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Route across Canada - Edmonton -- Rouyn

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Route across Canada - Edmonton -- Rouyn

Old 01-25-21, 03:00 PM
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Route across Canada - Edmonton -- Rouyn

Considering riding from home (Quebec) to Canada's west coast (since travel options for this Summer aren't looking stellar).

Routing should be trivial because there are only a handful of options. Unfortunately, many testimonials suggest that many segments are dangerous (no proper shoulder, heavy truck traffic). But I also read that the situation was about to improve (i.e. shoulders being paved), so it is perhaps not an issue anymore.

I would probably prefer to ride a northern route, and perhaps use forest roads to avoid as much traffic as reasonably possible.

Last, I've searched for stats on bike casualties on the TransCanadian Highway, and returned pretty much empty handed, suggesting that the "Courage Highway" was named after Terry Fox rather than after audacious bike tourers. (or to put it differently, riding these roads isn't all that bad)

AFAIK there's no interprovincial bus service since Greyhound has pulled the plug. Train might be one way to bypass really awful road segments.

If you can shed some light, I'd appreciate
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Old 01-25-21, 03:55 PM
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My wife and I have ridden from Vancouver, BC to Toronto, ON. We"cheated" a little and cut across part of the U.S.: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. However, we did ride from the west coast to Winnipeg, MB mostly on the Trans Canadian Highway before dropping south to Fargo, ND. We hoped to finish Toronto to Halifax last summer, but that did not happen. It is still on our "to do" list.

Highway 1 was a great road to ride on. The shoulders are good (at least on the section we rode), drivers were courteous, and there are abundant campgrounds. As you get into BC there are some alternatives to consider.

I recommend finding a way to include the Icefield Parkway (Jasper to Banff) in Alberta in your route. Take the Bow Valley Parkway from Canmore to Banff.


This is is a good site to check out: Biking Across Canada This is another: crazyguyonabike

Icefield Parkway

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Old 01-25-21, 05:03 PM
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My info is old, but I did a good portion of the Yellowhead Highway between Edmonton and Winnipeg as part of a trip across Canada (Fairbanks AK to St John's NF). I also did other parts of Yellowhead from Cassier Highway to Icefields Parkway as part of a North/South trip across the Americas.

At that point, parts in AB from Edmonton east were mostly divided highway four lanes. Not the most picturesque but otherwise fine with good shoulders. MB had less in way of shoulders than SK but otherwise alright. So wouldn't recommend it as the most scenic but it was fairly direct and reasonable for my riding.

On my riding west of Edmonton, I remember some shorter segments without shoulders e.g. one or two bits between Vanderhoof and Prince George but other parts ok (and paralleled by the train as an alternative).

To avoid traffic you can probably do better than the Yellowhead with some smaller roads, but as a general route it worked fairly well for me.
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Old 01-25-21, 08:19 PM
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What they said.

The Trans Can west of Winnipeg has wide shoulders. While some may not like the traffic part, all of that traffic passes outside your travel lane (the shoulder).
In comparison, some auxillary routes have little/no shoulder and, even though there may be less traffic, all of it passes through your lane. They/you have to adjust to avoid collision.
One stretch I did south of Brandon (Hwy2/13) had a deep loose gravel shoulder for about 100km's. Fortunately I travelled it on Sunday with light traffic or I would have had to pull off and come to a complete stop every time a truck passed.

I've done Jasper west and south. Both are fine shoulders all the way to Kamloops.

The only really dumb part of the trip is Kamloops itself. You aren't allowed to ride a small portion of Hwy1 through it so you need to take a convoluted detour that adds Km's to the trip. A pita.

The Okanagan route to me is a little sketchy at points because the road sometimes has a narrow shoulder and traffic is heavy. The area around Kelowna is terribly congested.

The Coquihalla (Hwy 5) looks sketchy because the speed limit is 120 but again, there are shoulders. Once in a while they narrow but usually on the up hill where there are three lanes and the trucks are going slow. I think I've ridden it 5 or 6 times at least. For a challenging day trip I'll ride up to the summit from the west.

The Fraser Canyon route (Hwy 1) is a little sketchy, again because of some narrow shoulders and heavy traffic.

Just one POV but...

From Winnipeg, I might look at Hwy 1 (or parallel roads) to Calgary/Banff.
1a to Lake Louise. Icefield Parkway to Jasper.

