Old Porcupine's Choice Aug. 24-28 2020From open ranchlands to the Rocky Mountains and back again
Location:Calgary, AB, Canada
Cost:$1,150.00 per person
About this experience
August 24-28 2020
5 Days Of Cycling
4 Nights Of Camping
All Meals and Snacks
Road Book and Bike Mounted GPS Routing
Safety Pizza and Buff
Much of Western Canada’s early ranching history is located just an hours drive south of Calgary in the rolling hills of Willow Creek MD. You’ll cycle some of the most beautiful gravel roads in Alberta, eventually climbing up into the Livingstone Range in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
As we roll west through on quiet ranch roads — with the accompanying van hauling most of our gear to our campsites — you’ll cycle through many bioregions, from open ranchlands, into scrubby montane highlands, subalpine forest, aspen parkland and prairie grassland.
With rolling hills of native grasses, old growth forests, and towering mountains, the Livingstone-Porcupine is one of the most diverse and iconic regions of Alberta. We ride into hidden car-free valleys, climb up over 2000m, descend for over 30kms at one point, roll past waterfalls, and breath taking vistas. Remember to stop, look around, and breathe in the fresh mountain air.
The second half of the trip has us riding through massive canyons back out into the base of the Whaleback montane region and wide open prairie skis of Alberta. Eventually we begin climbing again up into the Porcupine Hills where we’ll freecamp on our last night, watching the Sun set over the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Epic roads and landscapes await.
Pine Coulee to Chain Lakes 51km. Our adventure begins mid-morning at BikeBike located in the historic neighbourhood of Inglewood. We’ll have an orientation meeting where you’ll meet your Guides and load up our bikes and gear into our van and trailer. We’ll drive about 1h30m down to the start point at Pine Coulee where we’ll unload, set up your GPS unit which gives you turn-by-turn directions for the duration of the trip. Within a kilometre or so we hit the Flying E Road and Riley Road which is named for historic ranches in the area and follows the Willow Creek valley west. The day finishes with about 7kms of pavement on the Cowboy Trail taking us to Chain Lakes where we’ll camp for the night.
Chain Lakes to Cataract Creek 57kms. After a hearty breakfast prepared by our guides we’ll begin this day with about 10kms on the Cowboy Trail, heading towards the biggest rendezvous of this trip – climbing up and over Livingstone Pass at 2000+ metres. Keep an eye open for mountain goats, sheep, deer, and maybe even moose as you work your way towards the summit. Over the summit you’ll enjoy a super fun descent down to the spectacular Forestry Trunk Road which rolls its way to our camp for the night at Cataract Creek.
Cataract Creek to Old Man River Camp 52kms. Today is a special day. What makes it special is the fact that almost half the route is on an abandoned logging road devoid of vehicles that take us close to the Continental Divide and spectacular views of Mt. Farquhar, Mt. Pierce, Mt. O’Rourke. After stuffing yourself with a breakfast skillfully prepared by our guides, you’ll set off into the backcountry, eventually summiting at over 2000m for the second time and begin a more than 30km descent which includes a few dismount/hike-a-bike spots to get past washed out bridges. Be sure to stop at the lovely Old Man River Falls before reaching our home for the night at Old Man River Camp where your guides will prepare a scrumptious supper. We can’t wait to hear the road stories by the fire this night.
Old Man River Camp to Skyline Freecamp 61kms. With the Old Man River serenading you all night, we trust you had a restful sleep because you’ll need it today as we head east out of the Rocky Mountains and up into the Porcupine Hills PLUZ (Public Land Use Zone). Today we roll past the southern reach of stunning Whaleback wild area before climbing up past the historic Waldron Ranch on an absolute stunner of a climb. Once onto the ridge you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of the Rockies and a rollercoaster finale into camp. Freecamping – basically, post up where you like, is permitted in PLUZ’s in Alberta and offers a unique way to enjoy Alberta’s wild places. We’ll be setup to watch the sun set over the mountains and wake up to stunning views of the valley in the morning.
Skyline Freecamp to Pine Coulee 54kms. With a hearty breakfast in your belly you begin the last day of the adventure with a little bit of roller coaster climbing before a hair-raising descent on wide gravel road, plunging you off the Porcupine Hills and into historic ranchlands heading east. If you’re lucky tailwinds will smile upon you, if not, be prepared to put your head down and grind the gravel on rolling terrain back to our finish line at Pine Coulee. With a job well done, we’ll enjoy a final meal together before loading up and driving back to Calgary.
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