Distance: 21 km
Time: 2 – 4 hrs
Elevation Gain: 714 m
Elevation Loss: 713 m
Technical Rating: Intermediate
Physical Rating: Moderate
Season: June – October
Permit Required: No
The following loop is an awesome ride located in the Elbow Valley. It combines the popular Powderface Creek Trail with Prairie Creek Trail to form a challenging mountain bike loop. Fantastic views at Powderface Pass and a few fast and technical singletrack descents following a number of switchbacks will greet the rider along this route.
The loop begins up Powderface Creek Trail and doesn’t give the rider much time to warm up. A steep doubletrack climb right out of the parking lot will set the tone for the first part of this ride. After about 500 meters the steep climb eases off and the rider is treated to some rolling terrain along the creek bed. At kilometer 3 (junction) keep left unless you want to opt out for a shorter loop – referred to as the Powderface Creek to Prairie Link Loop. A long sustained climb will take you up to Powderface Pass from the 3 km mark. From there, it’s smooth sailing down a technical singletrack to Powderface Trail (gravel road).Take a right onto the gravel road and ride for 2.7 km to reach the final installment of this awesome ride – Prairie Creek trailhead. Turn right onto Prairie Creek and follow this flowy singletrack through tight trees, open meadows, and along a short ridge all the way back to the carpark.
June 17, 2015 update: Currently the trail is closed as crews work to repair the loop. You may still ride the shorter loop, Prairie Creek to Prairie Link while construction on the larger loop continues this summer to repair it after the June 2013 flood damage.
TRAILHEAD | N50 51.908 W114 47.551
Take Hwy 66 to Elbow Falls. Park at the Powderface carpark off of Hwy 66 west of Elbow Falls. The trailhead is located at the end of the parking lot.
N50 51.910 W114 47.528 (Parking)
N50 51.908 W114 47.551 (Trailhead)
bikepirate rating: 4 Skulls
If you prefer, you can make the Powderface Creek to Prairie Creek Trail Loop shorter by heading right at the 3 km Prairie Link junction. Taking Prairie Link Trail will avoid the long steep climb to Powderface Pass and will cut your ride time and distance in half.