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Thread: Need suggested roads from Wyoming to Banff

  1. #1
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
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    Need suggested roads from Wyoming to Banff

    I'll be riding from Dallas and Banff in July and would love to know of the favorite roads from the Red Lodge area to Banff. For about two days prior I'll be meeting up with a couple of friends and riding with them from Grand Junction through Yellowstone and on to Cody. From there I'm finally going to ride Bear tooth pass. My friends will be heading back to Colorado while I continue on.

    So here's the question: What are some good roads between Red Lodge and Banff? Keep in mind I've already ridden around the Flathead Lake, Kalispell, and of course Glacier. I could certainly ride those places again, but I was wondering about trying to get there from the area of let's say Great Falls, MT to try other roads.

    Once I get to Banff, I'm going to ride to Jasper since I hear that's a great run. From there, I'm open to other suggestions.
    Perhaps I could head southwest towards Kamloops and back into Washington. After that, I'll need to head back for Dallas.

    Any info about routes, areas, towns, hotels, or good eats would be greatly appreciated.
    I promise to take pictures.

  2. #2
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Yep:)

    I've ridden the areas lots and it seems you've found some of the best already and repeatable. One of my favorites is the ride to Jasper from the south,Banff. This is very good and glaciers abound along this route. Its good indeed! I camp too and have some camp advice for those parts. Grizzly bear country and not too hard to find either, so beware of your camping habits. Clean camping is an absolute, including your toothpaste, deodorant,etc....Be wise. I've had them right nearby my camping and they do not bother folks that have good BEAR common sense. "Read up", if you have doubts about sleeping with them, as you will be in a tent. It also gets noticably colder along that route, into the below freezing nights easily in summer.
    I left that area for the coast heading SW and into Horseshoe Bay,BC and the Georgia Straight ferry to Vancouver Island,etc. at Nanaimo and on to Victoria,BC.. The Coho Ferry to Port Angeles,USA is the one to catch from Victoria,BC and points south along Washington,etcetc...You cannot go wrong touring the BC, Canada as it has soooo much beauty. Happy Trails, Randy13233

  3. #3
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    suggested roads

    Randy:

    These areas are in my riding back yard and here are some good ones that are in the general area of your route:

    In Montana:

    Hwy 78 from Red Lodge to Columbus
    89 through the Lewis and Clark Forest S.E. of Great Falls
    89 from Great Falls to Browning
    49 (the Kiowa Cut - Off) from East Glacier to Kiowa, to St Mary (this is my favourite road)

    In Alberta:

    22 (the Cowboy Trail) from Pincher Creek to Longview
    541 and 40 (Kananaskis Trail) from Longview to Trans Canada Highway
    Bow Valley Parkway from Banff to Eisenhower Junction (watch for cops!)
    93 (Icefield Parkway) from Lake Louise Junction to Jasper (watch for cops!)

    In B.C.:

    Duffy Lake Road from Lilloet to Pemberton
    31A (the Glory Road) from Kaslo to New Denver (my other favourite road)

    In Washington:

    20 (the North Cascades Highway) from Okanagan to Sedro Woolley
    And there are dozens more in the state.

    There are more details on some threads from last summer which you can search here under "Rocky Mountains"

    In Banff, have a meal at the Bow Valley Grill (get reservations) or drinks in the Rundle Lounge. In Lake Louise, try the Chateau Lake Louise for the same. The Rose and Crown in Banff is a good pub.

    Have a good ride.

    Rinty
    Last edited by Rinty; 06-23-2007 at 04:36 PM. Reason: add something

  4. #4
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
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    Thanks Polarbear and Rinty for great info.

    Rinty,

    I'm going to take the exacts suggested roads in Montana and all suggested roads to Banff.
    I would have taken Hwy 1 from Banff direct to Hwy 93 to Jasper, but I see you have me on 1A Bow Valley Parkway. Gotta love this forum.

    What do you suggest from Jasper to Lolloet. Should I just go Hwy 5 by way of Kamloops?

    Great info here. This is exactly what I needed.

  5. #5
    REBECCAV
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    Quote Originally Posted by rinty View Post
    In Alberta:


    541 and 40 (Kananaskis Trail) from Longview to Trans Canada Highway
    I can also say that this road is worth taking.

    On my next trip up there however, I will stay out of tourist towns like Banff - WAY too much slow-moving, inattentive traffic.

    Have a fun and safe trip and please let us know how it was!

  6. #6
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boxergrrlie View Post
    I can also say that this road is worth taking.

    On my next trip up there however, I will stay out of tourist towns like Banff - WAY too much slow-moving, inattentive traffic.

