Author Topic: Trans Canada trail or Trans Canada highway?  (Read 9034 times)

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Offline Mark Manley

Trans Canada trail or Trans Canada highway?
« on: July 14, 2012, 10:48:57 am »
I have just been looking at the bikingacrosscanada website and am considering the possibility of doing some or all of it next year. The routes listed include the trans Canada trail and trans Canada highway, does anybody have experience of either or both? The names suggest one is road and the other trail but I cannot find out much about how open the trail is to cyclists as opposed to walkers or degree of difficulty on two wheels.
I would be taking a hybred bike which has taken me on some fairly rough tracks fully loaded with camping gear, but would not want to end up having to carry the bike up or down some sections if they were only really suitable for hiking.
Your personal experiences and information gratefully received.


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Offline Mark Manley

Re: Trans Canada trail or Trans Canada highway?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2012, 07:02:40 pm »
Have you seen these?:

Yes I have been looking here but was wondering if anybody on this forum had some first hand experience of either or both.

Offline geegee

Re: Trans Canada trail or Trans Canada highway?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 10:13:45 am »
Much of the rural portions of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) are really rough and more suitable for full-suspension mountain bikes and hiking. In some parts they are sections of rails-to-trails, the well maintained ones are gravel paths, the ones that are not are chockfull of roots and rocks. In urban areas, they are often paved, and offer a good way in and out of the cities. Many parts of the TCT are still under development or even still to be determined.

The Trans Canada Highway (TCH) is very much automobile-centred, in most of western Canada it is OK for cycling, in central and eastern Canada it is often too busy and there are better alternatives. Cycling the TCH all the way would be a noisy, fume-filled route, sometimes convenient but not always the best.

My recommendation for a cross-Canada route starting from Vancouver would be:
BC: Hwy 7 out to Hope, TCH (Hwy 1) all the way to the Alberta Border and Calgary
AB: from Calgary find your way out to Hwy 9 via Drumheller to the Saskatchewan border (Alsask)
SK: from Alsask, highways 7, 15, 44, 19, 42, 2 to Moose Jaw; THC to Regina; highways 33 and 13 to the Manitoba border;
MB: Hwy 2 aka "Red Coat Trail" to Winnipeg; TCH (Hwy1) to the Ontario border. Note: the roads in Manitoba are the worst you'll encounter, none of them have shoulders. Hwy 2 likely has less traffic than the THC or the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16)
ON: with its good and bad portions, Hwy 17 all the way to Petawawa; small county roads into Ottawa (message me if you want exact details)
QC: from Ottawa, cross the river and follow Route Verte (RV) 1 to Montreal, RV 5 to Quebec City, cross ferry to Lévis and back on RV 1 to Rivière-du-Loup (for inland route or Mont Joli—Matapédia for coastal route.
NB: inland route – at Rivière-du-Loup QC, take the TCT aka "Petit-Temis" trail to Edmunston NB, take Hwy 105 to Fredericton, 112 to Moncton; 134 to Shediac. Coastal route -  enter NB at Campbellton; Hwy 134/11 to Shediac; coastal road from Shediac to the Confederation Bridge, bridge shuttle to PEI.
PE: The Confederation Trail and associated rail trails can take you across the island from Borden to Wood Island; Wood island-Caribou ferry to Nova Scotia
NS: Hwy 4/104 to North Sydney for the Newfoundland ferry. Check ferry schedule to make sure your arrival is synched with a sailing day
NL: Long Way – ferry to Port-aux-Basques TCH to St. John's; Short Way – ferry to Placentia, highways 100, 13, 10 to St. John's
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 02:02:11 pm by geegee »

Offline Mark Manley

Re: Trans Canada trail or Trans Canada highway?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2012, 06:01:56 pm »
Thanks for that Geegee, this is just what I was after, I hope next year to do at least some of this.

The next question has to be what are the best months? I would estimate the whole trip would take about three but which ones?

Offline geegee

Re: Trans Canada trail or Trans Canada highway?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 03:13:45 pm »
If you are starting from Vancouver, most cyclists leave around June to early July, with an August/September end date. May weather can be iffy, it was quite wet and cold out west this year, but some years are great.

Offline newfydog

Re: Trans Canada trail or Trans Canada highway?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2012, 06:57:23 pm »
We biked the Trans Canada Trail from Banff to Vancouver Island.  It was a great trip, and while it would be possible on a hybred, a mountain bike is much better.

There is not much technical riding, a lot of rail trail, though some of the best rail trail, such as the Kettle Valley Trail has been chewed up by quads.

The route development and marking varied from good to non-existant.