I started out the day by visiting the two spiral tunnel viewpoints. They’re railway tunnels carved deep into the mountain to reduce the grade of the climb from 4.5% to 2.2%. Having biked the non-spiral-tunnel climb I can vouch for their need.
After a few more kilometers of climbing I reached the top of Kicking Horse Pass, which at 1643 metres is the highest point on the Trans-Canada Highway. The pass serves triple duty, as it also marks the divide between Yoho and Banff national parks as well as British Columbia and Alberta.
After heading down from the pass I rode into Lake Louise. The climb from the village to the lake proper was steep, and at 1750 metres it’s higher than Kicking Horse, but it was worth it. The lake and hotel are both beautiful.
I dipped my feet into the waters of the lake, and heard someone say “cold feet again?” It was the German couple who camped next to me last night, and who came down to the Kicking Horse River as I was dipping my feet in last night. We seemed to be on the same schedule.
Leaving Lake Louise I opted for the Bow Valley Parkway instead of the Trans Canada, and was rewarded with the best riding of the trip so far. A two-lane highway with great scenery, paved shoulders, no trucks, and the only drivers on that road are also there for the scenery so they tend to be patient. Oh, and nearly all downhill! I loved it. Partway through I caught up with a cyclist named Bruce, and we road together for an hour or so into town. Bruce grew up in the prairies, moved to Banff 20 years ago, and bikes nearly every day he can.
I got to Banff in the late afternoon. My brother was waiting for me with a beer. We haven’t seen each other in a few years, so it will be nice to spend a rest day here tomorrow catching up.
Today’s Distance: 96 km
Cumulative Distance: 1078 km