Epic Loop

Cardinal Divide

Rating: Premier
Distance: 107 km 
Elev Gain: 1307 m
Percent Gravel: 98%
Surface: Double Track, Gravel
Difficulty: 4
Tire: 35+mm
Road: Public

This is an epic remote loop, full of adventure, history and scenery.

You start at the historical coal branch mining hamlet of Cadomin (56km south of Hinton) and ride over the 2nd highest gravel pass in Alberta at 2025m.

The climb to the top of the pass from Cadomin is long at 20km but is not particularly steep so you can enjoy the view.  Look closely and you’ll see remnants of historical mining sites as you climb and if you get lucky (and a bit dusty) you’ll see one of the massive coal trucks roll by from the still operational Cheviot mine.

Stop to take a picture at the pass, a peaceful mountain meadow, before descending the very steep, very rough and unmaintained road down to the Cardinal River and the south entrance to the Wildhorse Wildland PP.  Here the road levels out and parallels the river for about 25km. There are several road washouts, easily done on a bike, but big enough to keep all but the gnarliest of 4x4 vehicles away.

Eventually you’ll turn north on Pembina River Road, a well-maintained forestry haul road that is open to public traffic. Complete the loop on Hwy 40, crossing over and paralleling the McLeod River back to Cadomin.

For those feeling extra spicy and an extra hour at km 40 you can do the climb to the Grave Flats Fire Lookout.

This a remote loop though the mountains, so you’ll need plenty of food, a rain jacket, a repair kit and a water filter.

Route explored and provided by Greg Nicholson