Hwy 5 (Yellowhead) to Kamloops.
5a through the Nicola Valley to Merrit.

Coldwater road to Kingsvale area of the Coquihalla.
Coke to the Othello turnoff and back road to Hope.

A variant for the above section from Merrit would be south on the 5a to Aspen Grove and continuing on the 5a to Princeton. From Princeton through Manning Park on the Crowsnest (Hwy 3) to Hope. This is a quieter route but still with good shoulders.

Hope to Mission on Hwy 7 (North Fraser).
Cross over the Fraser to Abbotsford and backroads to Tsawassen.
Ferry to Swartz Bay and on to Victoria (side trip through Gulf Islands if time allows).

Last edited by Happy Feet; 01-25-21 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 01-25-21, 08:43 PM
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Somewhere in Sask



Looking down the Icefield Parkway



Fraser Canyon near Lytton



Yellowhead Pass, just west of Jasper (Headwaters of the Fraser River)



Coquihalla south of Kamloops



Hwy 1 between Canmore and Banff




Gulf Islands

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Old 01-25-21, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
This is is a good site to check out: Biking Across Canada This is another: crazyguyonabike
Actually, it is reading Biking Across Canada that got me concerned
Originally Posted by Doug64
Icefield Parkway
Definitely
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Old 01-25-21, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet
Somewhere in Sask
Looking down the Icefield Parkway
Fraser Canyon near Lytton
Yellowhead Pass, just west of Jasper (Headwaters of the Fraser River)
Coquihalla south of Kamloops
Hwy 1 between Canmore and Banff
Gulf Islands
great pictures.

And thanks for the routing suggestions. I am not worried about the Edmonton - Victoria segment. It is the (more or less) Sudbury->Edmonton that is not looking that great
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Old 01-25-21, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
great pictures.

And thanks for the routing suggestions. I am not worried about the Edmonton - Victoria segment. It is the (more or less) Sudbury->Edmonton that is not looking that great
There used to be some concern about the route around Winnipeg (especially east) but I know they repaved the west bound lanes in 2016. I rode them brand new with no traffic for about 80km's.

I know nothing about Ontario.

I will say, when I researched my trip almost all the sites described some convoluted route through the prairies to try to avoid Hwy 1, as if it were a death trap. No where close to it. They apparently all just copied each other as an easy way to add a route description without actually riding it.

I used google maps a lot, clicking on sections for street views and zoomed in to see shoulders, what towns looked like, services etc... It's a pretty cool feature.
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Old 01-26-21, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet
Somewhere in Sask . . . . . . .

Looking down the Icefield Parkway . . . . . . .

Fraser Canyon near Lytton . . . . . . .

Yellowhead Pass, just west of Jasper (Headwaters of the Fraser River) . . . . . . .

Coquihalla south of Kamloops . . . . . . .

Hwy 1 between Canmore and Banf . . . . . .

Gulf Islands . . . . . . . .
Dale,
Great photos of a magnificent part of the world, especially your Icefield Parkway shot

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Old 01-26-21, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
Dale,
Great photos of a magnificent part of the world, especially your Icefield Parkway shot
That was above the hairpin turn, just south of Parker Ridge. Such a cool stretch of road. Fighting a fierce headwind one minute and then being pushed up the hill the next.

I think you would agree that everyone should ride that route if they can. I'm very glad I discovered the VIA Rail service that basically takes me from my house to Jasper for $144 (pre covid days). Then it's just picking which route to ride home on again.
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Old 01-26-21, 08:36 AM
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Hi gauvins, ya I think that the northern Ontario section is clearly one part to research properly. I've only driven it going across Canada, but it's very much up and down and up and down, and I recall bits where a combination of trucks and narrow road looked like it would be challenging.
If en famille, it certainly warrants some good, recent info on certain sections.

im sure you'll be able to find good info.
Happy planning and thinking about stuff.
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Old 01-26-21, 09:09 AM
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If you run from Rouyn-Noranda through KL then onto Highway 11, it will be boring but flat pretty much all the way to where 11 meets 17 (Trans Canada) at Nipigon. Truckers like Highway 11 because it's less like to see road closures which are more likely on 17 due to the higher traffic and sightseers. Unfortunately that means you lose the incredible views you get along Superior on Highway 17. From KL you could go via Timmins and then take Highway 101 to Chapleau which puts you onto 17 at Wawa. I haven't travelled 101 beyond Foleyet in probably 40 yrs but believe there are no issues with the road. Just remember that the towns are very spread out along Superior on the Canadian side, can be 100k between towns or more. Also, I'd check to see where and when the Highway is being paved as that can affect the trip since it's only one lane each way between Wawa and just outside of Thunder Bay on 17 and all the way on 11.
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Old 01-26-21, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet
What they said.

