|06-20-2014, 10:14 AM||#1|
Joined: Feb 2010
Paved route through western AB and B.C.
The track was built on the premise of a US / Canada Border crossing at Chief Joseph Border crossing south of Waterton National Park. It is a seasonal 08:00 to 22:00 crossing on a nice piece of road that connects with Hwy 89 in Montana near Babb.
There is fuel available in the park at Waterton and it is worth a side trip into the Park to see the Prince Of Wales Hotel and the view from the hill it sits atop. Red Rock Canyon is another nice stop inside Waterton National park while you are there. Accommodations are available at the town-site as well as 3 campgrounds.
I purposely avoided Calgary but if a traveler wants to see the gargantuan-mass-of-traffic-headache it is an easy side trip and I would be happy to give assistance in planning for that.
Highway 40 west of Longview is a great road that only just recently opened after the flood damage from last year. This year it will have a few very short gravel sections through construction areas as the road continues to be re-rehabilitated. This is a fantastic and scenic road up to where it joins the Trans-Canada highway. It is a very high mountain pass and generally opens up in the later part of June each year. Mountain goats and Big Horned sheep are common and not shy so caution is advised near the summit.
I route off the Trans-Canada onto old number 1 , now called highway 1A, as it is much less busy, and more scenic, both before and after going through Canmore Alberta.
You must purchase a Park pass at the Gates west of Canmore if you follow the track onto the Icefield Parkway (highway #93) up to Jasper.
Lake Louise is a nice spot to see, by the big hotel by the lake, but Morraine Lake nearby is more scenic and worth the short ride. The Lake there is what is on the back of the twenty dollar Bill in Canada.
There are many photo ops' to be had along the Icefield Parkway and the Icefield itself where you can take a tour on one of the huge buses, that take you out onto the Glacier. Worth it if you have never been.
At Jasper I route you onto a very short detour that has a few different cabin accommodations, my favorite being Takara Lake Lodge. Expensive but very nice with a long history. There are a few other very nice ones, but reservations are a must during high season. If you are riding;it is High-Season.
Jasper is worth exploring so plan a bit of time if you can. I marked a favorite Greek restaurant in Jasper, but there are many good food establishments in town, The Gondola Ride at Jasper is better than the one in Banff, especially if you do the hike at the top.
Highway 16 (Known as the Yellowhead Route) west of Jasper is very picturesque and be sure to stop for a picture if the weather is clear when you see Mount Robson in your mirrors. It is best seen from the west side.
Grizzly Bear and Black bear sightings along the highway are not uncommon; just remember they are fast as cats so don’t stop for a close up. The highway narrows as you turn south onto Highway 5 near Blue River. It is very picturesque with thick forest and lots of elevation change as you follow and cross the valley. A nice stop is at Little Hell’s Gate along the route before reaching Little Fort.
As you near Kamloops the Valley opens up into more wide open farm land. Kamloops is a large center built on the hill side in a very hot and arid “high desert” climate. There are lots of services for anything you might need. Almost every major hotel chain as well as camping is available.
The route takes you up and out the south side of Kamloops on the #5A, and winds through the Nicola Valley and along a huge lake. It is typically very windy along the lake, perfect for kite surfing and sail boarding, but can be challenging on a bike on the narrow highway.
Merrit is the next services along this stretch and although limited in selection, it has both accommodations and food, and fuel. Heading west from Merrit, Highway 8 is a narrow, winding road that is a blast on a sport-bike. Please remember that in British Columbia the penalty for speeding is harsh (40 kph over the limit will lose you your bike for a week, as well as a huge fine.) Even at a reasonable speed you will burn your chicken strips off on this stretch of road.
At Spences Bridges you will cross a busy level train track and join the Trans Canada Highway for a nice (one of the best) stretches of it as it winds through the Fraser Canyon to Lytton, where you will turn onto Highway 12 to Lillooet along a great piece of pavement that has lots of nice elevation change and a few very tight corners. Pay attention to the signs as over cooking a corner would be deadly! There are typically lots of deer on the northern half of the highway, especially early in the day. There is a very short stretch just before you drop into the valley floor near Lillooet that is one lane (alternating) where it hugs the cliff wall. Watch for rock fall on that stretch.
