OverviewAn incredibly scenic backcountry ride, rich in challenge and reward. Some amazing travel through Great Divide country is punctuated by a ridiculous push up Rickarts pass (500m in 2.5km). The trail isn't too technical, but the push up the pass is not easy. although only 34km, it is a long trip that should not be taken lightly! At the pass there are several ridgeline routes that lead to scramble trails if interested.
Trail DescriptionThe trailhead starts at Elbow lake, a nicely groomed doubletrack. After a couple km, the trail degrades steadily into a technical at times, and always rocky double/singletrack through amazing country.
After 6.3km, take the junction right towards the Sheep pass. The cycling is much smoother and turns into a scenic cruiser for the next 4km to the pass.
The next 10km to Rickarts is a fast downhill followed by multiple creek crossings, some of which are quite deep. Be prepared to get wet, pick a nice day! Be sure to keep left at the 15.6km junction.
At 19km there is a junction, take a hard right turn that goes up the hill. This is misty trail, a relentless 500m gain in only 2.5km towards Rickarts pass! There is no riding on this section, only pushing, pushing, pushing, sometimes up very technical and loose terrain...
Finally hit the pass, enjoy some ridgeline riding at the top towards a couple viewpoints, and get ready for a fast, occasionally steep and always rooty descent!
The ride ends at the Mist creek parking lot, approximately 21km south of the trailhead. Most will have a car shuttle parked here...the incredibly fit will ride up towards Highwood pass on the highway to avoid the shuttle.
Getting Therefrom Calgary, drive about 32km south on HWY 2 until the turnoff to HWY 2A. continue south for about 10km until the junction with HWY 783, turn West and head towards Longview. Just before longview there is a well signed junction for HWY 541/HWY 40 into Kananaskis. Drive for about 30km to the Misty creek parking lot, 21km before Highwood pass. The trailhead is a couple km. after the pass, from the Elbow lakes parking lot.
When to BikeThis is a backcountry ride, to a pass at over 2300m. Riding should be snow free from late July to October depending. This is heavy grizzly bear territory, don't travel alone and keep watch!!
***This is a serious backcountry ride, through territory that is not well travelled. Be prepared for anything***
Mileage0 north trailhead
1.3 elbow lake
6.3 junction, keep right
9.4 sheep pass
15.6 junction, keep left
19.1 junction, keep right
21.6 rickarts pass
31.1 south trailhead