 4 hill repeats JustMe's Avatar
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    vik, do they still run the cat tours up on the Columbia ice field??
    "Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work." - Samuel L. Clemens 1908 letter

  6. #6
    Barfin' Round the World
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustMe View Post
    vik, do they still run the cat tours up on the Columbia ice field??
    Yes, but for free you can walk partway up the edge on a trail on the south side (by the employee housing across the highway from the bus parking lot).


  7. #7
    Gr8 day 4 hill repeats JustMe's Avatar
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    That surface has obviously been groomed, unlike what the tours were back in the 60s and 70s that required the use of tracked vehicles. By grooming the surface, it doesn't seem like one would get a true appreciation for the dynamics of the glacial habitat.
    "Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work." - Samuel L. Clemens 1908 letter

  8. #8
    Barfin' Round the World
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustMe View Post
    That surface has obviously been groomed, unlike what the tours were back in the 60s and 70s that required the use of tracked vehicles. By grooming the surface, it doesn't seem like one would get a true appreciation for the dynamics of the glacial habitat.
    Ha, ha! If one wishes to get a true appreciation for the dynamics of the glacial habitat one would not attend the glacier in a bus! That thing on the glacier is from the 70's. It's an antique whose frame was originally designed to carry oilfield equipment over muskeg. It's been doing those glacier tours for a long time.

    If one wishes to prance around on a more natural glacial surface they can cycle (partly on dirt roads) 2000 km to the much bigger Frankmackie glacier east of Ketchikan, Alaska. There are no bus tours, no tourists, no grooming and if you are not careful you can fall into a 2000 foot deep crevasse:


  9. #9
    Slow mechanic ryker's Avatar
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    I'm doing this route to Jasper next week. I'll be taking the 1A through Cochrane and on to Morley. Depending on how I find the road, I'll continue on the 1A or switch to the 1.

  10. #10
    Gr8 day 4 hill repeats JustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randobarf View Post
    . . . . If one wishes to prance around on a more natural glacial surface they can cycle (partly on dirt roads) 2000 km to the much bigger Frankmackie glacier east of Ketchikan, Alaska. There are no bus tours, no tourists, no grooming and if you are not careful you can fall into a 2000 foot deep crevasse:
    I appreciate what your saying Rando, but that would be a bit out of the way for the OP who was looking for points of interest between Calgary and Jasper. I was thinking, other than the usual Banff, Lake Luise, Morraine Lake attractions, that the Columbia Ice Field might be of interest. They've obviously grown the little enterprise I recall from 1960.

    The Yellow Knife Hwy. from Jasper over to Prince George was another scenic route as I recall.
    "Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work." - Samuel L. Clemens 1908 letter

  11. #11
    Slow mechanic ryker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustMe View Post
    I was thinking, other than the usual Banff, Lake Luise, Morraine Lake attractions, that the Columbia Ice Field might be of interest. They've obviously grown the little enterprise I recall from 1960.
    I think you would find the Ice Field to be less impressive now. It advances and recedes with climate variation but, net, has receded quite a bit since people have been visiting it as a tourist atttraction (no relation to the tourists).

  12. #12
    cyclotourist
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    The Yellow Knife Hwy. from Jasper over to Prince George was another scenic route as I recall.
    Thats yellowhead,not Yellowknife. Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest territories.

    Its quite possible to fall into a crevasse on the Athabasca glacier. A few years ago a kid fell in and died and his family successfully sued the park for failing to rescue him. I don't know if they still have that trail on to the toe of the glacier anymore. Parks Canada

    In the 19th century when the route was first explored by Europeans, the glacier blocked the entire valley.

  13. #13
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randobarf View Post
    ...if you are not careful you can fall into a 2000 foot deep crevasse...
    Really?

    Back to the original query.
    From the Airport, you'll want to go north on Barlow Tr. to Country Hills Blvd.
    Turn west (L) and ride until Beddington Trail.
    Turn North (R) and Beddington turns into Simons Valley Road.
    West (L) onto 144th Ave which turns into Burma Road.
    South (L) onto Woodland Road.
    West (R) onto the 1A.
    That gets you past much of the Calgary traffic.
    Try not to do this during evening rush hour.

    At Canmore, you'll be forced onto the 1 until you're past the town of Banff. Take a right onto the 1A again until Lake Louise. Rejoin the 1 there and it's only a km or so to the turnoff for the Icefields Pkwy.

    The campground water should be fine unless otherwise posted. I always filtered or used something like Prestine to treat creek water.

  14. #14
    cyclotourist
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    #1 is not so bad if you have to be on it, it has decent shoulders, but I would definitely prefer #1A.

    I always drink the creek water, but I wouldn't recommend it. Use a filter or treat the water.

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