Author Topic: GDMBR - cycling west side Spray Lakes Reservoir (Kananaskis Country)  (Read 1285 times)

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Offline BillBekay

Is it allowed to cycle along the west side of the Spray Lakes Reservoir? I mean the section between Mount Shark Parking until Spray Lakes West Campground.

Offline jamawani

Re: GDMBR - cycling west side Spray Lakes Reservoir (Kananaskis Country)
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2024, 01:00:56 pm »
I have biked Kananaskis many times -
including coming over Elk Pass from Elk Lakes, BC.
I've also biked a lot of the permitted fire roads in the parks.
But not the west side of Spray Lake.

It appears that cycling is permitted - you should call/email to double check
https://www.albertaparks.ca/media/6496194/spray-valley-pp-trail-map-north.pdf

Spray Lake is a reservoir so its water level will vary by season.
My guess is that the west side is a minimum-maintenance fire road/trail.
But it could be impassable during high water.

Banff and Jasper also have quite a few backcountry bikeable trails.
My favorite is the Fortress Lake Trail which heads off from Sunwapta Falls - -
and camping at Big Bend.

https://parks.canada.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/visit/depliants-brochures
(I think the old materials were easier to read and had more useful info, but hey.)

Offline BillBekay

Re: GDMBR - cycling west side Spray Lakes Reservoir (Kananaskis Country)
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2024, 04:10:52 pm »
Thanks for the response. According to Alberta Parks, cycling is allowed on the Spray Road West (it runs up to Canyon Dam). Also, cycling is allowed on Watridge Lake Trail (runs from Mount Shark Parking to Watridge Lake). But unclear now is what rules apply between Watridge Lake and Canyon Dam, a 6-mile leg. I have read in blogs by GDMBR cyclists that they have done this western side of Spray Lakes. You may have to hike-a-bike a section of trail. So I hope it is possible and it looks like a beautiful route to me.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2024, 04:22:23 pm by BillBekay »

Offline jamawani

Re: GDMBR - cycling west side Spray Lakes Reservoir (Kananaskis Country)
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2024, 06:20:01 pm »
Spray Lakes Reservoir is used for power generation and agricultural water.
I suspected that there is considerable fluctuation in water levels.
Lowest in early May and highest in July after runoff.

I checked the Govt. of Alberta's water site - - and, yes, huge variation - - 10 meters/33 feet.
So, depending on when you plan to do this, the trail may be under water.
Would be best to check.

https://wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/station_metadata/reference_index_e.html?stnNum=05BA005

Offline BillBekay

Re: GDMBR - cycling west side Spray Lakes Reservoir (Kananaskis Country)
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2024, 09:25:57 am »
Thanks for the response and the nice diagram. When I look with google satelite, the boundary between high and low water is easy to see (wide blank strip). The trail seems to stay above that everywhere. The bridges over the Spray River and the one over Bryant Creek should not be flooded. I don't think high water is a bottleneck. Remains the question: is cycling allowed and technically possible between Watridge Lake and Canyon Dam.

Offline amywally

Re: GDMBR - cycling west side Spray Lakes Reservoir (Kananaskis Country)
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2024, 12:57:40 pm »
The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route was rerouted in 2017 to no longer use Spray Lakes West Rd. due to a wildlife closure. The road was closed from mile 17.2 to 36.3 between April 15 and November 15 to protect critical wildlife movement corridors in the area. See the attached image to see how the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route currently appears on our map. (Note the "No Bicycles" icon on Spray Lakes West Road.) I can't find any current information about this wildlife closure, so you may want to contact Alberta Parks to see if it will still be in effect this summer.

I am unaware about any issues with flooding.

I also found this article about the closure of Spray Lakes West Campground and surrounding area from September 2023 to the end of June 2024.
https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/kananaskis/spray-valley-pp/advisories/?type=Construction%20Closure&name=Spray%20Lakes%20West%20Campground%20Refurbishments&p=20230719#79031
« Last Edit: March 26, 2024, 01:01:17 pm by amywally »
Amy Wally
Cartography Program Manager

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline ray b

Re: GDMBR - cycling west side Spray Lakes Reservoir (Kananaskis Country)
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2024, 07:46:02 pm »
The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route was rerouted in 2017 to no longer use Spray Lakes West Rd. due to a wildlife closure.

...for what it's worth, my avatar photo is heading south on Spray Lakes West Rd.
“A good man always knows his limitations.”