    Have a fun and safe trip and please let us know how it was!
    I loved it up there. Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper. Nice ride from Radium Hot Springs to Castle Junction.
    But I love tourist traps too. Lots of waffle cones and t shirts, etc. We walked around Banff for a few hours. Shopping-looking in the stores.
    BMWMotorcycles, fun when they're running...
    My other bike is a BMW.
    Jack Hawley MOA and RA #224, KE9UW ("Chuck")

  7. #7
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Riding the Rockies

    Randy:

    Highway 5, the Yellowhead is really the only direct route from Jasper towards Lilloet. It's been years since I have been on it, and I recall it doesn't have tight corners, but I think you'll find the scenery reasonable. I would suggest you cut across, west, on hwy 24, and then south on 97, to the Lilloet corner, rather than going through Kamloops. I've heard 24 is a good ride, but I haven't done it myself.

    Banff, Canada's Kitzbuhel, is touristy, as Rebecca says, but I would still strongly recommend it for a visit. You will want to keep your head up for gawking tourists while riding down Banff Avenue, but it's manageable. Parking your bike will not be a big problem, there are enough spaces around. At the Banff Springs Hotel, just ask the valets if you can leave your bike in the drop off zone while you eat; they like having cool stuff around. Just pull up and say: "Hai, ah'm from Taxas!" They'll love it.

    About that 60 km speed limit on the Bow Valley Parkway, the RCMP are very serious about it, so just enjoy the scenery.

    Well, Rebecca, I'm off to ride 541 and 40 in a few minutes, Munchy's favourite Rockies road. We've got a new rider with us, so at least we won't get a speeding ticket today. It'll be a lot less work than riding it on my Le Mond a few weeks ago. For the first time, I didn't make it to the Highwood summit. We rode it from the south, a trip of about 40 km. each way, into a head wind, and my front derailleur was out of adjustment, so I couldn't shift. Big blow to my ego.

    Have a good trip Randy, and just post any more questions you have, or pm me.

    Rinty
    Last edited by Rinty; 06-24-2007 at 02:42 PM. Reason: add something

  8. #8
    Randy:

    Kiowa (49) is via Browning to East Glacier, not Browning to St. Mary's. There is a maintenance costs fight (Fed-State-County-Tribe) and it isn't always open. Take Kiowa Junction if it is open (ask at Browning) and then take 89 into Babb.

    If you need food in East Glacier, check for Serrano's, it used to be in Red Lodge and Whitefish, but I think this is the only location still open (seasonally).

    If you need to eat in St Mary's, check out Johnson's or the Park Cafe. Both are great and better than the tourist trap stuff at the gas station.

    If you need to eat in Babb, eat at Two Sisters cafe.

    Then do not continue on 89 to Cardston; instead, take the Chief Mountain Road. Amazing route. Check out the Prince of Wales Hotel on Waterton Lake. Then catch 6 per Rinty's info.

    Revelstoke to New Denver gets my vote, too. Nakusp has hot springs (you know I like hot springs) but especially take the turn at Nelson and go to Kootenai Lake, then stay at Ainsworth Hot Springs (the road is only unpaved for a very short stretch and maybe it's paved by now). Then the next day, take the ferry to the other side.

    If you're tight on time, ride to Creston and down into Washington. Otherwise, take Highway 3, The Crowsnest Highway, East. It is amazing its whole length and goes over Crowsnest Pass, of course. See Kimberly, close to Cranbrook; it's a bit of Bavaria. Turn south whenever you're ready to head home.

    Come to think of it, I have houseguests from July 17 to Aug 6 and we're planning to go to Ainsworth overnight, but I haven't made reservations yet. Wanna meet?

  9. #9
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    riding the Rockies

    Ditto on the Chief Mountain Road, Randy. I should have mentioned that. Watch for a couple of hundred yard stretch of gravel just past a corner, on the U.S. side. I don't know if they've re - paved it yet. If you ride the Chief, you'll be just a few minutes from Waterton townsite when you go by the Waterton Park gate. It's a little gem of a town, with an exotic old hotel, the Prince of Wales, up on the bluff. They serve high tea at about 3.

    There may be rough breaks on the Kiowa Cut - Off too, but they're not hard to spot.

    Rinty

  10. #10
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
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    Montana and Rinty,

    I'm making notes and marking my maps. I will respond shortly. Looks like I'm going to either end up near Whistler and Vancouver or head more south into Northern Idaho depending upon which route I choose. You can't very well cut over a mountain pass so each of the suggested roads after Banff will have to be one or the other this summer.
    Let's see how I can connect all the highlighted routes.

