A relatively easy trail, very suitable for someones first foray into true off-road mountain-biking. 100m of difference in elevation, a couple hills required some pushing for some people (who will remain nameless).
Note: The 'bible' of MTB (Backcountry Biking in the Canadian Rockies by Doug Eastcott) calls this Sibbald Flats, but all the Kananaskis Country maps call this the north end of Tom Snow. And there is a different, short trail called 'Sibbald Flat' on K-co maps starting from the Sibbald Lake trailhead.
You can start from the Dawson end or the other end, that being the Spruce Woods Rec area. Spruce Woods is located on the South Demonstration Forest Loop and features some picnic tables up top. Oddly most of our group decided to eat their lunch down by the river, thus missing the opportunity of cardio/skill training and extra 23m of climbing.
You could make a loop of it only if you want to ride down the dry, dusty Hiway 68 (gravel at that point), so it will probably be an out & back with an optional sideleg.
There is some singletrack (near the Dawson trailhead end), opening into some double track and some open meadows.
A fun ride if you're not hardcore. All creek crossings are bridged, if it wasn't for a couple mud puddles, we'd be dry.
This trail is in the general area of:
Head west of Calgary on Hiway 1 to the well marked Hiway 68 (Sibbald Creek Trail) exit (about 17.5km past hiway 22 overpass).
Drive South/West along #68 for 23km to the well marked Powderface Trail gravel road.
Go south 3km to the Dawson Provincial Recreation Area parking lot. Park there.
Trailhead is in North-East corner of parking lot right beside where you come in.
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Posted By: Park2
- Tue Aug 06 17:25:11 UTC 2013
Comment2013 Flooding UPDATE! A few changes along here, the first foot bridge (at Dawson) is Gone! and the far end at Pine Grove is very damaged (and doesn't span the river any more). Most of the trail is still quite rideable once you get across on some logs though.
Posted By: nomads
- Tue Sep 07 23:01:17 UTC 2010
UpsideQuiet. We only passed 2 other couples. Mixture of easy stump and mud riding and a bit more challenging up and downhills. easy enough for my 9 year old daughter on a her townie and my 12 year old daughter on her mountain bike. DownsideNot a loop, so we did take the dusty dirt road back to our vehicle. CommentGreat family fun. Can definitely recommend it and you do not have to be hard core or own any fancy gear.
Posted By: Park2
- Wed Jul 22 04:10:39 UTC 2009
CommentJust did it again a month ago. Still like it. So did the 20 newbs I brought along. Some did an extra 8km (4 each way) down Tom Snow North when we got close to the East end.
Posted By: SlayerQC
- Sun Jul 12 04:49:40 UTC 2009
UpsideMTB: Fast and easy downhill DownsideMTB: Long roughly 7km total or so uphill, on gravel. I wouldnt call this easy but also not difficult.Kind of demanding though. CommentFrom dawson trail, it's pretty much all downhill from the start, except for the very first part. Always turn left until the gravel road then get ready to ride uphill You'll pass a creek with a gated bridge, keep going up until the road you drove on. Go uo to powderface (fast downhill before the last uphill stretch). There's a really nice lookout point along the way.
Posted By: rmartyr
- Mon Jun 15 13:45:04 UTC 2009
UpsideGreat for learning CommentAs stated this is a great beginners trail with modest ascents and descents and smooth trail. When starting from the Dawson side - make sure you go left at the first T ... right is a gruelling technical climb up Cox Hill