The Great Trail: Alberta edition
The best Alberta trailheads on Canada's Great Trail
Canada’s Great Trail is the longest recreational trail system in the world, expanding from coast to coast over 24,000 kilometres. Kilometre zero east begins in St. John’s, Nfld. and extends to kilometre zero west in Victoria, B.C. Kilometre zero north begins in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., and extends to kilometre zero south in Windsor, Ont. The Great Trail is comprised of variable terrain and inclusive for multi-uses. Considering The Great Trail passes through the Canadian Rockies for over 1,100 kilometres, we’re highlighting some of Alberta’s best access points to experience the trail:
RELATED: Trail running routes on the fly
Over 180K of The Great Trail lies in Kananaskis Country (“K Country”). You can enter The Great Trail from Range Road 54 west of Bragg Creek. From there, the trail travels across foothills toward Banff, Alta. The Great Trail takes a detour from K Country via The Legacy Trail (see below). Then, it returns through K Country at Whitemans Gap via the Spray River and Goat Creek.
Banff Legacy Trail
The Banff Legacy Trail is a 20.3K section of The Great Trail traveling point to point from Municipal District of Bighorn No. 8 in Banff, Alta. to Canmore, Alta. Like most of The Great Trail, it is multi-use, and dogs are allowed while on leash. It’s mainly smooth pavement/gravel from April to November with a total elevation gain of 455 metres.
RELATED: This is not a trail running race
Cypress Hills is an interprovincial park connecting Alberta and Saskatchewan. It’s the highest point in Canada between the Rocky Mountains and Labrador, Nfld. The Alberta section of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park begins in Elkwater (off of highway 41), which connects to The Great Trail. From there, The Great Canadian Trail travels across Hidden Valley Alpine Resort and eventually crosses the border into Saskatchewan. Elkwater, Alta. has over 30K of trails, showcasing wildlife and stunning views.