Just had an opportunity to go bikepack the latest miles added to the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route thanks to my Wonderful Staff taking over the Whitefish Bike Retreat for the week!!
I am sure they missed me :)))
Jasper to Banff - 365 miles.
Here is my intel if you are considering riding this section.
The word is GO PREPARED!
Be prepared to ride endless steep ups and downs - no joke - they do not stop.
Be prepared to ride some singletrack.
Be prepared to carry food for long miles with no resupply.
Be prepared for anything Mother Nature can throw at you.
Be prepared for wildlife encounters.
Be prepared to repair your bike remotely.
Be prepared for encountering logging trucks frequently on certain sections. - DUST!
BE PREPARED TO EXPERIENCE SOME STUNNING REMOTE WILDERNESS!!!!!!!!
I rode this section in early August solo - took a week - rode a rigid hardtail 29er with a combination of Ortlieb and Oveja Negra Bikepacking bags so I could have the capacity to carry 4+ days of food. With this set up, I really was able to enjoy the single track out of Jasper - I would NOT recommend the single track for riders with trailers or heavy panniers setups. At times, the single track was narrow and steep and a bit technical. But overall, I DO recommend riding it if you can - even if just a day ride before you start your journey!
The logging activity on the Forestry Trunk Road changes due to where the active logging is taking place - for me it was heavy from Hinton to Robb and then all the way into Nordegg. The logging trucks/oil & gas tankers disappeared south of Nordegg for my ride but the weekend traffic of campers and horse trailers did increase from Nordegg to Banff. If I rode it again, I would try to avoid this weekend traffic as it was heavier than the logging activity at times. The dust is a definite concern so go prepared.
Hinton had great resupply opportunities and the friendliest Bike Shop - Vicious Cycles - this will be your last time for bike supplies until Banff. Nordegg (1.4 miles off route) has a few small cafes (PIE) and a gas station for good resupply - make sure you load up for the miles ahead as the miles do not get easier - there is nothing solid for resupply until Ghost. Ghost does have a small gas station right on route with a small resupply opportunity. There is one remote Cafe you will encounter between Nordegg and Ghost - it is off route and hours may vary so hard to count on. Water is plentiful and most of the established campgrounds have a water well.
As for the weather, even in early August it was quite chilly and rain and even snow. There were a few hot dry days so again just go prepared for anything and everything possible. Need a shuttle? WBR offers custom shuttles to Jasper and Banff as well as scheduled Banff Shuttles during June, July and August - check our shuttle schedules or call to schedule a custom shuttle for your group.
Jasper To Banff Photos