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Wildhorse Lake - Cadomin - Nordegg Ride

August 12, 2006

Yet another good day for a ride, and the plan was to meet some friends that were supposed to be camping at Wildhorse Lake, Alberta (between Hinton and Jasper). There are a lot of dirt trails around the Wildhorse Lake area, and it's a nice area to get some dual-sporting riding in.

The first part of the ride was fairly boring - heading out on Highway 16 from Edmonton to Hinton. Not much to say about this part of the journey as its primarily just straight-line pavement miles, and if you've ridden through Kansas then you pretty much know what this stretch is like.

I go ahead and get gas in Hinton, then head about another 9 miles west to the turnoff for Wildhorse Lake. I pass through the campgrounds twice looking for my friends, but they're nowhere to be found. Turns out the the Wildhorse Lake campground was full when they arrived the previous day, and they had camped at a KOA down the road instead. Since Bob didn't have his cell with him, he couldn't call me and I couldn't reach him. No worries - I'm going to get some riding in anyways.

Wildhorse Lake

There are several miles of roads and trails in the area, and so I decide to go exploring. There are supposed to be some sand dunes as well, but I never found them. I have quite a good time riding in the area on trails of varying GS worthiness. Most of the trails are just fine, but there are also some fairly gnarly trails that would better suit a full dirt bike (or at least a GS with TKC's or some other more dirt-oriented tire). On this trip, I stick mainly to the milder dirt roads and dual-track trails, but manage to hit a few of the single-track trails as well.

The following pictures were taken on the trails in the Wildhorse Lake area.






It's a beautiful area in the foothills of the Rockies.

Below is the view as I'm about to turn onto Highway 16 east to head back to Hinton.

So after riding the trails in the Wildhorse Lake area for a few hours and never seeing any sign of my friends, I decide to check out the Cadomin area which is another popular off-road riding area. I need to get some gas and lunch first, so it's a quick trip back to Hinton, passing by the KOA campground where Bob is camped (although I didn't know it at the time).

After filling up the GS with gas and myself with a Teen Burger from A&W, I head south on Highway 40. Cadomin is basically an old abandoned mining town, although there are still approximately 50 people still living in the area. There's a lot of old abandoned houses and structures around. Quite a bit of mining still takes place around the region, and there are plenty of off-road areas to explore.



I spend another couple of hours in the Cadomin area before deciding to take the forestry trunk road down to Nordegg on Highway 11 (east of Rocky Mountain House). The forestry trunk road comprises parts of Highways 40 and 734 heading south. It's a combination of dirt and gravel roads, and is fairly well maintained. It provides access to a variety of recreational opportunities in the foothills.

Most of the road is pretty hard-packed but occasionally I would suddenly hit areas of very loose and deep gravel. This tends to wake you up very quickly when you are going about 75mph on street-oriented tires (Michelin Anakees).

Below are pics that I took on the forestry trunk road.




It's about 100 miles from Cadomin to Nordegg. It's late afternoon by the time I reach Nordegg. I stop for gas, and then take pavement back to Edmonton (almost 200 miles) . I head east on Highway 11 to Rocky Mountain House, north on Highway 22, and then east on Highway 12 to Highway 16. Then it's north to Edmonton.

Put almost 550 miles on the bike today, with probably a little over 150 miles of that on the dirt roads. It was a very good day!