Planning Your Alberta Bucketlist Biking Adventure

Planning Your Alberta Bucketlist Biking Adventure July 16, 2018 · 6 min. readWhile the thoughts and opinions are my own, this article was brought to you by a third party. Also, this article may contain affiliate links.

Most people know how to ride a bicycle. They learned sometime as a child and never forgot. I am not one of those people. I tried learning when I was a child, a teenager and an adult, and I have never mastered the two-wheel contraption. Whenever I see a child zip past me on a bike, I get a little jealous inside. I've always wanted to learn, but it's just something I've never been able to do. 

On my recent trip to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta, I explored several of the many biking paths that wind through the area. The paths are also hikable, so I walked them instead. Although I've visited Cypress Hills several times, I never get used to the hills and lakes throughout the area. With dozens of kilometres of trails, you can spend a weekend there and never do the same thing twice. Although hiking around the park was incredible, I imagine it would be a lot more fun, and a lot easier, to bike it instead.

Beyond biking, there's plenty of other things to see in Cypress Hills too, like canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, disc golfing, and comfort camping.

Stay a night & see a sight, build your #BucketlistAB.

Biking in Cypress Hills

One of my most favourite things about Cypress Hills is that while you may feel you're in a natural oasis, you're actually very close to civilisation. Medicine Hat is less than 45 minutes away from the park and is one of my absolute favourite places in Alberta. From restaurants to attractions to history, there's something for everybody in this booming community.

Boasting an average of 330 sunny days a year, Medicine Hat is covered in parks for people to enjoy. The winding pathways weave between trees, over rivers, and through the city. You can ride up to the top of the valley and view the city from above, or you can ride down to Medalta, a historic clay factory that has been transformed into a museum and gallery.

There's a lot to do in Medicine Hat, and biking is only one of the many things worth doing while there. You can go kayaking, visit some incredible local restaurants, take a brewery tour, or experience some of their incredible summer festivals.

On the other side of the province, embedded on the edge of the famous Rocky Mountains, is the iconic Crowsnest Pass. This pass leads you past several communities throughout the mountains, and through Frank Slide, one of the largest – and saddest – natural disasters in Canadian history. In 1903, the nearby Turtle Mountain collapsed on itself and a volley of 90 million tons of limestone rolled over the small town of Frank. Within 100 seconds, over 90 lives were lost and a town was buried.

Frank Slide

If you want to explore an intact mining cave, you can take the Bellevue Mine Tour. This tour takes you deep underground and through 300 metres of reinforced mine. Here you can learn about the dangerous working conditions this mine had while in operation, and how important it was to the community.

Crowsnest Pass is beautiful, but you might be intimidated to bike the 23 kilometres of trails that connect the half dozen surrounding communities. Thankfully, you can rent e-bikes from Pass Powderkeg's Community Pool, which makes the adventure significantly easier.

Biking in the Crowsnest

While you're near Crowsnest Pass, you might notice signs for a place called "Castle Provincial Park". Even if you've visited this area before, you've probably never heard of it. This isn't because it's a secret gem hidden away in the Rockies – although it is – but because it didn't exist until last summer. In fact, it is Alberta's newest official provincial park!

One of the big themes Castle Provincial Park offers is accessibility. Many people who have mobility problems – or who can't ride a bike, for example – don't visit provincial parks very often. It's a lot of work to go somewhere, just to see all the things you can't do. Castle Provincial Park solves this by offering rentable "Icon Explores"; accessible e-bicycles that allow everybody to explore the park to their heart's content.

Icon Explores

If you visit Castle Province Park, also give yourself plenty of time to go canoeing, fishing and exploring. The park is beautiful, and there's plenty to explore for return visits.

Castle Provincial Park

If you go:

Find out more about Cypress Hills on the official Alberta Parks website to plan your adventures.

Visit Tourism Medicine Hat  to learn about their bike trails, restaurants, sights and sounds.

Drop by the Go Crowsnest Pass website to learn about the mines tours, quirky restaurants, and local communities.

