Pedal Magazine - - Test Gear - BY CORY WAL­LACE

Spend­ing the past eight years as a Pro rider on the Kona Fac­tory Team, I’ve rid­den and raced my bike all over the world, but one place still holds a spe­cial place in my heart – Al­berta’s Jasper Na­tional Park. Grow­ing up in Jasper, it’s part of one’s child­hood to ride bikes. It is how you get to school, down­town or out into the wilder­ness that sur­rounds the town.

Jasper is in the con­flu­ence of three val­leys, and from the lo­cal bike shop, Free­wheel Cy­cle, you can get to more than a dozen trail­heads in less than 10 min­utes. The big­gest prob­lem is try­ing to de­cide which di­rec­tion to head on any given day! When I’m in town now be­tween trips, I try to make the most of my limited days by com­bin­ing some of the pop­u­lar rides on one big day out. I call it the “The Ab­bre­vi­ated Around the World.”

Start­ing out on the 32-kilo­me­tre loop, get the big one out of the way first. This rugged track leads far up into the wilder­ness un­der the shad­ows of Pyra­mid Moun­tain above town, pass­ing by nu­mer­ous crys­tal-clear lakes and fresh streams. In ei­ther di­rec­tion, the sec­ond half is a rip­ping, pre­dom­i­nantly down­hill thrill ride back to town, where you can re­fuel at a lo­cal cof­fee shop be­fore head­ing out on the next leg, which starts on Bighorn Al­ley, lead­ing onto Snar­ing Road and even­tu­ally on to the Over­lan­der Trail­head at the Moberly Bridge.

The Over­lan­der is a clas­sic Jasper trail travers­ing the banks of the Athabasca River, with glo­ri­ous views and a few tech­ni­cal rocky patches. It’s a fast cruise as you ride past the Moberly Cabin ru­ins and end up at the re­fresh­ing Maligne River.

From here, you head north up the Maligne be­fore a 12-kilo­me­tre climb to Sig­nal Moun­tain Look­out for an amaz­ing 360° view of the three val­leys be­low and a cap to an epic day out in the moun­tains. There are a cou­ple rad op­tions for de­scend­ing back down to the val­ley be­low, and then it’s an easy 30- to 45-minute cruise along the Athabasca via Trail 7 back to town.

There’s plenty of space here to give high-fives to your rid­ing bud­dies and dis­cuss at which great Jasper restau­rant or cafe you’ll end your ride. As al­ways when rid­ing in in the Rock­ies, you must be alert for bears, elk and the odd mis­be­hav­ing tourist.

Jasper Na­tional Park fea­tures some of the best rid­ing any­where in the world with sweet trails, amaz­ing scenery, wildlife and great restau­rants and cafes to end your ride.

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