Author Topic: Pacific Coast or Calgary to Denver through the Rockies?  (Read 8479 times)

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Offline X-alp

Pacific Coast or Calgary to Denver through the Rockies?
« on: April 26, 2009, 08:33:15 am »
Hello,

I need your help on a decision for a tour planned this Summer. I am from Germany and plan to bike Alberta/BC, Canada and the Northwest of the USA for three month (July-September). Here are my options:

1. Fly to Vancouver and bike on the Kettle Valley Railway trail to Banff, from there southwards on Great Parks North and switching in Missoula to the Transamerica Trail to reach Denver, where I am invited for a wedding at the end of September.

2. Fly to Calgary and bike the Kettle Valley Railway to Vancouver, from there southward on the Pacific Coast Trail to San Francisco and fly from there to the wedding in Denver.


I really can't decide what is better. I love the mountains (did a transalp last summer with MTB). But I've also think that the Pacific Coast Trail is really beautiful. Maybe you can give me any advice on this or there is someone who can share his experience on the trails? Do you reckon the trail through the Rockies is much more challenging (since I have some time that doesnt have to be a knock out criterium)

I am also grateful for any other recommendations and tipps for a tripp like that.

thanks in advance,
Ben

Offline valygrl

Re: Pacific Coast or Calgary to Denver through the Rockies?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2009, 03:40:23 pm »
I've done a lot of both of those routes (but not the Kettle Valley). 

You can't go wrong, they are both fantastic, and the time of year you have selected is great.  By mid/late September there is a chance of some winter-like weather in the high mountains in Colorado, but if you can wait a day or two for storms to blow through you can still catch great weather most of the time.

If you choose the Rockies, please try to make time for Banff to Jasper, one of the most beautiful stretches of road I've ever been on.  And also try to ride Logan Pass (= Going to the Sun Road) through Glacier National Park. 

Once you get to Walden, the TransAmerica route sends you due south to hit the Hwy 70 corridor. 

Instead, I would recommend going through Rocky Mountain National Park  - you can bear east from Granby and ride  Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park (highest paved pass in USA at 12,200 feet)

OR if you don't wand to go that high, stay a bit north heading east on Hwy 14 out of Walden through the Poudre Canyon (10,000 foot pass) and then head south along the front range (Ft. Collin - Loveland - Boulder - Denver).

See Adv. Cycl. Great Parks North Map 6 for a suggested route from Granby to Denver via the park.  Once you get on the Peak to Peak highway (the east side of that loop) there are several alternative ways to drop down out of the mountains if the weather is bad, or you can get out of the park to Ft. Collins.


If you choose the Pacific Coast, please try to ride the section south of San Francisco to at least Santa Barbara.  The section between Monterrey and San Simeon is spectacular. 

Peak to peak highway last week:


Near Jasper Canada summer 2008:


Big Sur a few years ago:


« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 03:41:56 pm by valygrl »

Offline geegee

Re: Pacific Coast or Calgary to Denver through the Rockies?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2009, 10:15:47 pm »
Three months is a good amount of time and offers a lot of possibilities. If I were you, I would consider flying to Edmonton. From there you could cycle to Jasper, then ride down the spectacular Icefields Parkway towards Banff. Skip Calgary and do the KVR from Castlegar to get to Vancouver then do the Pacific coast. It is possible to do this route from Edmonton to San Francisco in about two months, so you'll have time to stretch it out in a more relaxed pace. If you've made good time and do it under two months, you could head up the Western Express Route towards Colorado, and if you are running short in the end, head for the nearest Amtrak station to hightail it to Denver.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Pacific Coast or Calgary to Denver through the Rockies?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2009, 12:16:50 am »
I agree with Geeg. It would be great to fit in parts of both rides.  On the Pacific Coast, I thought the best parts were from Southern Oregon to just north of San Francisco and from Monterey to San Simeon.  These are not to be missed, especially given that camping on the route is always from $2 to $5 a night, with showers for an additional few quarters!
May the wind be at your back!

Offline valygrl

Re: Pacific Coast or Calgary to Denver through the Rockies?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2009, 11:14:29 am »
... you could head up the Western Express Route towards Colorado, and if you are running short in the end, head for the nearest Amtrak station to hightail it to Denver.

Good idea, but be aware the Western Express mid-summer could be really challenging - the Nevada section has several days in a row with 80+ miles between water sources, and it will be hot.  I think that's generally considered a spring/fall route.  (I haven't ridden it but have driven it.)

I'd fly rather than use the train, personally, since you have to mess with the bike box either way and it's not much cheaper to take the train and it takes a lot longer.  That's my personal opinion, though, some people like the train.

Offline X-alp

Re: Pacific Coast or Calgary to Denver through the Rockies?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2009, 03:51:45 pm »
thanks to all of you! A lot of good advice! I have now decided for the Route starting in Vancouver cycling to Jasper and then southwards.. still work on all the details and I will keep your recommendations in mind..


Offline klofton11

Re: Pacific Coast or Calgary to Denver through the Rockies?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2009, 01:02:48 am »
Wow that sounds like quite the trip. Lots of good rides ahead of you. Personally I enjoyed riding through Denver a lot because the rockies are so beautiful. There are a lot of really nice Denver Hotels you can stay at along the way too. I have never been riding in Canada but I hear it's great. Let me know how it goes.

-Ken
Jeff Madden
New York City Pet Friendly Hotels -Assistant Manager

Offline tonythomson

Re: Pacific Coast or Calgary to Denver through the Rockies?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2009, 01:13:50 pm »
Hi having also done quite a bit of the route and seems you have time just make sure you do all the NPs in the
Rockies - they are wonderful.  I liked it so much I turned round and did them again before going down to Vancouver.  Good luck
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com