Golden features superb road touring opportunities in a gorgeous mountain setting. The Golden Triangle is probably one of the most glorious and strenuous cycle circuits in Canada. This route follows the Rocky Mountain Trench between Golden and Radium Hot Springs, and crosses the Rockies and the Continental Divide.
The 105-km stretch between Golden and Radium Hot Springs follows Hwy 95 and the Columbia River along the valley floor, and is the easiest section. From Radium, follow Hwy 93 past Radium Hot Springs, through Sinclair Canyon and up into Kootenay National Park. This scenic leg is another 104 km, along valley floors and the Kootenay River, up the Continental Divide and then down again into Banff National Park, intersecting Trans-Canada Hwy 1 between Banff and Lake Louise.
Continue north on Hwy 1 to Lake Louise where the highway veers west, up over the Continental Divide again and back into British Columbia and Yoho National Park. A possible side trip north of Lake Louise up the Icefields Parkway is a must. Continue through Yoho National Park through Kicking Horse Pass and return to Golden (99 km from Castle Junction on Hwy 1).
There are some very long hills in this circuit, though most of the highways are well graded with few steep sections, and have good shoulders. The three national parks – Kootenay, Banff and Yoho are by definition big, and you’ll find much to do in each.
There is no finer scenery anywhere, wildlife is much in evidence, and be prepared for sore necks from constantly gazing up at mountains, sheer rock walls, elegantly shaped hoodoos, waterfalls and hanging glaciers on the limestone flanks of peaks. ‘Awe and wonder,’ expresses the exhilaration that most visitors will experience during a visit to the parks. Enjoy!
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For an easy, scenic ride, West Side Road is perfect. It’s more than 16 miles (26 km) of paved road running along the west side of Windermere Lake. The road starts just north of Columbia Lake on Hwy 93/95, south of Fairmont Hot Springs, and heads north to Invermere.
The classic Invermere road ride is the loop of Lake Windermere on Westside Road. Rolling hills through ranch country and views of Lake Windermere and the Rocky Mountains are spectacular. Be warned, Westside Road is old and short stretches of its surface are made of loose gravel. At the end of Westside Road you’ll come to the hoodoos at Fairmont. Another road option is a highway there-and-back ride through Sinclair Canyon and over Sinclair Pass. This ride can be as long as you care to make it – Banff is 130 km/81mi away.
From Invermere, take Toby Creek Road west to explore the trails at the Panorama Resort. Because of its remote location in the Purcell Mountains, Panorama is more of a mountain retreat.
The Kimberley and Cranbrook area is blessed with numerous highways and quiet rural and backcountry roads and is well suited for the recreational road rider. The scenery is pastoral and spectacular, with many mountain peaks dotting the landscape. There are two short Rails to Trails stretches in the East Kootenay, both offering scenic rides through the rolling plains and forest of the Rocky Mountain Divide.
The Fernie to Elkford ride is a fantastic road tour through rustic, scenic Rocky Mountain country. While there isn’t an extensive highway network in the Fernie and Elk Valley area there are a handful of excellent road and backcountry rides for the long-distance cyclist. There are also several excellent loops for the backcountry enthusiast.