Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park
The idea didn’t make a lot of sense to young Nicholas. “It’s winter,” he said. “You can’t go biking in winter, dad!” I told him that in this day and age, when people can send robots to Mars and cross oceans in rowboats, we can totally go biking in winter. Especially in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park on a pristine December day when the warm Chinook winds are blowing. He bought it.
Fittingly, the gorgeous bow Trail – a ribbon of pavement that meanders along the Bow River in between Cochrane and Calgary – is part of the The Great Trail network, which crosses the country from coast to coast. And, although there are countless kilometers of beautiful pathways that are part of this “great” network, not many can match the idyllic charm of the Bowbend Trail.
Year round adventure
Popular with hikers and bikers alike, the 4.6 km Bowbend Trail slices through the heart of Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. It winds along arid coulees, through aspen glades, beside historic ranching ruins, and makes for an awesome little adventure for the entire family.
And, when the weather warms and the ice melts, it can be an ideal place to take a quick spin on your road or mountain bike. (Fat biking, even on the coldest winter days when snow and ice are par for the course, is also popular. Conditions can vary so check before you go! If there is snow and ice, studded tires can be essential.)
Part of the Great Trail
Even though a relatively warm wind was whipping out of the west, we bundled up and dressed in plenty of layers. Nicholas, 12, who was a little hesitant at first, pedaled along with plenty of passion, the hills barely slowing him down. His mom, Dawn, worked up a sweat to keep up. But we stopped often, viewed the ruins, stopped at the overlooks, and thoroughly enjoyed our winter biking adventure. And, at the end of it all, Nicholas was a firm believer that biking, even in December, was a cool thing thing to do. Especially along The Great Trail at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park.
Andrew Penner – Guest journalist and photographer