Author Topic: Great Parks North Advice  (Read 1278 times)

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indyfabz

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Re: Great Parks North Advice
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2017, 01:24:26 pm »

Can't remember the Hwy. No. but from Eureka to Whitefish that road had lots of traffic
& no shoulders that i can remember.

It's U.S. 93. Where there is a shoulder it's minimal. Good amount of traffic when I rode it this year around 6/21. You can avoid some of it by taking Farm to Market Rd., which is the official route. The final couple of miles into the west edge of Whitefish were horrible. Whitefish Lake State Park has great hiker/biker sites and a no turn away policy. And the trains no longer blow their horns at the crossing.

Online jamawani

Re: Great Parks North Advice
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2017, 05:55:47 pm »
Bee Vee -

Here's a modified Great Parks North.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/26537829

It starts in Great Falls, not Missoula.
Hwy 83 north of Missoula has limited views, minimal shoulder, and moderate+ traffic.
US 89 north of Great Falls has great views from Fairfield north, half the traffic, and better shoulders.

The route has a half dozen out-and-backs over the continental divide.
1. Going to the Sun Road - twice as nice - from Sunrise Campground - can leave all your stuff in bear boxes, too.
2. Many Glacier - the finest hiking in Glacier NP - hiker/biker camping - pizza at the cafe or fine dining at the lodge.
3. Waterton NP - The town campsite is a zoo, can hike in 1.5 miles to a great backcountry site.
4. Kananaskis Park - Just fantabulous - great lakeside campsites, plus park store nearby.

(I routed you on Spray Lakes Road to Canmore - but you can follow paved Kananaskis Hwy to the TransCanada.)
(North of Banff - crazy tourists - make sure to ride Hwy 1A, the old road.)

5. From Castle Jct - you can head over to Kootenay NP - Marble Canyon is stunning with the powerful Kootenay River.
6. Lake Louise - definitely worth taking the 15-miles day trip out to Moraine Lake. (Lake Louise is a zoo.)
7. Yoho NP is really sweet - very nice camping, spectacular scenery at Takakkaw Falls.

(Make sure to ride the Old TransCanada Hwy in at least one direction - biker/hiker only.)
(Back to the east side - start up the Icefields Parkway.)

8. At Athabasca Falls take the old road and do the spur road to Mt. Edith Cavell.
* If you have extra time, the rode to Mount Robson in BC is nice - plus you can ride into a backcountry campsite.

If you were to skip any of the out-and-backs, I would choose to skip Kootenay NP.

<<<>>>

In case you do not know, there are primitive hostels all along the Icefields Parkway.
Not much more than camping - bunks, no running water, outhouses, but you meet cool folks.
I've stayed in many of them. Castle Mountain is modern - as are Banff and Jasper.
http://hihostels.ca/en/destinations/alberta

Here is a map of Icefields Parkway that may not be available any longer -
https://swimnova.com/map-columbia-icefields-parkway.html#

There are also general backcountry maps (not for hiking) of each Canadian park.
They also show which trails/fire roads are bikeable.
Banff - https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ/arrierepays-backcountry
Kootenay - https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/kootenay/activ/arrierepays-backcountry/carte-map
Yoho - https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ/arrierepays-backcountry
Jasper - https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/jasper/activ/passez-stay/arrierepays-backcountry/cartes-maps

<<<>>>

Hope this helps.
Again, US 92 in Montana, Hwys 93 & 95 in BC are not that great.
The east side is far more rewarding.

 

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Great Parks North Advice
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2017, 06:36:33 pm »
Park Café @ St Mary t-shirt: PIE IS STRENGTH
http://www.parkcafe.us/menu.php

Offline bvp95

Re: Great Parks North Advice
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2017, 05:33:25 pm »
Bee Vee -

Here's a modified Great Parks North.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/26537829

It starts in Great Falls, not Missoula.
Hwy 83 north of Missoula has limited views, minimal shoulder, and moderate+ traffic.
US 89 north of Great Falls has great views from Fairfield north, half the traffic, and better shoulders.

The route has a half dozen out-and-backs over the continental divide.

1. Going to the Sun Road - twice as nice - from Sunrise Campground - can leave all your stuff in bear boxes, too.
2. Many Glacier - the finest hiking in Glacier NP - hiker/biker camping - pizza at the cafe or fine dining at the lodge.
3. Waterton NP - The town campsite is a zoo, can hike in 1.5 miles to a great backcountry site.
4. Kananaskis Park - Just fantabulous - great lakeside campsites, plus park store nearby.

(I routed you on Spray Lakes Road to Canmore - but you can follow paved Kananaskis Hwy to the TransCanada.)
(North of Banff - crazy tourists - make sure to ride Hwy 1A, the old road.)

5. From Castle Jct - you can head over to Kootenay NP - Marble Canyon is stunning with the powerful Kootenay River.
6. Lake Louise - definitely worth taking the 15-miles day trip out to Moraine Lake. (Lake Louise is a zoo.)
7. Yoho NP is really sweet - very nice camping, spectacular scenery at Takakkaw Falls.

