Summer trip advice - AB and BC

Discussion in 'Canada' started by ommoran, Jan 30, 2021.

  1. ommoran

    ommoran Experienced Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2016
    Oddometer:
    602
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC.
    Hello everyone,

    My new bride and I (married in September) had to curtail our original honeymoon plans of renting and riding in Ireland. We took a short trip through the rockies and ... saw nothing, due to the smokeaggedon from the US forest fires last fall. That trip was by car, this year we are looking to do a trip by motorcycle, in the summer. Vaccine status and travel issues acknowledged, but it's nice to plan.

    We would start from Vancouver, and my bride has a keen interest in seeing the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller. That route would be easy enough to plot, and I would skirt Calgary (perhaps) by going north and then through Rocky Mountain House, then back down, or south through Bragg Creek and back up. Or, visit friends in Calgary, but the vaccine status looks like it will prevent us from that.

    So my question, then - considering my bride is on an Indian Scout, are there good tarmac routes around Drumheller? Given the huge badlands area around there, I presume it's pretty awe inspiring? Shamefully, I lived in Edmonton for 10 years, but never got to the area myself.

    She hasn't seen the prairies really at all, and I would like to think that a trip in early July when the canola is in full bloom would be pretty magical around that area. Any advice would be welcomed.
    #1
    OTBP Moto likes this.
  2. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    22,040
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Hwy 11 from SK River Crossing on the Icefields Parkway is ideal. There’s camping, a motel and cabins at David Thompson Resort at Cline River. There’s also a great Hostel just outside Nordegg. Also known as the David Thompson Hwy, #11 is ideal for wildlife and very little traffic. You can hit the beach at Sylvan Lake prior to Red Deer and get ice cream at The Big Moo.

    Edit - That nice Hostel outside Nordegg is called the Shunda Creek Hostel.

    https://hihostels.ca/en/destinations/alberta/hi-nordegg
    #2
    ommoran likes this.
  3. ommoran

    ommoran Experienced Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2016
    Oddometer:
    602
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC.
    Thank you! Exactly the route I was thinking, and exactly the type of advice I was looking for!
    #3
    RedDogAlberta likes this.
  4. kirbybikes

    kirbybikes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Vancouver B.C.
    #4
    Cavolina and Cal like this.
  5. OTBP Moto

    OTBP Moto n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2019
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Prince George, BC Canada
    From Vancouver if you make your way east to Hwy 3, 6 and especially 31A; well worth the time. https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/F6pQuj6hSzi3_-Tbx78NSQ.X8uL_MJAk6bjCGz0LZbGfZ
    #5
    Cavolina likes this.
  6. ommoran

    ommoran Experienced Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2016
    Oddometer:
    602
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC.
    Ohhh lake ferry. This is going on the list. Along with a stop at one of my favourite places, Red Rock Garage in Beaverdell.

    The Crowsnest is absolutely the route we will be taking.
    #6
    OTBP Moto likes this.
  7. superfunkomatic

    superfunkomatic Funky Monkey Trunk

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    Calgary, Ab
    Another vote for Highway 40 from Longview through to Canmore. Highway 22 from the Crowsnest is quite beautiful - windy, very windy on most days.
    The 3/3A by Nelson/Kaslo area - lots of BCs best pavement there.
    #7
    powdrdog, Cowtowner and ommoran like this.
  8. Cowtowner

    Cowtowner Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    826
    Location:
    Calgary
    If you’re staying on pavement in Drumheller area there’s a little loop called Dinosaur Trail that starts just west of town and crosses a cable ferry. Also just east of town there is a road south to a place called Wayne that has a historic hotel which restaurant/bar is super popular with motorcyclists and a nice little ride too over the 11 bridges. Both are short rides right around Drumheller and would leave time for the Royal Terell.

    if you want gravel right near there make sure you go through Hesketh.
    #8
    ommoran likes this.
  9. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    22,040
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Re: Hwy 11, the David Thompson. Between Nordegg and Rocky you will encounter wild mustangs. They travel in herds. Often, an enormous Black mare will walk onto the highway and stare you down. The herd will cross behind him. When all horses are safely across he’ll never take eyes off you as he saunters off the highway in his own good time.

