Credit: Canusa Cycle Tours
As its name suggests, the Foothills Mountain Explorer trip takes road bikers through that classically Albertan landscape between the prairie and the peaks of the Rockies. The five-day ride begins at the mountain-rimmed Waterton Lakes National Park, and then heads out on backroads across the rolling grassland to the town of Pincher Creek. The next day follows the Cowboy Trail, a scenic route through the foothills and ranch country, to Chain Lakes Provincial Park’s lakeside campground. From here, the route re-enters the mountains in southern Kananaskis Country, where riders are faced with what is both the trip’s highlight and crux—a sustained climb to Highwood Pass, the highest paved road in Canada at 7,239 feet. Then it’s all downhill (well almost) to Banff. During the tour, guides take care of everything except the 400 kilometres of pedalling. A support van hauls the luggage—and will also carry anyone who needs a break.