The Trans Can west of Winnipeg has wide shoulders. While some may not like the traffic part, all of that traffic passes outside your travel lane (the shoulder).
In comparison, some auxillary routes have little/no shoulder and, even though there may be less traffic, all of it passes through your lane. They/you have to adjust to avoid collision.
One stretch I did south of Brandon (Hwy2/13) had a deep loose gravel shoulder for about 100km's. Fortunately I travelled it on Sunday with light traffic or I would have had to pull off and come to a complete stop every time a truck passed.

I've done Jasper west and south. Both are fine shoulders all the way to Kamloops.

The only really dumb part of the trip is Kamloops itself. You aren't allowed to ride a small portion of Hwy1 through it so you need to take a convoluted detour that adds Km's to the trip. A pita.

The Okanagan route to me is a little sketchy at points because the road sometimes has a narrow shoulder and traffic is heavy. The area around Kelowna is terribly congested.

The Coquihalla (Hwy 5) looks sketchy because the speed limit is 120 but again, there are shoulders. Once in a while they narrow but usually on the up hill where there are three lanes and the trucks are going slow. I think I've ridden it 5 or 6 times at least. For a challenging day trip I'll ride up to the summit from the west.

The Fraser Canyon route (Hwy 1) is a little sketchy, again because of some narrow shoulders and heavy traffic.

Just one POV but...

From Winnipeg, I might look at Hwy 1 (or parallel roads) to Calgary/Banff.
1a to Lake Louise. Icefield Parkway to Jasper.

Hwy 5 (Yellowhead) to Kamloops.
5a through the Nicola Valley to Merrit.

Coldwater road to Kingsvale area of the Coquihalla.
Coke to the Othello turnoff and back road to Hope.

A variant for the above section from Merrit would be south on the 5a to Aspen Grove and continuing on the 5a to Princeton. From Princeton through Manning Park on the Crowsnest (Hwy 3) to Hope. This is a quieter route but still with good shoulders.

Hope to Mission on Hwy 7 (North Fraser).
Cross over the Fraser to Abbotsford and backroads to Tsawassen.
Ferry to Swartz Bay and on to Victoria (side trip through Gulf Islands if time allows).
5A through the Nicola valley and then all the way to Princeton is a great ride.


I've often thought Highway 3 Crowsnest route from Alberta to the Okanagan would be a good ride, but lots of hills and much of it is two lane with lots of traffic, although shoulders are usually good.
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Old 01-26-21, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
If en famille, it certainly warrants some good, recent info on certain sections.
no, that segment would be solo. Otherwise I'd probably be solo at the end of it. (Plan would be for them to ride the train from Quebec to Edmonton). This is assuming that interprovincial travel is allowed. Sheesh....
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Old 01-26-21, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by skookum
5A through the Nicola valley and then all the way to Princeton is a great ride.


I've often thought Highway 3 Crowsnest route from Alberta to the Okanagan would be a good ride, but lots of hills and much of it is two lane with lots of traffic, although shoulders are usually good.
Re. Hwy 3.

That route is the last trans Rocky route on my list. I haven't done it yet because of the time commitment as it takes a lot longer.

If one plots a travel route with Google maps from Calgary to Vancouver via the Crowsnest Hwy in bicycle mode you will see the sawtooth profile of the ride. Its very up and down.

That said, a very scenic option might be Jasper to Lake Louise, over the Kootenay Pass to Radium, down to Hwy 3 at Castelgar and along the bottom to Manning/Hope.
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Old 01-27-21, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet
Looking down the Icefield Parkway


Timing is everything-- all I got was a weather report.
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Old 01-27-21, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
Timing is everything-- all I got was a weather report.
Hah ha That one made me chuckle

I sure hope it cleared up at the summit for you as there were some sights to be seen.

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