Alberta Forestry Trunk Road (FTR)

Discussion in 'GPS Tracks - Alaska & Canada' started by GreatWhiteNorth, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    I've done the FTR from Edson down to Coleman a couple years back, but intend (hopefully) next season to get it all in, from Grande Prairie south to Hinton, taking in the Cadomin section. I realise that graveltravel.ca offers a .gpx file for the FTR, but I made my own. I use Garmin BaseCamp and the Canada topo map... as I've already got the TCAT file, and part of the TCAT route follows the very southern portion of the FTR into Coleman, I found it interesting to note that the TCAT track line varied quite a bit from the road shown on Canada topo. No idea why that is, if that's a function of having used different (open source) maps, or simply plugging in less way points. Regardless, this track file is very accurate, containing 2592 waypoints over the 1031 kilometer route. A note on gas stops... the graveltravel.ca webpage mentions gas being available at Mountain-Aire Lodge on the Red Deer River - wasn't when we last went thru, as the Lodge had been badly damaged in heavy flooding (was not rebuilt). Get gas when you can, and be bear smart if camping. This route offers spectacular views of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

    The graveltravel resource: http://www.graveltravel.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=74:forestry-trunk-road&catid=1&Itemid=19

    A few sample pics from when I last went, with buddy Reg (Crash101):

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    WP_20150728_013_stitch.jpg

    Attached Files:

    • FTR.gpx
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    #1
  2. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

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    Looks like that could be a great trip
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  3. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    Here's the Cadomin, Cardinal River Road, Grave Flats optional routing track that goes thru Cadomin, skirts the mine site, heads south east across the Cardinal Divide, and follows the Cardinal River and along the Brazeau Canyon, connecting back up to the FTR. I've not personally done this (yet). My understanding is that access thru the gate at the Cadomin Mine site (south of the Cadomin town site) isn't always a given... maybe someone with local knowledge can verify the track, and speak to that? This is supposed to be very nice backcountry.

    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Just did Cardinal river road in September and it had a washed out road section, but even loaded big bikes made in down onto the river bed and back up. I would recommend only doing it in dry weather and dryer season. Had the creek been higher we would likely not have gotten past the washout.

    IMG_0012.jpg

    It was a beautiful stretch and no gates.

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    Also; No gas at mountain air lodge confirmed. New gas station at Nordegg, a Shell station.
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  5. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    The only really long section between gas stations appears to be that one from Nordegg heading south. I see next gas as at Exshaw (got gas there last time). Is there a gas station in there somewhere I'm missing? That Mountain-Aire Lodge gas stop would really eliminate range anxiety, but I don't think it'll get rebuilt anytime soon. I calculated distances between gas stops along the FTR as:

    - Grande Prairie to Grande Cache - 188 kms;
    - Grand Cache to Hinton - 150 kms;
    - Hinton to Nordegg - 174 kms;
    - Nordegg to Exshaw - 306 kms;
    - Exshaw to Highwood Junction - 121 kms; and,
    - Highwood Junction to Coleman - 106 kms.

    Hopefully they fix that washout on the Cardinal River Road!
    #5
  6. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Do not count on Highwood junction as they have very limited hours.
    If you connect using paved highway 40 there is a gas station at Fortress before the spray lakes turnoff that can be relied on and has Premium if needed.


    IMG_1032.jpg
    #6
  7. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    I've been lucky, in that the few times I've been by there it's been open. I don't know how it stays open. Can't be too much business coming their way, and I see that the visitor center they had there at one time got closed. If they were smart, they'd put a campground somewhere right adjacent at the junction. One time a few years back, we were riding south from Jasper, along the Athabasca Glacier Parkway, couldn't get in at campgrounds at Lake Louise, along 1A, Banff, Kananaskis... so just kept riding. We wound up getting the last available spot at Greenford, just east of there - it was absolutely lovely camping beside the river there. I've come to appreciate the backcountry camping more and more as I get older. Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff & Waterton have become zoos - too many people... but people is what keeps businesses alive. There is excellent backcountry camping IMO along the FTR.
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  8. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    IMG_0104.jpg Highwood junction serves Etherington campground just a couple of kms south on the trunk. So many great places to camp just off the sides of the road that I can't imagine paying to stay in one of the established sites along the road from Highwood to Coleman. Wild camping is still allowed, but that may change.
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  9. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    While we dual sport types like doing basic tent style moto camping in back country, IMO for many people, their idea of camping has really evolved into something altogether different. I was surprised to see people set up with their 5th wheel camper trailers (wild camping) along the FTR in the middle-of-nowhere. Crazy to see how much campgrounds have evolved to cater to the big camper RV crowd. That's the kind of campground that's popular nowadays, with pull thru spots, and amenities... like showers, and a store!
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  10. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    Great pics Lee. Feel free to post more. I think the FTR is an under appreciated gem!
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  11. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    The Trunk road south of Nordegg, AB;

    Pictures as requested.

    IMG_1415.jpg

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    IMG_0765.JPG
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  12. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    You guys have helped me out greatly-----------when I road to Alaska last time I wouldn't go until I found a dirt route avoiding the Alaska highway--and I did-----thanks in part to Lycan. And as much as people rave about Banff and Jasper I know I'd hate it. Now I have an alternative to get around it.

    Thanks !!!
    BigDog

    Lycan-------I expect you to be the first to ride the road to Tuktoyaktuk-----------or however you spell that town .:lol3 Mite be right behind you. I've not been to Inuvik------I can kill 2 birds with one stone. Or the both will kill me,
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  13. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    Off topic, but... Hey, if you've not been to (south to north) Waterton Lakes, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, or have not yet done the Athabaska Glacier Parkway, I'd still recommend it, but best to do it early or late in the season to avoid the crowds, and congestion on the roads. A real gem, is Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and the campgrounds there along the Kananaskis Upper and Lower Lakes... as nice IMO as the Nat'l Parks, but without all the development and people... and it's on the FTR!

    https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/kananaskis/peter-lougheed-pp/
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  14. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    thanks so much---------I'll make note of it in my every growing Canada gps file.

    BigDog
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  15. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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