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Thread: Alberta Forestry Trunk Road - Any Insights/Information?

  1. #1
    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    Alberta Forestry Trunk Road - Any Insights/Information?

    I'm already starting to think about next summer's riding adventures. One destination that I'm strongly considering is riding the Alberta Forestry Trunk Road (FTR) from south (near Coleman) to north (Grand Prairie). If you have any information on:
    1. Best summer months to travel;
    2. Road conditions or traveling advice and tips;
    3. Things to be aware of;
    4. Amount of time to 'do it right';
    5. Side trips and excursions - sights to see and not miss;
    6. Previous experiences - riding, places to stay/camp, food, gas, etc.; and
    7. Anything else.
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, and '16 R1200GSA (wife's)

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    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    I have ridden the southern portion of this route on a mountain bike and camped along the route at primitive campsites but don't have experience with the whole thing. Ed from Calgary may pop in on this since I assume he would have ridden this on his GS. I will chip in some bits of information that may be helpful.
    Ken Dittrick
    2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blau)

    Excuses are the rocks upon which our dreams are crushed - Tim Fargo

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    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogthebasher View Post
    I have ridden the southern portion of this route on a mountain bike and camped along the route at primitive campsites but don't have experience with the whole thing. Ed from Calgary may pop in on this since I assume he would have ridden this on his GS. I will chip in some bits of information that may be helpful.
    +1 Any info would be great.

    I checked ADVRider and riders there suggest... riding on weekends - less commercial traffic but then more recreational traffic which don't know the rules of the road, e.g., cutting corners, driving impaired, too fast, etc. If on a weekday they recommended pulling over when seeing big trucks - said the truckers like that. Saw lots of pics and it looks like a beautiful route. Also is there a website or something that can tell of road closures because of weather, e.g., washouts, bridges out, etc?
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, and '16 R1200GSA (wife's)

  4. #4
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    I've ridden the south sections of the trunk road a number of times from Coleman up to the Red Deer river and a bit beyond. I've not done any of it north of that. It is pretty much rideable anytime after the snow melts until it flies again in the fall. The best window for a planned trip for the full length would be June to September. It can be OK earlier or later but you may encounter snow or icy spots.

    As to side trips, that will depend on how adventurous you want to be and how well you can handle your GS in the rougher stuff. At the southern end, there is the Dutch creek road further west of the Trunk road which is for the most part pretty passable on a GS with just a couple tricky spots where it bypasses some washouts. You can make a run up the Oldman River road and past a few washouts on it until it becomes all but impassable too. Good Trout fishing (catch and release only) in the Oldman watershed if you're into that. A nice ride out of the trunk road over to highway 22 is the 532 through Indian Graves recreation area. Once into the Kananaskis area, the road turns into highway 40 over the Highwood Pass. A good gravel option is to take the Smith Dorien (Spray Lakes) trail from Kananaskis into Canmore. The Sibald flats road, highway 68 splits off highway 40 to the east just before you get to the Trans Canada hwy, from it you can take the Powderface trail down to hwy 66 into Bragg Creek. A stop along that highway at Elbow falls is a must.

    Once North of the #1 highway, there are a few spurs that run off the trunk road, most are dead ends unless you can manage ATV trails and single track (probably not I'd guess). There are a few side loops that can be done on good roads and oil lease roads from the trunk road; hwy 579, Stud Creek Road, Benjamin Creek road. A nice side road to the west just after you cross the Red Deer river is the Yaha Tinda road. At thew far end you can do a short hike into Big Horn falls. Farther north along the trunk road you can venture up to the top of Limestone Mountain, an old look out point for a spectacular view. It's easy riding for all but the last 1 km section that climbs up to the top which is quite rocky.

    Hopefully that gives you some ideas for your trip, and maybe someone else can offer up some knowledge of the more northern sections.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  5. #5
    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    Thank you very much Ed.

    How did you manage gas for your F800GS? Did you take a spare tank? The section between Highway #1 and #16 seems like a long stretch. Heard that Mountain Aire Lodge once a place for gas is closed. Reports are that you can get gas in Robb. Have you done that section of the FTR?

    I will look into all of your side trip suggestions they sound great.
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, and '16 R1200GSA (wife's)

  6. #6
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nakwakto00 View Post
    Thank you very much Ed.

    How did you manage gas for your F800GS? Did you take a spare tank? The section between Highway #1 and #16 seems like a long stretch. Heard that Mountain Aire Lodge once a place for gas is closed. Reports are that you can get gas in Robb. Have you done that section of the FTR?

    I will look into all of your side trip suggestions they sound great.
    I have a Camel tank on my GS so I can manage over 400 Kms on a fill up. On the south section, there is of course gas all along the Crowsnest are to start off. Longview on hwy 22 has gas and there is a seasonal gas station at the junction of the trunk road and hwy 40 to the west of Longview. Along Hwy 40 there is a station at Fortress Mountain, after that on hwy 1 there are options not too far east or west from hwy 40. On the north section, there is not too much on the trunk road itself, Mountainaire is definitely without fuel anymore. Nordeg at highway 11 has gas, from there to hwy 16 I can't say what there is as I've not been on that section, but I think there is little in the way of fuel or services. Depending on how much exploring off the trunk road you do, you may need to make diversions out and back to get fuel.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  7. #7
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    While there may be gas in Robb I have not seen it, however, you could call the owners of J&J's General Store there (780) 794-3784 to find out. It is open seasonally as well I believe. There are several gas stations in Hinton which is 50 Km (30 miles) west of Robb on Range Road 233A.

    There are a lot of good fishing spots around the Watson Creek Provincial Recreation Area as well as the Cadomin Caves nearby to check out.
    Ken Dittrick
    2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blau)

    Excuses are the rocks upon which our dreams are crushed - Tim Fargo

  8. #8
    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    Thank you for your tips and suggestions. I really appreciate it - especially the fishing suggestions.

    I viewed GravelTravel.ca and read about the FTR there. It might be dated since it lists gas at Mountaire Lodge and Robb but no gas in Nordegg.

    When I traveled the Chilcotin in BC I found there were gas stations in many places not listed and no gas in others. What I did find was that local folks were always ready to help. Fortunately I didn't ever run out of gas choosing instead to be easy on the throttle.

    One more question? Is it worth taking Hwy 40 to Grand Prairie? Then once you hit Grand Prairie which is more scenic going left towards Prince George or going right towards Edmonton? Our goal is to drive through Jasper down to Banff.
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, and '16 R1200GSA (wife's)

  9. #9
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    Yes it is worth going to Grande Prairie and then for sure turn left for Prince George then left again to Jasper - much more scenic. East of GP is farmland with wide straight roads. North of GP leads to Grimshaw, High Level and then the North West Territories - again farmland for much of it. But I have to tell you the route from Prince George to Prince Rupert or Hyder would be high on my list as well but that would be a whole other trip! Decisions decisions.
    Ken Dittrick
    2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blau)

    Excuses are the rocks upon which our dreams are crushed - Tim Fargo

  10. #10

    Forestry Trunk Rd.

    I rode the FTR from Hinton south to Coleman back in the day on a Yamaha 920 Virago. It rained for the entire trip. It can get real cold at night when everything is wet. Mud packed into everything, between wheels and fenders and coated the engine. I'd stop and pull it off or chip it off where it had baked onto the engine with a knife. Point is if you've got any sort of a GS or even a Scrambler with knobbie tires you're going to have a great time. Actually a light weight Scrambler, any of the 800 twins, or the old single cyclinder 650 would be a blast. The 1200GS is fine if you've got to travel long distance to get to the FTR otherwise it's just added weight.

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