Make sure to fill right up at Lillooet as it is the last chance until Pemberton and you might burn more than usual along what is known as Duffy Lake Road. It has recently been paved and is a spectacular road for both scenery and as a bike-fun road. Watch for motor-homes and trailers that cut the tight corners and drag gravel up onto the road-way.
The southern tracks:
Hope to Princeton (Highway 3) is a beautiful road with lots of passing lanes that runs through Manning Park. The Rockies at their spectacular best; Trees, snowcapped peaks and clear, mountain rivers with lots of places to pull over to take it is. There is one notorious corner that sneaks up on you, so if you see vehicles appearing to move through the trees at a right angle, slow down. Again, pay attention to signs to avoid disaster.
The highway is two-lane most of the way with few passing lanes once you pass Princeton, all the way to Osoyoos. It tends to be very hot in the Okanagan and Osoyoos is the worst for that. It does however have a great, sandy beach to cool off at and is a very busy summer vacation spot. Later in the summer the fruit stands beside the many orchards are a fantastic spot to stop for a snack if you like truly fresh fruit.
The road east up and out of Osoyoos has been a long time favorite, best done early in the morning so you can enjoy the short but intense section of extremely tight curves as you near the top of the hill. Try not to get stuck behind a big truck or camper as it will ruin the experience. You can push your tires and skill to the limit even at less than illegal speeds. This is one of my favorite stretches of highway #3. Not long after than bit of fun you will descend to Rock Creek through a wide but tight switch back, and turn north on highway 33. Be sure to fuel at Rock creek before heading north to Kelowna on this remote but entertaining stretch of pavement. Be extra vigilante as the deer population is always high through this section.
From Kelowna to Vernon you are on the Okanagan Valleys super-highway. The vistas of the lake from the top are nice, but it is BUSY. From Vernon you turn onto Highway 6 for a great but remote run to the needles Ferry. Be sure to fuel at Lumby as you will have no other opportunity until Nakusp. Highway #6 is another long-time favorite with a few narrow tight sections that can get your pegs scraping. The cable Ferry at Needles doesn’t run 24 hours but I would not recommend that highway in the dark due to the wildlife. After the ferry the highway is scenic but fairly casual, with long sweepers as it winds along the lake to Nakusp. After Nakusp you will turn south and Head for New Denver past a couple of my favorite campgrounds. If you camp, bring cash or checks as they don’t take plastic.
Be sure to fuel in either Nakusp or New Denver as the road (highway 31A) to Kaslo has nothing but a Ghost town along its length. The short detour just before the hairpin to Sandon is fun but not paved. If it is dry you should be able to do it fairly easily even on sport-bike tires and is worth a look. Highway 31 A is one of the best motorcycling roads in B.C. in my opinion and other than sometimes rough road surface, and deer is perfection. As you get close to Kaslo the road winds along the river in curve after excellent curve.
Kaslo is my favorite B.C. town with a real hippy vibe. It has a great Hotel with a patio that overlooks the lake, a perfect spot to relax for a while. You can also find breakfast at a local favorite as early as 6 a.m. and the municipal campground is an easy walk to the main street for you campers. There is a really nice B&B called the Gables (I think) just down the street from the hotel.
Gas can be found just south of town, before the run to the Balfor ferry. Watch your speed as there are plenty of hiding spots for the local constabulary along this stretch. At Balfor you will enjoy a nice free inland Ferry ride, giving you a chance to relax and take in the scenery for about an hour. Right at the dock (at Balfor) there is a great little bakery if you like that sort of thing.
Leaving the ferry you will climb a steep winding hill past Crawford Bay, after that you are on what is thought to be the best motorcycle road in the province. I would argue that since the speed limit is ridiculously low and traffic is busy. It is however an entertaining and beautiful road with a weird tourist attraction on the lake side, not too far south of Crawford Bay, called the Glass House. It is worth seeing but easy to miss if you are cooking along, so watch for the signs. I did mark it on the track.
After Creston and the long slow wind through town, you will be on Highway #3 for the duration of B.C. and into Alberta. It has a few interesting places to stop for touristy shots, but is a busy highway. Be patient, enjoy the road, and stop and enjoy the places along the way. I have marked some of my favorite places along the track.
Uhaul, it's part of the KTM experience.
09 KTM 990 Adv
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