For my route across the Canadian Prairies to Winnipeg, I'm avoiding the direct, but heavily trafficked, Trans-Canada Highway (Route #1) for obvious reasons. I've decided to track eastwards between the Trans-Canada and the Yellowhead (Route #16), on a near parallel less travelled route that roughly bi-sects these two major roads.
After a short stretch on the #1 from Banff to Canmore, I'll take the Bow Valley Trail (#1A) to Cochrane and then skirt just north of the city of Calgary, before arriving at Drumheller. Drumheller is the self-proclaimed "Dinosaur Capital of the World" (!) in the heart of the Canadian Badlands. Just before Drumheller I'll pass the dramatic geological feature of Horseshoe Canyon. After that excitement, my route continues across the prairies for 1,300 km and doesn't visit a major town or city until Winnipeg!
On this leg of my journey, I'll cross two further province borders (Saskatchewan and Manitoba), travel along plenty of horizon spearing straight roads (the #15 to Nokomis appears straight for over 100km!) and probably experience some ridiculous headwinds (and maybe the occasional tailwind if I'm lucky). I'll also see quite a lot of evidence of farming.
Incidently, my route across the prairies is based on the route suggested in a book I have owned for many years - Cycling Canada: Bicycle Touring in Canada (ISBN 0933201702) by John M. Smith. Although this book was published in the mid-90's (and may be somewhat out of date), I'm using the author's broad suggestions for routing away from certain parts of the Trans-Canada Highway both on this leg across the prairies and the next leg, when I'm planning to go south of Lake Superior and spend a few days across the border in the United States.
|Placename or POI||Dir.||Road||Highway Name||Next POI||Total Km|
|Banff||SE||#1||Trans Canada Hwy||23||1,418|
|Canmore||SE||#1A||Bow Valley Trail||73||1,441|
|E||#567||Big Hill Springs Rd||21||1,523|
|N||#772||Symons Valley Rd||3||1,544|
|Alberta Highway #9|
|Alberta / Saskatchewan Province Border|
|Saskatchewan Highway #15|
|Saskatchewan / Manitoba Province Border|
|Portage la Prairie||NE||#26||68||2,807|
|St François Xavier||E||#1||Trans Canada Hwy||27||2,875|