Nothing is better than seeing the Alberta weather ease into spring so you can head out on your first motorcycle ride of the season. Western Alberta has some of the world’s most stunning beauty, from the beautiful prairies to the pristine Canadian Rockies.
If you are looking for some new rides to check out this summer, Alberta offers an endless possibility of open roads, whether you plan a day trip, love to camp, or want to check off Alberta’s most beautiful places on your bucket list. Here are the top 10 rides in Alberta and why you need to check them out.
1. The Cowboy Trail
This trail takes you from Mayerthorpe to Lundbrek along Highway 22. This is ‘big sky country,’ where you’ll travel the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and enjoy the undeniable charms of Alberta’s “old west.” It spans over 570kms with a long list of stops including:
- Chain Lake Provincial Park: Recover from the highway’s aches and pains with tranquil views of the lake and a dip in the cooling waters. If you are planning an overnight stay, this is the place to camp. If you love fishing, you couldn’t ask for a better experience than what you’ll find here.
- Bar U Ranch National Historic Site: If you love history, this historic stop is a must. Discover what life was like for the country’s first cowboys.
2. Trans-Canada Highway from Lake Louise
No doubt Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful places on earth. You can make the most of your trip to this idyllic spot by taking a ride along Highway 1 to Revelstoke. Enjoy cruising on this iconic Canadian highway, flanked by 225kms of stunning views and must-see stops including:
- Lake Louise Gondola: Take a dip in the lake and look for black bears on this novel boat trip.
- Glacier National Park: The ultimate alpine hike for a good bout of exercise and unique encounters with Canada’s natural features.
3. The Canadian Badlands
A little over 200kms from Calgary along Highway 1, you’ll discover the natural drama that is Alberta’s Badlands. From banded hills to breathtaking rock formations and hoodoos to ranchland, this is one of the most striking trips through archetypal Alberta country. This is also the best route to bring out your inner archaeologist with stops at:
- Dinosaur Provincial Park: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best places in the world to get up close and personal with astounding dinosaur fossils.
- Royal Tyrrell Museum: Visit an impressive paleontology collection to complete your prehistoric history lesson in Drumheller.
4. Smith Dorrien Spray Trail
This is a shorter trail of about 115kms, but you’ll have to get to Kananaskis Country first. The route takes you along Highway 40, travelling from Ozada to Banff and the Smith Dorrien Spray Trail. If you’re all about travelling off the beaten track, this route is much more your style. It’s a gravel road where snow and ice patches aren’t unusual, even in the summer, so it might be challenging for new riders. However, it is an adventure like no other where you might spot some of the more breathtaking local wildlife, including moose, elk, mountain goats and bears.
5. The Boomtown Trail
Head towards Edmonton on the less busy routes to Waterton National Park. Taking the roads less travelled allows you to see the true Alberta and all its stunning scenery, including the chance to spot buffalo and glimpses of pioneer towns on your way to Buffalo Lake. You’re looking at about 400kms for this route, so pack your bags and plan to sleep over a night or two.
6. The Dinosaur Trail
You would think #3 would be the Dinosaur Trail, but this route is an add-on once you hit Drumheller. It’s only about 50kms, making a perfect loop to get a good look at this eerily barren country that feels like something out of a sci-fi movie. You can’t beat the neat work Mother Nature created when the Red Deer River carved out the beauty of the Horse Thief and Horseshoe Canyons.
7. The Crowsnest Highway
Travelling along Highway 3, this route starts at the 600 to 700-year-old Burmis Tree marking the beginning of the Crowsnest Pass. This stretch of Southern Alberta takes you towards BC offering just over 100kms of stunning views. Not only can you take in the majestic scenery, but also get a feel for the charm of the area in the little towns that depict the history of the province. Don’t miss the chance to get some selfies in front of the tree with its gnarly branches to record your adventures.
8. The Bow Valley Parkway
Heading from Banff to Lake Louise on Highway 1A offers a short stint that is all about quality, not quantity. Spanning a little under 60kms, you’ll take in more beauty than most drives over 100kms. Following the Bow River, you’ll enjoy a moseying drive that allows you to take in all the beauty the area offers, including the amazing views of Castle Mountain. While you’re there, you might even spot some elk.
9. Sunwapta Pass
At the border between Banff and Jasper National Parks, you’re officially on the Icefields Parkway, but the Sunwapta Pass has its own claim to fame as the second-highest drivable pass in Banff and Jasper National Parks.
At an elevation of 6,742 feet, you will feel every ounce of doubt, fear, stress, sadness and lack of purpose evaporate as you take in the beauty before you. You’ll also get excellent views of Mount Athabasca and Nigel Peak as you ride on by.
10. Icefields Parkway
The official Icefields Parkway offers about 230kms of dazzling highway from Lake Louise to Jasper along Highway 93. Some would say this is Canada’s most spectacular scenery, where you can also look for black bears and bighorn sheep frolicking along the road. Make sure you stop at:
- The Athabasca Glacier: The is the easiest glacier to access on the Columbia Icefield.
- Peyto Lake: This glacier-fed lake shows off its aquamarine waters in a perfectly peaceful setting.
- Bow Lake: On clear days, you can see a perfect reflection of the Bow Summit on the brilliant surface.
- Maligne Canyon: Take in the majesty of the deepest canyon in the Rockies.
Let us know if we’ve missed your favourite ride! Before you head out, make sure you’re protected with a motorcycle insurance quote from our experts.
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