Distance: 7.7 km
Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hrs
Elevation Gain: 275 m
Elevation Loss: 171 m
Technical Rating: Advanced
Physical Rating: Moderate
Season: June – October
Permit Required: No
The Montane Traverse is a classic Canmore x-country ride that takes you from the Cougar Creek parking lot high above the Silver Tip Golf Course and over to Harvie Heights. Physically, this is a demanding ride, as there is a lot of up. However, you are rewarded with sweet technical descents and amazing views of the Rundle Mountain Range. There are several creek bed crossings along the Montane that may require you to get off the bike, as they have worsened due to the June 2013 floods. All are still passable and typically run dry, but require a little extra effort to cross.
The Montane Traverse ends near the Harvie Heights subdivision, with only one rideable trail connector found along its route – the Meander Trail. Prior to the June 2013 floods, Johny’s, the first turnoff found halfway down Montane, provided for a quick and fun exit. However, Johny’s was completely wiped out, making the trail virtually unrideable. For a shorter loop when riding the Montane, consider turning on to the Meander Trail which descends down to the valley and paved pathway below; it can be found shortly after Johny’s turnoff. The final leg of Montane connects to Tibits Quarry Trail and takes you across the Ridge Traverse over to the Meander Trail, finishing at the Palliser Pathway.
TRAILHEAD | N51 05.404 W115 19.374
Park at the Cougar Creek parking lot, rebuilt since the June 2013 floods, and head up the gravel path along the west side of the creek. The trailhead is marked and is located about 400 metres up from the parking lot. The trail is not easy to spot at first glance, but as it’s the only trail entering the forest to your left, you shouldn’t have to look for long before you find your way. A trailhead sign has been erected 5 metres in from the entrance to confirm you are on the right track. The route begins by climbing a steep side hill singletrack, confirming once more you’re on your way to ride the Montane.
N51 05.182 W115 19.628 (Cougar Parking)
N51 05.404 W115 19.374 (Trailhead)
bikepirate rating: 4 Skulls
Johny’s Trail (CLOSED): Johny’s was completely wiped out by the June 2013 floods. There is no word on when or if this trail will be rebuilt. For now, avoid this trail altogether unless you are interested in taking your bike for a walk.
Meander Trail (2.8 km): This fun singletrack trail descends back down to the road. It’s a great option if you want to mix it up. The trail is super buff, making it a fast ride down.
Tibits Quarry Trail (930 m): This super fun and fast descent connects you to the Ridge Traverse, which takes you over to Meander Trail and out to the car park located on Harvie Heights Road.
Ridge Traverse Trail (1.4 km): This great little connecting trail puts you on the last bit of Meander Trail, which will take you back down to the Harvie Heights Road and Palliser Pathway.