Canmore to Calgary Canada by Bicycle Day 11

Looking back at the mountains

Watch the horizon open up as you leave the mountains behind you. The road to Calgary has two and sometimes three lanes, always with a massive shoulder. I have directed you to the highway immediately after leaving Wapiti Campground. If you need to visit Canmore, there are many opportunities to regain the highway from the east side of town.

The first settlement that you will ride through is Deadman’s Flats, a small village just east of Canmore, with a restaurant on the highway at a large truck stop. The origin of the name Deadman’s Flats is not definitive. One legend is that two Aboriginal people were hunting in the area that was at the time a national park, when they saw Park Wardens approaching. Knowing that hunting in the area was illegal, they smeared themselves with the blood of the dead beavers that they had hunted and played dead. When the startled warden found them he left to get help to deal with the situation. When the warden was out of sight, the men “rose from the dead,” and returned to camp with their beavers.

Climb up Scott Lake Hill to an elevation of 1 410 M and then race down the other side of it and enter the prairies! This area is known for gusting winds and lack of precipitation.

Downtown Calgary

On a clear day you will be able to see Calgary long before you cycle into it. Calgary’s distinctive skyline is surrounded by kilometres of urban sprawl. Calgary Tower is the most notable point on the Calgary skyline. It was briefly Canada’s tallest building when it was constructed in 1968.

Calgary, with a population of 988 193, sits at the convergence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers. It was at this merging of waterways that the North West Mounted Police built a fort to protect the area’s fur trade and to stop U.S. whiskey traders from entering the western plains of Canada in the 1870s.

Calgary has always been a boomtown that swells with population and prosperity when the price of oil and gas is high and busts when it is not. In 1947, the population of the city was about 100 000, by 1955 it had doubled.

HWY 1 intersects the city of Calgary and is known as 16th Avenue North through the city. Calgary streets are set up in a grid formation where avenues run from west to east and streets run from north to south.

Cyclists should avoid roads that end with Trail, as these are major freeways that are not friendly to cyclists. All streets and avenues end with a combination of two cardinal directions (NW, NE, SE, SW), which indicate the quadrant of the city that the street or avenue is located in.

On the west side of Calgary is Canada Olympic Park, which was built for the Winter Olympics that Calgary hosted in 1988. Just looking at the towering ski jump will send shivers up your spine. Canada Olympic Park is used for skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, luge, skeleton and bobsled both recreationaly and competitively.

Another famous building in Calgary is the Saddledome. Built in 1983, the inverted hyperbolic paraboloid unique design creates pillar-free view from all seats and also reduces interior volume. The design was strictly functional with no thought that it resembled a saddle and would become a symbol for Calgary’s cowboy heritage.

People from all over the world move to Calgary for its clean air, many parks, employment opportunities and proximity to the Rocky Mountains. Calgarians have risen to affluence largely on the back of the oil and gas industry. This burgeoning middle class has fueled a demand for single-family dwellings. Combine that with few geographical barriers to growth and a perceived endless supply of gas and oil and you end up with a sparsely populated city that is connected to the core area with massive highway-style arteries.

If you are passing through Calgary in early July, treat yourself to a day off and take in the Calgary Stampede. Calgarians favourite festival is the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and a Calgary tradition since 1912. During Stampede, residents and tourists get into the spirit by dressing in traditional western attire and decorating their homes and businesses.

If you are limping into Calgary with bike problems, hit Bow Cycle & Sport on the west side of the city.

There is a campground on both the east and west side of the city, both located near HWY 1. Calgary West Campground is on the west side of town and Mountain View Camping is on the east. Both cater to motor homes but permit tents. Calgary is spread over a massive area, meaning that both of these campgrounds are far away from the centre of the city. I am going to give directions to Calgary West Campground, but don’t be afraid to hit a hostel in the centre of town, as it will give you an opportunity to see Calgary up close.

If staying at Calgary West Campground you will have to cycle into Calgary to acquire groceries for the evening.

Hostelling International’s Calgary City Centre is located downtown; it comes highly recommended.

Kilometre Log
0.0Turn left out of Wapiti Campground and head north on Ray McBride Road.
0.1Turn right on Mountain Avenue.
0.7Turn left to merge onto HWY 1. Remain on this road until you can see Calgary.
1.5Exit to Canmore.
2.2Exit to Canmore.
3.5Cross Cougar Creek.
4.1Exit to Canmore.
5.5Cross over the Bow River.
6.6Last exit to Canmore.
10.7Deadman’s Flats.
16.0Lac des Arcs.
27.1Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 1X.
31.3Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 40 & Stoney Nakoda Resort.
53.6Scott Lake Hill.
56.7Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 68.
69.7Cross Jumping Pound Crveek Road.
73.8Intersection of HWY 1 and HWY 22. Large truck stop and restaurant here.
85.2Cloverleaf to exit the highway. Keep heading east.
88.9Exit right off of HWY 1.
89.1Continue heading west on this road as it parallels HWY 1 as West Valley Road SW.
90.2West Valley Road SW curves right to become 101 Street SW.
90.5Turn right off 101 Street SW into Calgary West Camgpround.

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