Distance: 19 km (one way)
Time: 1 – 3 hrs
Elevation Gain: 176 m
Elevation Loss: 435 m
Technical Rating: Beginner – Int.
Physical Rating: Easy – Moderate
Season: June – October
Permit Required: Yes (Park Pass)
Goat Creek is a wide fire road or doubletrack trail consisting of dirt and rock that hugs the Rundle Mountain range and follows Goat Creek. It may be ridden one way, as an out-and-back, or as a loop when combined with either the Rundle Riverside trail or the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail. It makes for a perfect family outing provided that a car shuttle can be arranged and that you ride the trail from Canmore to Banff. Riding it in reverse, from Banff to Canmore, is substantially more demanding as the route mainly ascends when ridden in this direction. As an alternative option, consider jumping aboard the Bike ‘n Hike shuttle for a convenient and inexpensive shuttle ride to and from the trail. Or, consider the Roam bus between Banff and Canmore, allowing you to ride the trail one way.
Goat Creek offers up some incredible views of the surrounding mountains along a picturesque route. There are a number of low angle, sustained descents along this trail with several wide bridge crossings. Goat Creek hugs the Rundle Mountain Range and cuts through the majestic pine and spruce forest all the way to Spray Lakes Loop, from where it continues onwards to Banff. During the June 2013 floods a number of the bridge crossings along this route were damaged or destroyed. Since then, all structures have been repaired or replaced, keeping this classic trail open for all to enjoy.
Trail Update (September 22, 2014): Construction of the new Spray River Bridge on the Goat Creek Trail (12 km from Spray West Trailhead in Banff) is now complete and the bridge is open.
If you’re looking to hitch a ride back to Banff or Canmore, after completing your one-way journey along the Goat Creek Trail, consider using the local Hike n’ Bike Shuttle. For a nominal fee they will transport you and your bike back to either town. Or as another alternative, there is always the Roam Bus connecting Banff to Canmore.
TRAILHEAD | N51 03.711 W115 25.119 (CANMORE)
From Canmore drive or ride south (up the mountain) on Spray Lakes Road – note that Spray Lakes Road turns into the Smith Dorrien Road – for about 9 kilometres. Drive past Whiteman’s Pond and park at the car park located on your right-hand side (west); a map board is located in the car park. The trailhead is well marked.
bikepirate rating: 2 Skulls
1) Make the return trip to Canmore by combining Goat Creek with Rundle Riverside and the 742 which takes you back-up to the Whiteman’s Gap carpark . Total distance for this option is 48 km.
2) Make the return trip to Canmore by combining Goat Creek with the Banff Legacy Trail and the 742 which takes you back-up to the Whiteman’s Gap carpark. Total distance for this option is 58 km.
3) Park one car in Banff (retrieval) and drive to Whiteman’s Gap. From there mountain bike to Banff, using your second vehicle parked in Banff to retrieve your first parked at Whiteman’s Gap.