THINGS TO DO:
I ease my touring bike into a turn that opens onto the Canadian Badlands in east-central Alberta. Pinnacles of rock called hoodoos rise tall against multihued sandstone hills. A few friends ride behind me. There are motorcycle trips throughout Alberta, but into the land where dinosaurs roamed is one of my favourites.
Wearing soaked gelatin beads to keep my neck cool – it gets pretty hot here in the summertime – I dip into the valley that cradles the town of Drumheller, famous for The World’s Largest Dinosaur.
Enjoy the Ghost Town Ride
Heading east on The Hoodoo Trail (Hwy 10) and turning west at Rosedale, we take Hwy 10X toward Wayne. We’re going to the Last Chance Saloon in the Rosedeer Hotel in Wayne, on a trip called the Ghost Town Ride.
Motorcycles are lined up outside the hotel, where a boar’s head sporting a red and white toque presides over the main entrance. The best bet for road hunger is to grab a steak for barbequing in the back.
At Wayne, motorcycle culture intersects history. The hotel was named the Bucket of Blood in the 1920s because of the fights local miners would get into. The coal mines in this region have all closed now, though you can tour one nearby at the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site. And if you’re looking for real dinosaurs, the Royal Tyrrell Museum is close, as well.
More Alberta Motorcycle Trips
- The Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93) connecting Banff and Jasper national parks is known as one of the world’s most scenic routes.
Tip: The mountain weather is changeable and you’re at high elevations so pack accordingly.
- The trip from Saskatchewan River Crossing through Nordegg, Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer along the David Thompson Highway (Hwy 11) provides stunning vistas such as Abraham Lake and some wide open riding.
Tip: Hwy 93 intersects Hwy 11 at Saskatchewan River Crossing, so you can take two or three days and combine this with the Icefields Parkway trip.
- The Hwy 43 loop in northern Alberta’s Peace River region is a full day ride with bridges, towns, valleys and views.
Tip: From Edmonton, start out on the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16) and head west until it intersects Hwy 43, which runs all the way to the BC border.
- The Cowboy Trail through west central and southern Alberta offers rolling foothills and sweeping corners. Be sure to congregate at the Black Diamond Hotel where bikers and locals meet for jam sessions and conversation.
Tip: It can get very windy on the southern portions and gusts can come with no warning.
Inns and Campgrounds
You can find motorcycle rider friendly accommodation throughout Alberta, including Howlin’ Coyote Motorcycle Campground near the village of Vilna and Mount Robson Inn, Jasper National Park.