Flat trail tracks Goat Creek between Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle to Banff Springs Hotel.
This trip is a mountain bike ride over fairly flat, good quality trail, on the south side of Mount Rundle, from the Goat Creek parking area on the Smith-Dorrien trail above Canmore, Alberta to the Banff Springs Hotel beneath the south face of Mount Rundle.
Along the way there is time to do a short hike at Quarry Lake in Canmore to enjoy morning sun-lit mountains reflecting in still water. Also, this minor diversion will delay the start of the bicycle ride and allow the warmth of the rising sun to make the valley more comfortable.
An early start on a cool, brisk morning under clear sky begins from the Goat Creek parking area into a secluded and deep valley where the sunrise is not spectacular but there is good light on the mountains.
The bicycle route is 19.2 KM (12 miles) one way so, with a cruise into the Town of Banff and the return to Canmore, total cycling distance for the day will be about 45 KM (28⅛ miles).
At Canmore the drive south on the Smith-Dorrien Trail requires weaving around and through mountain sheep past the Canmore Nordic Centre and Grassi Lakes south to arrive at the Goat Creek trail-head between The Goat and the east end of Mount Rundle, across the road from Ha Ling Peak.
The morning bicycle ride, with The Goat and Sulphur Mountain on the left and Mount Rundle on the right begins in chilly conditions. Occasional stops in the sun are required to warm up. The quality of the old road is good with few obstacles and only the occasional rough stretch. Down a sharply curving hill from the Goat Creek parking end there is a bridge across Goat Creek with a beautiful little waterfall nearby.
About 12 KM into the ride, the Goat Creek trail intersects with the Spray River trail into the Town of Banff at an open, grassy area with a picnic table surrounded by spectacular views.
Elevation differentials are small and this pleasant, casual ride takes less than two hours. Along the way there are excellent views of the north side of Mount Rundle for the entire length of the ride.
The perspective of the Mount Rundle Central Gully is interesting from the river vantage point directly below. The severe inclination of the Gully is clearly evident. It is surprising to suddenly pop out of the forest into the Banff Springs Hotel parking lot.
Photos are taken at the Banff Springs Hotel before cycling into town. Snow is virtually gone near the summit of Cascade Mountain at the end of Banff Avenue. There are plans in place to climb to the summit of this 2,998 m (9,836 ft) mountain with my son in the first week of August.
The day turns very hot for the return trip, and humidity is above average, so it becomes necessary to stop periodically and paddle around in the river. Lunch is enjoyed near the waterfall at the Goat Creek bridge in this peaceful place with beautiful flowers, a pristine mountain creek, and lush, evergreen forest surrounded by towering mountains.