Goat Creek

- 20 kilometers One Way
- Easy to Intermediate
- 1 to 2 hours


Goat Creek

Access: Smith-Dorrien Spray Trail
Parking: Goat Creek trailhead
Trail: Goat Creek to Banff (20k) can be done as a loop by adding Legacy or Rundle Riverside.

- Easy to Intermediate

I don't know where to begin ... seriously.
If a liesurely glide down a wide road is what you're after, this is it. But there's also a variey of ways to extend the journey, adding degrees of difficulty as you see fit. With such a plethora of options the hard part is actually figuring out the logistics of where to start and end this thing ... and where to park the car.

UPDATE: There's now a Bike n' Hike Shuttle Bus to take you back up to the trailhead so you can recover your car, and will even pick you up in Banff if a one-way ride is all you're after.

What's certain is that it's best to ride the trail in the direction of Canmore to Banff, because it's a pleasant descent most of the way through pine and spruce forest, hampered only by some moderate climbing near the end. At approximately the 13 km mark there's a fork in the road where a bridge crosses the Spray River and follows a trail on the other side, eventually spilling out near the Golf Course. However, if you stick to the original trail for the final 6 km's it ends with a rather surreal moment as you emerge from the backcountry wilderness in the midst of tourists milling about the parking lot of the Banff Springs Hotel.

The most accomodating version of this ride is to arrange for transportation that will drop you off at the Goat Creek trailhead and pick you up at the Banff Springs Hotel, or anywhere in Banff for that matter. Hey, it doesn't get any more liesurely than that. But if you need a little more of a challenge, you can always make it a loop by riding back to Canmore via the TransCanada highway in roughly 2 hrs or so. Mind you, if your car's up at the Goat Creek trailhead you still have to pedal up the steep gravel road above Canmore and past the Nordic Center to get to it.
And then there's my favorite, which is to make it a loop by taking Rundle Riverside trail from the Banff Spring's Golf course which follows the Bow River for 14 km's of gnarly, narrow single track, ending up back at the Canmore Nordic Center.

Of course, here again you have to ride up that same steep gravel road from the Nordic center to the trailhead where the car is, unless you have cars parked at both locations ... I guess my point here is that you either ride up the steep gravel road back to the trailhead or go through the hassle of shuttling cars ... but hey, it's all good ... and well worth it.