Distance: 14 km
Time: 2+ hours
Elevation Gain: N/A
Elevation Loss: N/A
Technical Rating: Beginner – Advanced
Physical Rating: Moderate
Season: June – October
Permit Required: No
UROC: click here
Pass Powderkeg was the site of the 2009 South Alberta Summer Games cross-country and Alberta Cup downhill mountain biking events. The original trail is still in use; however, 12 km of new singletrack have been added since 2010 and includes the newly built (2014) Berma-Grin flow trail. At the trailhead you will find a skills park which provides hours of fun for the whole family and is a great area to warm up.
Pass Powderkeg boasts a very nice mix of high-quality, x-country trails that will take you to the top of the hill with viewpoints of Turtle Mountain and of the peaks on the Divide. There are a number of trail options available around mid-hill providing you a chance to mix it up. Many of the mid-hill trails include rock/ladder features to add to the challenge; all have optional bypasses. Chainsaw Massacre has a few sections on the lower half where the combination of narrow trail and steep sidehill requires more advanced skills to clean, but it is definitely worth riding so that you can catch the upper half with its glorious rolling trail and nicely bermed corners. The last 0.3 km takes you along the summit ridge with great views to the West.
The area offers super buff singletrack that varies between intermediate to advance in technical ability and a number of optional technical lines over large rocks; some with wooden ladders/ramps to help the rider roll over. Please note Berma-Grin, Alberta Cup DH and Roots O’Hazard are downhill only; all other trail can be ridden in either direction.
TRAILHEAD | N49 36.317 W114 26.625
Vehicle parking is available by the Skills Park/Albert Stella Arena located at the bottom of the Pass Powderkeg ski hill. Enter Blairmore off Highway 3 at the Centre Access on 129 St. and proceed south across the tracks to 17 Ave. Turn west (right) on 17 Ave and drive towards the Skills Park located at the end of the road; near the ball fields west of Albert Stella Arena. The trailhead is located at the east end of the Skills Park and runs east (left), parallel to the Arena and crosses the unpaved Ski Hill road where you’ll find the official trailhead and map of area trails.
Caution: the ski hill road is gated but is usually open until around 3 pm on weekdays during the summer. Do not park above the gates if you expect to return after 3 pm.
bikepirate rating: 4 Skulls
Starting at the Skills Park, take Little Shred Ridinghood and Double Dirt-Spresso to Chainsaw Massacre and the top of the hill. Retrace your route until you pick up Jiffy-Pop, rejoin Double Dirt-Spresso for a 0.2 km then take Knotty Flow for a short ride back up hill before descending Double Dirt-Spresso and Little Shred Ridinghood back to the trailhead. Or for something completely different, after returning down Chainsaw Massacre, slide across hill via ASG to the top of Berma-Grin!