Top 3 Road Cycling Routes out of Brooks, Alberta / Dinosaur Provincial Park

Whizzing pass blanketed green fields pressed up against a pale blue sky feels much like being in a heavy state of happy meditation.
The yellow lines pass quickly underneath our skinny tires, and the Canadian Badlands are beckoning us closer.
A resident Meadowlark is happily perched on top of a fence post and chirping at us kindly, this was my kind of cycling day!


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This experience made me want to share my top three rides near Dinosaur Provincial Park and Brooks, Alberta just ahead of Fathers Day.
Road cycling is a pastime that I’m lucky enough to share with my Dad. It’s our thing to do, our place to go when we need some time to hang out.
We’ve tackled many a Rocky Mountain hill as a duo egging each other on and have spread out onto the vast prairies to regain our breath.
It’s a calming experience, and something I know we always have in our back pocket as an outlet for summer adventure.

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I hadn’t actually considered our area around Brooks as a prime riding spot, until two weeks ago, when my Dad challenged my husband and I for a spin
from Duchess, Alberta to Steveville Bridge. Being a born and raised mountain girl, it’s been hard to compare the cycling out here to what
we have back in Canmore, Alberta. But on this day, last week, we all rode in awe at what we were seeing, experiencing,
hearing, smelling and enjoying. That endless sky is something I covet!

 If you’re travelling across Canada, or skipping out of the Rocky Mountains to escape the masses and are
enjoying our area’s provincial parks and towns, it’s worth tucking in your bike along to explore a wider area.

 Tips & Tricks:
We’re growing our cycling community, one biker at a time.
Our area is heavily industrial and you’ll notice a lot of oilfield vehicles on the road that aren’t always used to seeing cyclist out.
As always, ride defensively.

Roads to Avoid:
HWY 36: This Highway is heavily used by everyone as it heads straight south to the US Border. Straight North it goes to Lac La Biche.
I’d advise not using this route or even if you’re using it as a link to other routes. Traffic can be fast, intense and distracted.

 HWY 873: Between Brooks, AB and Duchess, AB: It seems like an accessible route to take from Brooks to Duchess, but I’d avoid this section of hwy.
Vehicles pass quickly, often passing other vehicles and the shoulder isn’t cycle friendly.

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Route 1:

 Brooks, Alberta to Dinosaur Provincial Park
Distance: 43km (one way)

 When you leave Brooks, Alberta you’ll want to head East on Hwy 542 and cross over the TransCanada Hwy. Hwy 542 turns into Township RD 190 which forces you North onto Range Rd 141, and then East onto Township Road 191, then North onto Range Rd 140 for approximately 10km until you hit Hwy 544 which guides you East for 6km towards Patricia, Alberta. You’ll come to the now closed Dinosaur Rest Stop. Head North toward Patricia and follow the signs to Dinosaur Provincial Park. You will be rewarded with the incredible views of the Badlands, and if you dip down into the Park, you can enjoy an ice cream at the Cretaceous Café, or head back to Patricia, AB and have a beer and burger at the Patricia Hotel, an intensely authentic watering hole.

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 *The road is almost completely flat, with a few dips here and there. The only big hill you will encounter is the 11% grade 1km hill that dips down into
Dinosaur Provincial Park.

 *This is a great ride to do if you want to meet your family / friends at Dinosaur Provincial Park for a picnic or,
if you are staying at the Park and want make it a return ride to Brooks, AB

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Route 2:

 Duchess, Alberta to Steville Bridge, AB

Distance: 33km (one way)

 A great place to park and start is the Duchess Golf Course.
From there, you head North on HWY 872 for approximately 3km before turning East on the Cut Across Road for 15km.
This road spits you out onto HWY 876 all the way to Steveville. Once you dip down to Steveville Bridge, you can enjoy the Red Deer River running underneath the bridge (springtime) or trickling by (late summer) and looking East you’ll catch the beginning of the Badlands. Going further doesn’t make sense as the road turns to gravel right away.

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*The shoulder is a decent size and the pavement great on this route. This route is fairly flat, with only a mild hill down towards Steveville Bridge.

*This is a fairly quiet route, but does have some gravel truck traffic. I have found the trucks to be extremely considerate to riders,
(Thank you County of Newell and Liberty Trucking Drivers) but keep an eye out for bouncing rocks and oncoming traffic, naturally.

 *An added bonus to starting and stopping in Duchess, Alberta is access to The Prairie Cottage Bakeshop (Centre Street, Duchess) which always serves up fresh Cinnamon Buns and on Wednesday and Fridays it’s Donut day and if you’re jonesing for a sodium hit after your ride, Alberta Prairie Meats (Railway Ave) a few steps down the street has the right kind of beef jerky.

We stopped in for BOTH jerky and cinnamon buns after our ride, and they were all gone and fingers licked clean between the short drive from
Duchess, Alberta to Brooks, Alberta.

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Route 3:

 Brooks, Alberta to Tillebrook Provincial Park, AB

Distance: 10km (one way)

This is a very easy ride if you are wanting to quickly stretch your legs.
Start at the City Hall and head East out of town and out onto Railway Avenue, which takes you all the way to Tillebrook.

 *Add on an extra 10km (one way) by heading out to the Centennial Regional Arena and heading West on the Silver Sage Road. This road takes you all the way out to HWY 36, cross the HWY36 and follow Township RD 184 as far as it goes before it turns to gravel and then head back the same way.

*Finish your ride with a coffee and sausage roll at the Steaming Cup in downtown Brooks, AB or a beer and a Brooks Sandwich at The Brooks Hotel.

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 Bonus Route!

Distance: Approximately 143 km Roundtrip.

Add all of these routes up together for a mega day on the bicycle!

Start in Brooks Alberta and follow Route 1 out to Dinosaur Provincial Park.
On your return trip from Dinosaur Provincial Park, skip the right hand turn toward Patricia, AB and continue on Township Road 204 until you hit HWY 876.
Take HWY 876 North all the way to Steveville Bridge and from then take a U-Turn back in the same direction until you reach
the Cut Across Road and take it all the way to Duchess, Alberta. Take a very cautious ride down HWY 873 toward Brooks and take
a Eastbound turn on HWY 544 toward Dinosaur Provincial Park for approximately 6km and turn South
on Range Rd 140 back toward Brooks the way you came.

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 *Great pit stops include the Cretaceous Café at Dinosaur Provincial Park, or the Patricia Hotel in Patricia, AB.
Duchess Prairie Meats or the Prairie Cottage Bakeshop in Duchess are perfect for the last hit before heading back.
If you want to finish off with a beer in Brooks, it’s gotta be at the Brooks Hotel!

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 What are your prairie riding experiences? Do you have other fabulous routes to add to this list and who do you ride with? Is it your Dad too?

Happy Fathers Day Weekend!

 

June 18, 2017 - 4:08 pm Lisa O - Great suggestion and pics Rach! I'll bring my bike next time. :-)

June 21, 2017 - 8:05 am Ryan Kiedrowski - Awesome post - absolutely love it! I've been threatening to start biking for years, but haven't got too far! lol One quick hint, if you continue west on that Cut Across Road by Duchess, it will take you to Rosemary, and even further west to Bassano! Traffic is generally light, and there are some cool sights along the way (Spragg's Meats, Countess, AB., and of course all Bassano has to offer).

June 23, 2017 - 5:33 am Donna Martin - Lovely pics and great writing. Loved it. Spelling for Tillebrook Prov Park, no "y". And Cretaceous Cafe after the Cretaceous Period that is exposed at Dino Prov Park. Super good article. If you are OK we will share it on our DPP UNESCO WHS facebook page. Thanks !

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