Saturday, 22 September 2012

More Legacy Trail?

You would think that by my posts (here and heredissing the Legacy Trail the two times we have ridden it that it would be a while before we rode it again. But it turns out the Legacy trail does have a really good use.

On Thursday, we drove the bikes up Whiteman's Gap, and rode the Goat Creek mountain bike trail down into Banff (a ride we did in 2009), then came home via the Legacy Trail. Aha! This was a 42 km circuit, virtually all downhill dropping 300 m from the start to our house, on a mix of old gravel fire roads and the paved trail. The car shuttle to pick up the car at the end of the day is only about 15 minutes for us. As I mentioned in my last post on the trail, there's even a shuttle that will take you up to the trailhead.

This is a ride pretty much anyone can do on any bike that has something fatter than road tires. There's only one small hill climb of 60 m on the Goat Creek trail, coming out of the Spray River crossing. It's too steep for me to ride the whole way, so I pushed my bike for at total of about 200 m.

As usual, the downside of mountain biking is that you don't stop for photos that often.
The Goat Creek bridge 
Mt. Rundle from the first Spray River crossing 
The new Spray River bridge at the first crossing 
The second Spray River crossing
Last time we rode this, we stayed on the south side of the river and rode to the Banff Springs Hotel. This time, we used the last bridge in the above photo and took the trail on the north side. The travel is pretty flat, and ends up 100+ m above the river, offering good views at the odd lookout...
Looking downriver
...and the occasional pretty cool view of the Banff Springs.
The castle in the woods
It does cross three totally washed out creekbeds where I recommended getting off and walking your bike. This trail ends at the golf course, just a spit from Bow Falls.
The falls at typical to low water flow
A short way up the road here, you can pick up the off road bike path to the bridge in town, cross into downtown Banff, then turn left on to the river path towards Vermilion Lakes. A right turn before crossing the railroad tracks puts you on quiet roads and the bike path that takes you to within a block of the western terminus of the Legacy Trail (note: the crosswalk lights across Banff Avenue close to the Legacy Trail start have been turned off, for some reason). Voila, easy, low traffic access to Canmore.

I'm not going to become a lover of the Legacy Trail any time soon. But riding it as an end to the Goat Creek ride means that it at least has some use. Give it a try some time.

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