(Make sure to ride the Old TransCanada Hwy in at least one direction - biker/hiker only.)
(Back to the east side - start up the Icefields Parkway.)

8. At Athabasca Falls take the old road and do the spur road to Mt. Edith Cavell.
* If you have extra time, the rode to Mount Robson in BC is nice - plus you can ride into a backcountry campsite.

If you were to skip any of the out-and-backs, I would choose to skip Kootenay NP.

<<<>>>

In case you do not know, there are primitive hostels all along the Icefields Parkway.
Not much more than camping - bunks, no running water, outhouses, but you meet cool folks.
I've stayed in many of them. Castle Mountain is modern - as are Banff and Jasper.
http://hihostels.ca/en/destinations/alberta

Here is a map of Icefields Parkway that may not be available any longer -
https://swimnova.com/map-columbia-icefields-parkway.html#

There are also general backcountry maps (not for hiking) of each Canadian park.
They also show which trails/fire roads are bikeable.
Banff - https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ/arrierepays-backcountry
Kootenay - https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/kootenay/activ/arrierepays-backcountry/carte-map
Yoho - https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ/arrierepays-backcountry
Jasper - https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/jasper/activ/passez-stay/arrierepays-backcountry/cartes-maps

<<<>>>

Hope this helps.
Again, US 92 in Montana, Hwys 93 & 95 in BC are not that great.
The east side is far more rewarding.

Is all of this route paved, or is there dirt/gravel roads?

Online jamawani

Re: Great Parks North Advice
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2017, 07:00:09 pm »
All is paved except for Spray Lakes Road between Kananaskis and Canmore.
As I noted above, you can do the paved Kananaskis Highway to the TransCanada.
(I've done both - Spray Lakes Road is waaaaay more scenic - and pretty hard-packed.)

<<<>>>


Also quite doable in 3 weeks, with flights -
(Only a sample to see if it is a possible framework.)

Sat - Fly into Great Falls, Montana

Week 1
Sun - Choteau
Mon - Browning
Tue - Rising Sun
Wed - Rising Sun - Going to the Sun Road
Thu - Many Glacier
Fri - Many Glacier - Hiking
Sat - Waterton

Week 2
Sun - Oldman River
Mon - Highwood River
Tue - Kananaskis
Wed - Kananaskis - Hiking
Thu - Banff
Fri - Lake Louise
Sat - Takkakkaw

Week 3
Sun - Takkakkaw - Hiking
Mon - Waterfowl Lakes
Tue - Columbia Icefield
Wed - Columbia Icefield - Hiking, Glacier tour
Thu - Mount Kerkeslin
Fri - Jasper
Sat - Jasper - Extra day built-in for leeway

Sun - Bus then fly out of Edmonton

<<<>>>

I did mention that the Canadian park permits and camping fees are pretty darn pricey, no?
The park pass is likely to be about $10/day in 2018 - $70 annual. So it would be cheaper to the latter.
(That is just for entry and does not included camping - $25-$30. Food is also very expensive in the parks.)

J


Offline bvp95

Re: Great Parks North Advice
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2017, 08:49:36 am »
jamawani,

The route you provided seems far better, so we've decided to ride that route from Great Falls northbound to Jasper. Thanks for the suggestion! We have 3.5 weeks between our flights, so we should be able to hit most of the highlights.

Offline bvp95

Re: Great Parks North Advice
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2018, 03:40:56 pm »
For those of you that have been through these areas (Glacier, Banff, Jasper...), do you have any suggestions for good hikes/trails with good views ? Any length or elevation gain is fine, just looking for some good trails with great Mountain Views to do along our trip.

Online jamawani

Re: Great Parks North Advice
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2018, 04:58:51 pm »
Glacier NP -

The Highline Trail is unsurpassed.
Ride early from Rising Sun to Logan Pass.
Avoid the zoo. 98% of the tourists take the boardwalk to Hidden Lake.
Hike north from the highway at least to Haystack Butte - good lunch spot.

http://www.hikinginglacier.com/haystack-pass.htm
Yes, there are some challenging sections, but nothing technical.
You are above treeline throughout. (Most hikes involve miles of forest, first.)

Glacier NP -

Many Glacier Campground -
The hiking possibilities are almost endless.
Combine a hike with a boat ride across the lake for dessert.

Canadian National Parks
There are a number of trails in Waterton, Banff, and Jasper that allow bikes.
They are old fire roads and have some rough section requiring walking - but -
You can get back to some AMAZING backcountry campsites.

My favorite is Athabasca Bend in Jasper NP

Kananaskis Prov Park -
Strongly recommend - much fewer tourists than the national parks.
Spray Lakes Road / Smith Dorien Trail (unpaved) then Spray River Trail into Banff.
You avoid any riding on or along the TransCan between Canmore and Bamff.

Pic - Athabasca Bend