    Rebbecca,

    Thanks for the info and encouragement. I hadn't thought about the tourist town aspect, but at least I can be mentally prepared. Last summer I made the big mistake of riding through Sevierville and Gatlinberg, Tennessee and it was truly the lowest point of my journey to Nova Scotia. Actually the lowest point of any ride I've ever taken. Surely Banff won't be half as bad.

  11. #11
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
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    Okay. I think I have all the routes loaded thanks to everyone's help. I'm taking Rinty's roads all the way to Jasper with the modification from Michelle to inquire about route 49 at Browning to Kiowa and cutting over on 17 just north of Babb.

    After Jasper, I'll head for Kamloops and then eastward to Revelstoke. From there I'll be heading to New Denver, Nelson and the Ainsworth Hot Springs http://www.hotnaturally.com/index.php
    Looks too good to pass up.

    My choice to begin to head back east was strictly due to time away plus my intention is to ride this area again next year and include Victoria. I'll come a different route to allow for more time to get me over to the western area of BC.

    My only question today is what to expect at the border crossings in terms of traffic or any issues. I have a passport so that's not an problem. My question is where do I go through customs north of Babb and coming home through Porthill, ID ??

    Looks like Sandpoint ,ID will be the start back to Dallas.

  12. #12
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Rockies ride

    I'm taking Rinty's roads all the way to Jasper.......RTRandy
    Flattery will get you everywhere. Seriously, I think you'll like that route. The border crossings at both Port 'o Piegan and Chief Mountain are easy, and you shouldn't have long line ups. The Coutts / Sweetgrass crossing is where the lineups are.

    I have never seen the Kiowa Cut - Off closed in summer. It does close in the winter. But Montana can correct me on this.

    Don't worry about the Banff tourists. To be candid, the place is touristy and we Calgarians don't go there that much, but for an out of province rider, I think you'll really like it. It has a bit of a European feel to it.

    It may be that you don't care to go back, but you'll be glad you went once. While you're there, you may want to check out Monod's on Banff Avenue. They have one of the best inventories of outdoor gear you'll find anywhere.

    Rinty

  13. #13
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rinty View Post
    While you're there, you may want to check out Monod's on Banff Avenue. They have one of the best inventories of outdoor gear you'll find anywhere.

    Rinty
    I've got it all loaded in my GPS including Monod's in Banff. Thanks ! Less than three weeks before clutch out in Dallas. Got a feeling Banff might be much like Freeport, Maine in the summer with tourists plus they have LL Bean which is tough to beat in terms of gear. LL Bean never closes so you can buy a canoe at 2 o'clock in the morning if you like.

    Thanks again.

    If you know of any good BMW motorcycle service in the area, I wouldn't mind making a note in case I might need something up that way. The only one I know out that way is in Missoula.

  14. #14
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Wyoming to Banff

    Anderwerks in Calgary is excellent, but book in advance (403 - 277 - 4269) for routine service, cause it's the busy summer season. Dave is always flexible in dealing with emergencies, however. Boise Idaho has Big Twin, but I don't know anything about them. The Anonymous book will have listings for service in other centres along your route.

    Also, I missed your question about Porthill in your earlier post. It's small and it's easy to cross there. So is Kingsgate, to the east.

    Rinty

  15. #15
    Kiowa closures: if there is a bad winter with lots of road damage (slumping, heaves, etc) then come spring, the tribe (Blackfeet) thinks the State (Montana) or the Feds (Glacier National Park) should fix it; the State thinks the tribe or the Feds should do it; the Feds think... the county is in there somewhere too. So, the road is simply blocked off. The bicyclists love it when this happens. Just be careful, if you do ride it. It is open range, so the cattle just step right out of the willows along the road, right into the road. But, man, it is FUN!

    I think you need to have proof of insurance for the bike and the registration to present. I've never had a problem crossing into Canada, it's always the entry back to the US where I get harassed. The little crossings are the easiest, the Sweetgrass crossing is commercial trucks. The one into Eureka MT used to be closed at night, you'll want to ask if you are going that route.

    If you come down to the US into Idaho, the BMW shop is on I-90 at Post Falls, it's called Beaudry. If you go further into Idaho, there's Mac's and that's in Lewiston ID or maybe the other side of the bridge, in Clarkston WA? Well, they're only a mile apart. Keep in mind the timezone change cuts across the middle of Idaho, if you need to get somewhere and are planning anything specific.

    Thanks for the Ainsworth link, let me know if you have a date in mind.

    This is unfortunately an expensive year for US travelers to Canada, since the loonie is finally stronger. Go, Loonies!

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