Summer spectacular: e-bike, then hike and dine

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A ZenSeekers' road trip isn't complete unless the destinations include outdoor adventures, and culinary, learning and cultural experiences. Create your #BucketlistAB itinerary in Southern Alberta..

Written and photographed by Chris Istace

Not sure what I expected when I selected Level 2 on the power mode switch. Helmet strapped on, I took my first pedal stroke and with a surprising burst of energy my electric assist mountain bike burst to life. Now that’s more like it.

This was going to be a fun way to tour the Crowsnest Pass area, which borders on Alberta's newest protected area - Castle Provincial Park. 

Katherine Seleski of Pass PowderKeg – a ski resort in winter and hiking and biking area in summer – met up with us in the nearby community of Blairmore. This would be my first time on an e-bike, one of the new offerings here. They also have manual bikes and a cool Hike and Dine program.

Crowsnest Pass has always been a favourite spot of mine with a deep valley lined with the rugged peaks of the Canadian Rockies towering above. Every time I visit the region I find another thing to love about it.  For Katherine, she says, “my love Crowsnest is mixed with the true feel of community and the passionate outdoor enthusiasts who live here. From the rugged mountains to the regions wild history, it’s so unique.”

The e-bike tours start from the Blairmore Community Pool and this is where we met locals Calla Massong and Emilie Brien. All trained up on our wheels, we set out towards Coleman along the Community Trail. The 23-km trail connects the five small communities that make up the Crowsnest Pass.

Pedalling along with ease, letting the electric boost do some of the work for us, Emilie, new to the bikes, got over a little case of nerves. But after a couple of kilometres, she was a convert. “This is so fun, I love it!” she said.

Crowsnest Pass
Photographer: Chris Istace

Crowsnest Mountain provides a beautiful backdrop to some of the biking trails. 

Aside from the big smiles on the trail heading west, I couldn’t help but gawk at the Crowsnest Mountain towering over the skyline, and knowing I was surrounded by Castle, Alberta's newest provincial park.

Turning around, we proceeded to head east to the community of Frank, riding in the shadow of Turtle Mountain. The mountain is legendary for being the site of Canada’s largest rockslide known as the Frank Slide. Riding along through and past the house-sized rocks put us face to face with this devastating history. It gave us a whole new perspective on the catastrophe that changed this landscape forever.

Leaving from Pass Powderkeg, we joined Heather Davis of Uplift Adventures, a certified Canadian Mountain Guide who’s leading the resort’s Hike and Dine experience this summer.

Crowsnest Pass
Photographer: Chris Istace

You can get a heart-stopping view of the Continental Divide along the trails at Pass Powderkeg. 

Wow, wow, wow, is all I could say. From powerful views of the Continental Divide mountains to the dainty beauty of the wildflowers, we explored the interpretive hiking trails of Pass Powderkeg. Heather’s knowledge of the flowers and trees, history and culture of the region made the hike so much more fascinating.

“I love the outdoors so much and at the same time (I) love meeting new people,” Heather said. I could tell. It kind of felt like hiking with an old friend.

It felt like our day had already been spectacular, but the best was yet to come. Back at the Pass Powderkeg lodge where we started, Chef Alejandro Verdi had prepared a mouth-watering and visual treat for us for the dining part of our hike and dine.

Crowsnest Pass
Photographer: Chris Istace

A feast fit for hungry cyclists and hikers is served as part of Pass Powderkeg's Hike and Dine summer program.  

We sat out on the lodge’s patio overlooking the valley below as the sun’s late evening golden light cast a glow on the nearby mountains. With the dishes of steak, corn, vegetables, salad, chicken and couscous, covering the table, we ate family style, bringing back fond memories of family campout gatherings. The parmesan bacon roasted Brussel sprouts may or may not have seen three helpings make their way to my plate.

E-biking in Crownest Pass, followed by the new Hike and Dine experience at Pass Powderkeg, I really couldn’t have asked for a better day.

If You Go

Begin planning your trip to Crowsnest Pass via the Travel Alberta website.

Uncover more adventures in the Canadian Rockies. Check out ZenSeekers' #RockiesExploring Expedition page to see how you can have an adventure like this.

Getting there: Fly into the Canadian Rockies International Airport  from Vancouver via Pacific Coastal Airlines. Pick up a rental car at the airport and head to Crowsnest Pass, a little more than an hour’s drive a way.

Hit the road to explore Alberta's South along Highway 3 this month and be sure to share your discoveries on social media with the hashtag #BucketlistAB and #ExploreAlberta - you could be featured on our social media channels.  Check out for itineraries, stories and lots more video on Southern Albertan experiences.

Chris Istace is a ZenSeekers' correspondent, he can be found at The Mindful Explorer and on Instagram and Twitter.

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