Distance: 20.2 km
Time: 2 – 4 hrs
Elevation Gain: 604 m
Elevation Loss: 604 m
Technical Rating: Advanced
Physical Rating: Hard
Season: June – October
Permit Required: No
The Baldy Pass loop combines graded old roads with a bit of singletrack that climbs up into the basin back of Baldy Mountain. The climb is gentle for the first 6 km, after which point it gets narrow and steep as you approach the final few switchbacks. The views from the basin are amazing on a clear day and give you a chance to catch your breath while you take them in and prepare for the descent.
The steep, technical, and loose singletrack descent down to the valley below is super fun. Expect off-camber tight singletrack with lots of roots and rocks. If you’re not up for the ride down, which starts off with 300 metres of loose scree, then consider turning around and heading back the way you came. Wet weather makes the ride down that much harder and definitely ups the technical rating.
The fun, fast, and super technical descent eventually spits you out on Highway 40 at the valley bottom. A short 5.6 km ride on the road will take you back to the parking lot and trailhead.
TRAILHEAD | N51 01.760 W115 01.852
Parking is located at the Colonel’s Cabin parking lot at the University of Calgary Field Station on Hwy. 40, 9 km south of Hwy 1. From there follow the gravel road to your left (northwest); you’ll pass a number of cabins as you head to the start of Baldy Pass, about 300 metres from the parking lot. There will be a closed gate with a Trans Canada Trail sign indicating the start of Baldy.
N51 01.700 W115 02.023 (parking)
N51 01.760 W115 01.852 (trailhead)
bikepirate rating: 5 Skulls
Once you find the gate with the Trans Canada Sign as shown in the photo above, continue past this gate till you hit the first fork in the road. Bear right to continue up Baldy Pass. Going straight takes you up to Lusk Pass Trail.
Near the end of the decent the trail splits, keep right for a short .7 km ride out to Highway 40. A map at the split will indicate which way to go.