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Poco183

Michigan to Banff, AB Canada

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Poco183

This summer I'm planning a trip from SE Michigan through the Upper Peninsula to Banff. I've never ridden the Trans Canada Highway, and I was wondering if it is worth it or is it just like pounding out the miles on an Interstate in the US?. Any route suggestions?

 

After visiting Banff and Jasper, I don't have any solid plans.  I'd like to head south Kalispell, MT,  then Beartooth Pass and the Badlands. If I head through Sturgis, SD, it will be after the Rally. 

 

Any suggestions on areas to head to or avoid would be greatly appreciated. 

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TEWKS

Going to the Sun road in Glacier is spectacular.

 

Pat

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hmfriedman

It's been many (many) years since I made that trip. I remember a LOT of empty miles on the Trans Canada Hwy between Thunder Bay and Calgary. However, you'll be rewarded by the Canadian Rockies thereafter.

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Danny caddyshack Noonan

You might consider coming back across the border at Roosville US93, bend a right and take 37 down the side of Lake Koocanusa.  It is a sweeper delight ride along the lake.  

Later, get back on 93 around Missoula and take it down the Bitterroot Valley (my retirement destination).  Making a left turn at the top of the pass at the Idaho border, then lunch in Wisdom, will get you turned back toward the Yellowstone area via a couple of options.

If you get caught in an Alberta T-storm, no big deal.  It'll get rid of the near solid layer of bugs on the front of your bike.

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MikeRC
On ‎1‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 4:13 PM, Poco183 said:

This summer I'm planning a trip from SE Michigan through the Upper Peninsula to Banff. I've never ridden the Trans Canada Highway, and I was wondering if it is worth it or is it just like pounding out the miles on an Interstate in the US?. Any route suggestions?

 

After visiting Banff and Jasper, I don't have any solid plans.  I'd like to head south Kalispell, MT,  then Beartooth Pass and the Badlands. If I head through Sturgis, SD, it will be after the Rally. 

 

Any suggestions on areas to head to or avoid would be greatly appreciated. 

 

I'm assuming you have already done the north shore of Lake Superior?  If not, I would pick that over the Upper Peninsula (unless you are specifically going to try to include Pictured Rocks or some historic sites).   

 

Highway 1 (the Trans Canada) isn't really too much different from US 2 - lots of grain fields, a few valleys.  You can make some very interesting side trips on either one.  The Qu'Appelle Valley, Cypress Hills and Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan being examples.  But that includes quite a bit of unpaved road in the parks.  The stretch close to the US/Canada border is mostly Dark Sky and if you stay in a provincial park you may get quite the view of the Milky Way (allowing for the sunrise/sunset time and phase of the moon).   On the US side you can visit large colonies of nesting pelicans and herons at Devils Lake in North Dakota or a number of other National Wildlife Refuges in North Dakota & Montana.  Or you could follow the MIssouri River and catch quite a few National Monuments and National Historic Sites.  Lewis & Clark Trail?

 

All the earlier suggestions are good for after you leave Banff/Jasper.  Could give specific suggestions if I know the time frame (hours vs days vs weeks).   BTW reservations are almost compulsory in the corridor from Canmore/Banff to Jasper and back. 

 

Might look over this thread for a couple of hints. 

 

Mike Cassidy

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Poco183
On 1/29/2019 at 11:28 PM, MikeRC said:

 

I'm assuming you have already done the north shore of Lake Superior?  If not, I would pick that over the Upper Peninsula (unless you are specifically going to try to include Pictured Rocks or some historic sites).   

 

Highway 1 (the Trans Canada) isn't really too much different from US 2 - lots of grain fields, a few valleys.  You can make some very interesting side trips on either one.  The Qu'Appelle Valley, Cypress Hills and Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan being examples.  But that includes quite a bit of unpaved road in the parks.  The stretch close to the US/Canada border is mostly Dark Sky and if you stay in a provincial park you may get quite the view of the Milky Way (allowing for the sunrise/sunset time and phase of the moon).   On the US side you can visit large colonies of nesting pelicans and herons at Devils Lake in North Dakota or a number of other National Wildlife Refuges in North Dakota & Montana.  Or you could follow the MIssouri River and catch quite a few National Monuments and National Historic Sites.  Lewis & Clark Trail?

 

All the earlier suggestions are good for after you leave Banff/Jasper.  Could give specific suggestions if I know the time frame (hours vs days vs weeks).   BTW reservations are almost compulsory in the corridor from Canmore/Banff to Jasper and back. 

 

Might look over this thread for a couple of hints. 

 

Mike Cassidy

Mike,

 

I'll have 3 days in the Banff area before I head south toward Idaho and Kalispell. Any suggestions would be appreciated. On the route home, I plan on hitting Glacier National Park and part of Yellowstone before heading to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. 

 

Best,

 

Victor

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MikeRC
On ‎2‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 6:17 PM, Poco183 said:

Mike,

 

I'll have 3 days in the Banff area before I head south toward Idaho and Kalispell. Any suggestions would be appreciated. On the route home, I plan on hitting Glacier National Park and part of Yellowstone before heading to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. 

 

Best,

 

Victor

 

Three days in the Canmore-Banff-Lake Louise corridor is enough to do everything important (on a motorcycle).  Looks like you are planning on going in late July or early August (since you would be going through Sturgis after the rally).  Try to avoid the August 3-5th weekend since it is a long weekend in Canada and traffic is very heavy.   Canmore is a bit less expensive to stay than Banff, Lake Louise is more expensive again.   

