5 months out of the year, every year, this hidden gem within Kananaskis Country is open to the public. At its apex, the Highwood Pass is measured at over 2,200 meters (IE 7,200 feet) above sea level. Yes, you’ll see traces of snow in the mountains...even in the summer. Yes, you’ll notice your breathing will be a bit labored because of the altitude. And yes, you’ll bear witness to the greenest of green terrain. Today the window of opportunity presented itself & my Harley Davidson Softail, courtesy of Eaglerider Calgary Motorcycle Rentals, was up for the task.
From the Trans Canada Highway (#1) out of Calgary, the turn-off at the bold green Kananaskis Sign (Exit 118) is the start of your Mountain Adventure.
Rest assured, there are countless ‘Points Of Interest” along the route which will give you plenty of opportunity to snap those perfect pictures.
Tip: Travelers on this route are in no hurry & you’ll find the 90km/hr speed limit is more then sufficient
Once you enter Kananaskis Country, you’ll see numerous hiking trails & signs for camping areas adorning both sides of the Pass. Watch for slower moving vehicles from both of these areas.
20 minutes in, on Hwy 40, you’ll pass by Nakiska: Site of the Downhill Skiing competition of the ‘88 Winter Olympics. Usually unoccupied, take the turn-off & explore the site or have a quick stop at the village (fully staffed) to grab a bite.
Tip: Be on the look out for small woodland creatures of all shapes & sizes...keep your camera by the ready at all times.
Once back onto the #40 you’ll enter Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. This area named in honor of former Alberta Premier, Peter Lougheed. This magnificent back-country is a camping enthusiasts wonderland. Make a point to explore these sites to get a true feel of the solitude of the outdoors. Maybe plan another trip for an overnight stay.
Tip: There is only 1 fuel station along the #40...about the half way point. Be conscious of signs & your gas tank.
Be on the lookout for the “Highwood Pass” sign (White with Black Lettering). This is a great photo keep-sake. Unfortunately there isn’t a pull-out area by the sign...the shoulder will have to do (Be cautious of traffic).
Throughout your ride you will come across wildlife: Rocky Mountain Sheep, Moose and Cows. At the time of my ride, there were warnings of bear sightings. My point? You are exposed on a Motorcycle so when approaching wildlife, factor in an escape plan.
Tip: There is no ‘right way’ to approach the #40. On this ride I entered thru the North.
This one-day loop is rewarding on so many levels...even your stop in Longview! Yes, this is a fuel-up station but wow, the ice cream cones are delicious :)
Tip: To really experience the charm of the Alberta landscape, stay off the beaten path. May I suggest following the Cowboy Trail (Hwy. 22) thru Black Diamond & Millarville...you’ll bear witness to breathtaking acreages & you won’t feel rushed by traffic.
On this ride, I veered East into the town of Okotoks. The name Okotoks is derived from a Siksika word meaning"stoney," referring to a crossing site of the Sheep River, which runs through the town. North of this town is a Biker Bar worth visiting: Big Sky Bbq. The parking is well laid-out for bikers & the food is well laid-out for anyone with a BIG SKY APPETITE!!!
Tip: Look into the organization “One Broken Biker”. A group that supports fallen riders & their families. Every Wednesday throughout the summer the Big Sky Bbq restaurant hosts their fundraising events: www.onebrokenbiker.org
What enhanced this experience and others like this, is the comfort that Eaglerider brings to the table. The owners, Marion & Bill, riders themselves, have also explored Western Canada. They’ll pass on their knowledge, their stories and their experiences to you so that you can live out your dream on a dream motorcycle. From the Softtail to the Electra Glide to the Road Glide, and more, Harley Davidson has built these Sexy & Beefy machines right! I cannot wait to share with you my next ride #LiveMoreRideMore