Learn about Alberta's newest province park, Castle Provincial Park.

Canalta Hotels has partnered up with a collection of destinations across Southern Alberta. Stay a Night & See a Sight - they are ready to help.

Images by Matt Bailey and Chris Istace Mindful Explorer.

Don't forget to pin it!

Planning Your Alberta Bucketlist Biking Adventure Planning Your Alberta Bucketlist Biking Adventure

And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.

Sharing this article helps the blog grow!

Get Your Complete List of What to See & Do in Regina!

Others are reading...

Planning Your Alberta Bucketlist Biking Adventure

Most people know how to ride a bicycle. They learned sometime as a child and never forgot. I am not one of those people. I tried learning when I was a child, a teenager and an adult, and I have never mastered the two-wheel contraption. Whenever I see a child zip past me on a bike, I get a little jealous inside. I've always wanted to learn, but it's just something I've never been able to do. 

On my recent trip to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta, I explored several of the many biking paths that wind through the area. The paths are also hikable, so I walked them instead. Although I've visited Cypress Hills several times, I never get used to the hills and lakes throughout the area. With dozens of kilometres of trails, you can spend a weekend there and never do the same thing twice. Although hiking around the park was incredible, I imagine it would be a lot more fun, and a lot easier, to bike it instead.

Beyond biking, there's plenty of other things to see in Cypress Hills too, like canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, disc golfing, and comfort camping.

Read More

There's No Canada Like French Canada

This is the third of five articles about trips to take across Canada. I was inspired to do this series after I was disappointed by what Canadian tours G Adventures offered on their website.

Love poutine, Justin Trudeau and just about everything Québécois? G Adventures had the right idea including Montréal in two of their Canadian tours, but Montréal isn't the only noteworthy place to visit in Québec. Now, this tour doesn't give Québec the justice it deserves either, but hopefully it inspires you to take your time to explore the wonders it has to offer. Québec is a beautiful province with a long history, stretching back over four centuries, so this tour is dedicated to the incredible history and culture of French Canada.

Our fictional tour starts in Montréal. If you've read my Five Historic Canadian Cities article last week, you already know Montréal is one of Canada's most lively cities. Packed with some of Canada's most impressive scientific museums, Montréal is also home to an archeological and historical museum, Pointe-à-Callière. Inside one of the most unique buildings in Old Montréal, this museum ventures deep into the history of the city and explores its foundation, its struggles and its changes. With 375 years of history, to uncover this museum starts off with the discovery of Hochelaga and showcases various sections of the original sewer system. The museum also has several illustrations showing the plagues and fires that once decimated the early city. The museum also has an interactive section about the pirates that once terrorized the St. Lawrence River. This museum is one of my absolute favorites, so if you love museums as much as I, you'll want to check it out.

Read More

The Bombing of Saskatchewan

Two-hundred forty-three people currently live in Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan, which is exactly the same number of words in the whole Wikipedia article about the community. Stony Rapids is so isolated that it doesn't even have a road connecting it to the rest of the province. In fact, the only way to enter it is by private aircraft, so it would seem strange that the events in this hamlet would involve a continental-wide search and destroy mission that would bring World War II to the heart of the Canadian Prairies.

Details of the events in Stony Rapids are minimal, with several news agencies calling the Canadian military records "maddeningly brief". Fortunately, the events in Stony Rapids had several precursors, and by the time the people of Stony Rapids saw something in the sky above them, the military already knew what it was.

The first recorded sighting was on December 4th, 1944 in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Two men were standing outside on that crisp night and heard a strange hissing sound coming from above them in the distance. Looking up, they witnessed a large explosion and a "white disk" floating away from the area. The men couldn't see what had happened where the explosion occurred, so they jumped into their truck and chased the disk. Within ten minutes they lost it in the darkness, so they returned to where the explosion was. There, they found a small crater and metallic shrapnel. This was the remains of one of the 10,000 balloon bombs launched by the Japanese to turn the tide of war against America. It was also the first ever intercontinental weapon.

Read More