    A friend from Quebec called me on this Wild West “story” and it played out exactly as I told her it would.
    #9
  10. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    22,040
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Also, when in the Drumheller Valley, you MUST go to Wayne, Alberta and the biker bar, the Last Chance Saloon at the Rosedeer Hotel. Maybe 20 minutes from Drumheller.
    #10
  11. gpfan

    gpfan a mari usque ad mare

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    93
    It is a wild west story. Transgender equines are non existent.
    #11
    Mike Ryder, AngusMcL, sdbruns and 4 others like this.
  12. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    22,040
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Oops. Black Stallion of course.
    #12
  13. GP640

    GP640 Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,222
    Location:
    NW AB
    Feral horses, not wild.
    Carry on.
    #13
    RedDogAlberta, gpfan and ommoran like this.
  14. CharlieBurner

    CharlieBurner Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Western Alberta gets a lot of love but I've made the drive from Calgary to Lloydminster tons of times for work and I never got bored of the secondary highways East of Highway 2. The scenery changes dramatically with river valleys, farmland, and fields. I'm used to mountain scenery so its a pleasant change. If heading from Rocky Mountain House, suggest eventually taking highway 27 through Morrin on your way to Drumheller, the Red Deer River valley is a stark contrast to the flat prairie. Dinosaur Provincial Park is a substantial detour down by Brooks, but the scenery is impressive as well. The campground has showers and you can take tours into the fossil fields, although bookings may be required.
    #14
    ommoran, gpfan and powdrdog like this.
  15. Uncle Bugga

    Uncle Bugga Idiot, searching for Village

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Grande Prairie Alberta
    If time allows, there’s the T.Rex Discovery Museum in Eastend Saskatchewan, south of Maple Creek, Just across the border from Medicine Hat Ab. Nice primer for the Royal Tyrell in Drumheller, and you can watch them working on fossils through the glass if there’s someone working that day. There’s a campground there, decent showers but not great firewood.

    Swing north a bit to Cypress Hills, nice campsites and firewood. Really gives a great idea of the vastness of the prairies when you stand on the edge of the hills and look north. There’s an old fort there, if you’re lucky you’ll see them fire the four pound cannons. Great roads to ride on a motorbike.

    North of that is Maple Creek, nice campsite with showers and wood, but a bit close to the train tracks, if that bothers you. It’s close to the Trans Canada, you can pop through Medicine Hat and up to Drumheller from there.

    If your spouse is a fossil junkie like me, maybe do the Dino Trail early, then spend the rest of the day at the museum. I spent six hours there with a four year old Dino Worshipper, and the group I was with almost had to carry us out. Leave there on easy roads so the processing of what you’ve just seen doesn’t impair your riding ability. Or maybe I’m just too awestruck by the fact that those things ruled the planet before us :)
    #15
    baekdongmul, ommoran and gpfan like this.
  16. baekdongmul

    baekdongmul Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    328
    Location:
    아무데도
    Good route advice in previous comments, to which I would add:

    Check the weather constantly, and be aware that "chance of showers" in Alberta in July usually means fifteen minutes of golf ball sized hail, gale force winds, and local flash floods. In general in summer Alberta gets super windy in the afternoon, and getting rides done earlier in the day makes for a better outing
    #16
    Bill 310, knight and gpfan like this.
  17. ommoran

    ommoran Experienced Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2016
    Oddometer:
    602
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC.
    I lived in Edmonton for 10 years (with my ex-wife). I work in the insurance claims field. So.... yup. :imaposer But thank you for the reminder, as that will be a trigger more for what to pack than anything else!
    #17
    baekdongmul likes this.
  18. shuswap1

    shuswap1 Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,720
    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada
    Once you've done the highway rides you may want to begin easing her into the idea of gravel travel. Afterall, that's where the cream of the rides are. I pointed out that so many great rides were trapped into out-and-back simply because the road changed to gravel. Then let that percolate for a season or so. In the end my 61YO far-better-half loves off-pave as much as the twisties and once she saw the value in off-pave on her F700 she has never looked back. I'm now gently working on easy single track on her 350 EXC and so far that is going well too.
    A couple of lessons can certainly assist the transition (Christy Williams Richards!) and it's often better(safer/more effective) to learn from someone other than the spouse
    #18
  19. cal08

    cal08 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,579
    Location:
    AB
    6 hrs with a keener 4 yr old. Awesome day!
    #19