Canmore, AB - Into Jackie's Backyard

➼  Canadian Rocky Mountains

  Prospector Trail (Canmore Suburb - Exshaw)

 

 

Canmore Kananaskis offers something for every type of adventurer with plenty of activities available throughout the year including hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, road biking, and skiing. Canmore is the outdoor enthusiasts dream location, with the Canadian Rocky mountains so close all you have to do is step outside your doorstep and adventure is there waiting for you. With the winding mountain roads and extensive trail network, Canmore is an awesome place for cycling of any kind. Whether you are on the road or on the trail, the towering peaks of the Canadian Rockies stand tall around you, and the 360-degree vistas make snack breaks all the more enjoyable.

 

 

Ride Details

  • Full suspension is recommended for this trail, although you could take a hardtail if you’re so inclined.
  • Intermediate to Advanced
  • 8.78 km approx / 354m elevation gain / moving time approx 1 hour 30 min
  • Bring bear spray, snacks, your trailside repair kit, and water
  • Find this trail on Trailforks
  • See this ride on Strava 

 

This black diamond rated trail is a mixed bag, with easier ride arounds, and offers lots of different trail features to keep you on your toes. On this trail you will see signs dedicated to “Blue,” in memoriam of the original trail builder. The initial climb itself is not too bad, and in a handful of switchbacks you’ve made your way to the height of the trail. It's important to note that this trail crosses a lot of rock, so be sure you have the proper tire pressure and a trailside kit. The entire trail makes its way up the mountain side, through a beautiful forest, and comes out on the side of the mountain, overlooking the valley bottom. The views are beautiful at the top, and the trail is fun and exhilarating. 

The riding on this classic Canadian Rockies trail is technical with lots of roots, rocks, tight switchbacks and woodwork - all maintained by CAMBA. There is a new top extension if you’re keen for another climb, but I personally prefer the original trail.

 

 

On the first descent, you’ll cruise down a fun but short descent and come across the first of the wood features - a wooden step down that can be rolled or dropped. The landing is slightly on the flat side, so make sure your suspension is open! After this, you’ll cruise through the forest for a bit on a speedy decline, before climbing a few more switchbacks to another descent.

 

 

On this next section, there is another step down wooden feature, which can also be rolled or dropped. This one is larger than the first, and rolls out to a couple of fun, small jumps made out of logs and dirt. As you roll out of this feature zone, you’ll continue your descent to a wooden bridge feature. Keep your speed at a good pace and look at the end of the feature, you’ll do great!

 

 

 

Next up is another small climb to the first of the slabs sections on this trail. You’ll climb up a few rocky sections, stop for a moment to take in the views or keep on rolling, right into this slab/rock crop section. The trick here is to keep a good momentum and follow the “ridge” or crack of the rocks. 

 

Following this next section is a “choose your own adventure” section. There is a pretty decent rock ride/drop with a wooden ramp, or two ride-around options. Choose based on your skill level here - all are a great time!

 

 

After this section you’ll climb a few metres once more, and come to the final descent of the trail. Here, you’ll find a mixture of wooden bridges, some skinny and some not, all with optional ride arounds. There are a few fun little “jump” features on this part of the trail, all leading you to the most scenic part of the ride; the slab. 

 

This section is one you don’t want to get caught on in the rain, as it can be quite a spicy zone! As with all features on this trail, there are ride-around options, but the grip you have on the dry rock is great whether you want to go fast or slow. If you’ve got a buddy with you, this is the section where you’ll definitely want photos! The views are epic, but make sure you keep your eyes on the prize. After the first slab, which is pretty straightforward, you’ll come to another rocky section with 3 step-downs or a ride around. 

 

 

After this, there are a few tight and loose switchbacks with one drop before you’ve completed this epic black diamond trail in the Canadian Rockies. All in all, this one-hour ride is a great time with epic views and plenty of features. After a hot ride in the summer sunshine on this trail, head back to town with your pals and hit up one of the many great patios for some post-ride bevvies and bites. The top three choices located in downtown Canmore would be;

If coffee is your beverage of choice, pop by the Bicycle Cafe Canmore for a hot or iced drink, and check out their selection of PEPPERMINT merch!

 

Jackie Larouche, ambassador of the PEPPERMINT Collective 

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