 

One morning leave early for Lake Louise.  Get there early, the main parking lot is full by 0800-0830 and the secondary parking lot (with bus transfer to the Lake) is a PITA and even it is full by 10am.  Take a quick ride into the Moraine Lake Valley (the turnoff is about 1 km from Lake Louise).  Be really careful on the Moraine Lake Rd, tourists in rental SUVs cut the corners and run off frequently.  

 

MtTemple1.jpg

 

 Valley_of_Ten_Peaks1.jpg

 

After Moraine Lake head to Field, BC for a spectacular view of Mt Stephen.  Could then go to Takakkaw Falls, but there is one switchback on that road I have had to yield to a tour bus on that was super awkward.  Then on to Emerald Lake. 

 

Emerald_Lake1.jpg

 

Truffle Pigs Bistro in Field or Emerald Lake Lodge are great places to eat lunch.  Or you could just grab a snack at Laggan's Bakery on your way out of Lake Louise.  Now head west to Golden, turn south on BC 95 to Radium (good coffee places or ice cream if you need to warm up or cool off in Golden and Radium).  Now northeast on BC 93 through Kootenay Ntnl Prk to Eisenhower Junction and back to Banff.  

 

Spend one day riding to Jasper & back on the Icefields Parkway (4 hrs each way).  The days are long (sunrise 0530, sunset 2100hrs) and I always advise sticking close to the speed limit to minimize critter encounters (about 50 mph).   Use the 4 lane divided Hwy 1 to get to the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93) turnoff at Lake Louise.  

 

The I would spend one day using the Bow Valley Parkway to Lake Louise & back and poking around Banff.  

 

BTW - on your way to or from Banff try to include Hwy 540/40 from Longview over Highwood Pass.  

 

Mike Cassidy

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Poco183
16 hours ago, MikeRC said:

 

 

Thanks for the great advise. I'm really looking forward to the trip.

 

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Kirkus

In Western SD you'll want to do Iron Mountain Road, Needles Highway and Custer State Park in addition to the Badlands.  Wall Drug in Wall, SD.  

In Custer, SD eat at the Buglin' Bull, nice bison burgers.

Last summer we went to Glacier NP and then down to Yellowstone, then Devil's Tower, Iron Mt. Road and Needles Highway, then home. 

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Poco183

Thanks for the advise, Kirkus. I'm add the stops to my list.  What is the traffic, around Iron Mt. Road and Needles Highway, going to be like during the second week of August? I'm guessing horrible.

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Kirkus

Poco ... The first two weeks of August in western SD will suck with traffic, mostly the Harley crowd since the Sturgis Rally runs from 8/2-8/11. 

The two times I've been in the area have been a week or two after the rally. 

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Poco183

Fortunately, I won't even be in the area until the 14th or 15th. Hopefully, all of the HD riders will be partied out by the time I arrive. 

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MikeRC

Unfortunately the traffic is pretty heavy and it's hard to get accommodation from a week before to a week after Sturgis Bike Week (so July 26 to Aug 18 this year).  Even when we were there for the UnRally last year they had started to set up temporary traffic lights at intersections 3 weeks before Bike Week.  Iron Mt Rd and Needles Hwy will be parade routes by 9:30 in the morning, but some less popular roads like Playhouse Rd, Vanocker Canyon, S Canyon, Nemo Rd & Norris Peak Rd won't be as bad.   Black Hills area motorcycle maps

 

Having said all that, if you haven't been there before ..... there is nothing like:

  • Riding in the Black Hills
  • Taking a tour of Jewel Cave
  • Seeing Devil's Tower, the Little Bighorn Battlefield, the Crazyhorse Memorial and Mt Rushmore in person
  • Eating buffalo in Custer, SD
  • Riding through Badlands National Park

Mike Cassidy

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Twisties

After the Beartooth, consider 14A through the Bighorns.  

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dba

Going To The Sun Road, May 26, 2019.  I plan on going through there also about the second week in June.  We'll see.  

 

IMG_8713.JPG?folder=INBOX

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MikeRC
47 minutes ago, dba said:

Going To The Sun Road, May 26, 2019.  I plan on going through there also about the second week in June.  We'll see.

 

Given our winter & spring the chances are slim to none.  From the Glacier Park website Going-to-the-Sun Plowing Update: 

 

"The earliest date the upper portion of the Going-to-the-Sun will open to vehicle traffic is June 22. The opening date could be later, depending on weather and plowing conditions encountered by park plowing crews." 

 

The earliest I have seen is Memorial Day, the latest July 4th.  

 

Mike Cassidy

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mickeym3

Going to the Sun road and the Icefields Parkway need to be started as early as possible, traffic can take the fun out of it otherwise.  Can’t stress this enough...

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Poco183

Thank you for the information. 

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mickeym3

Note the ice on the windscreen....3rd of June just north of Lake Louise but still gorgeous.  On Beartooth a week after Sturgis and encountered several HD guys coming back from there and some were shortsleeved and without helmets and it was cold and sleeting in some sections.  Summer storms can be intense so check the forecast and be prepared...next to Alaska (Top of the World) the panorama views on Beartooth are my favorites  D004DAC2-F2C0-46CC-AE88-E3E19141E582.thumb.jpeg.a7594b80f464701569032ae91bb4a7f8.jpeg

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mickeym3

BTW going west on Hwy 2 it’s worthwhile to stop at Aerostich in Duluth, they have assorted clearance items at great prices and then prepare for long stretches but enough towns to break it up. I like the COE campground at Fort Peck Dam, interesting displays at the dam and then break north at Havre MT (be sure to fuel there) and head for Medicine Hat. Just west of there the scenery kicks in and won’t stop for many days...have fun. 

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