Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the trails in and around Calgary are phenomenal. From inner-city singletrack throughout the Bow River valley to all-day epics in Kananaskis Country, Calgary’s home to some of the best riding in Alberta.
The Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance has been a part of Calgary’s mountain bike scene for over 20 years, and has worked hard to bring the community together to create, build, and maintain trails for mountain bikers.
Outside the city, Kananaskis Country has endless singletrack, and some of the highlight zones are Moose Mountain, West Bragg Creek developed trail networks and the Powderface area. Here are some mountain bike routes both in the city and surrounding area to get you started:
Calgary: beginner route
Nose Hill Park is the one of the largest urban parks in Canada, and it’s a spectacular natural area filled with mellow gradient trails. Starting in the northeast corner of the park from the parking lot at 14th Street and Berkley Gate NW, begin climbing the Regional Pathway, The Scar, Gravelcade and Plateau to earn spectacular views of downtown Calgary. As you wrap across the south side of Nose Hill Park on the Borderlands trial, you’re treated with a great descent down South Ridge. Climb back up the Regional Pathway and along Long North Road. Hang a right on Hockey Stick and enjoy one last descent on Eastbound and Down back to the parking lot you started at.
West Bragg Creek: intermediate route
West Bragg Creek has really taken off in recent years. The trails are in awesome shape and are a great intro to doing longer rides. Start by climbing Braggin Rights and cross the Telephone Loop to meet up with Merlin. Merlin is a 6km loop that you can ride in either direction, and has some amazing views of Kananaskis Country. Once you’ve completed the loop, ride Reconnect, Long Distance and Disconnect to extend your ride. Once you’re back on the Telephone Loop, you’ll have one major climb and one major descent back to the car.
Moose Mountain: intermediate route
Out on Highway 66 past what used to be Allan Bill Pond (pre-2013 floods) is the staging area of Station Flats. Follow the Diamond T Loop trail and connect with Sulphur Springs to begin your ascent of Moose Mountain. As you approach the Moose Mountain access road, you’ll meet up with Pneuma, a technical and challenging climbing trail. If you find that you’re struggling with Pneuma, you can exit onto Moose Mountain Road and climb that for an easier ascent. After the final steep pitch, it’s time for one of my favourite descents: Race of Spades. It’s a fast and semi-technical descent with plenty of optional man-made features. The trail itself is totally worth it, but if you’re feeling confident it can be fun to push your limits on some of the stunts. Follow the Diamond T loop back to Station Flats.
Jumpingpound Ridge/Cox Hill: advanced route
Park your vehicle up Powderface Trail just pass Canyon Creek. From there, you’ll begin the 5.4km climb up the South Trail of Jumpingpound Ridge. In this route, I’ve added in the short detour up to Jumpingpound Summit…because if you’re gonna go up there, you might as well hit the peak! Enjoy a beautiful ride along Jumpingpound Ridge, and stay right at the intersection to meet up with Cox Hill. Once you’re on Cox Hill Trail, you’ll be treated with another 8.8km of perfect singletrack. Loop back on Powderface Trail all the way to your vehicle… or if you’re really looking for a big ride, climb up Jumping Pound Mountain Trail and then descend the South Trail back to your car.
If you’re looking for more routes nearby, check out mountain bike guidebooks and maps. Ride safe, have fun.