Home  >>Trails >> Trails Around The World >>Canada >>Alberta >>

Lat: Lng:

Big Elbow Little Elbow Loop

Average Rating:    (4 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 7

This trail is a classic fire-road bomber in the Canadian Rockies complete with 20 minute climbs and 20 minute downhills. Begin at the west end of Highway 66 near Bragg Creek. Park the car and ride along the dirt road for a few hundred meters until you see a suspension bridge on the left...cross it. The loop is a swooping right-hand turn around a mountain massif totalling around 45km, or 27-28 miles. Generally you are on rough fire-road undulating over washouts, live creeks, gaining elevation, losing it, gaining massive elevation again only to bomb down one of the best roller-coaster rides I've experienced. Total single-track is in the 5-10% range but don't let that put you off, this ride takes you far into the back country and affords amazing views and deafening silence. As always in the Canadian Rockies, pack a shell. While changing a flat I've been caught in a short snow-storm In August! But it can get hot too! Times for me have varied from 4 hours as a novice to just over 2 hours when I was racing. I have run into people who have been riding for 4 hours and are just at the halfway mark, my fig newtons probably saved their lives.
discuss this trail in the Western Canada forum >>
post pictures of this trail >>
search for trail pictures >>

This trail doesn't have any Longitude and Latitude data for the map. Participate and drag the red marker to the correct location.
Enter a Starting Point (City, State, or Landmark)


[X]Cancel
Latitude
50.78987674433807
Longitude
-114.86377716064453
Trail Directions
West and South of Calgary to Bragg Creek, then Hgw. 66 to it's western terminus.
Trail Length
28
Trail Level
Intermediate
Trail Type
Fire Roads
City/County
Bragg Creek
   


Sort Reviews by:  Latest Review | Best Rating
Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
September 23, 2013

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

Rate this review?

Reviewed by: tri777 ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
Do not attemp the loop unless you are prepared to spend 11 hrs. The trail is totally devastated after June 2013 flooding. You will exprience 3 soaking river crossings, a lot of hiking, more than biking, many washed out crossings with huge rocks, bushwacking to steep hills to get through, etc. We did this last night counter clockwise and the downhill to Tombstone camp ground was totally ripped of. Not cyclable al all. Good thing 5 of us made it with no trouble at all. No bike puncture, no mechanical problems, no injuries.

Recommended Route:
This Loop is not recommended for MTB

Other recommended trails in the same area:
West Bragg Creek



Would you like to Comment?
Join MTBR for a free account, or Login if you are already a member.

Review Date
May 1, 2009

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

Rate this review?

Reviewed by: kbrown35 ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Great trail, good for getting the summer legs back and great for pushing your time in the mid season. If you are doing this trail from the guide book don't do it clockwise, go the other direction. Ive done both and the latter is better in my opinion.

Recommended Route:
Start on the fire road and slug out the gain then sit back and enjoy the single track down.



Would you like to Comment?
Join MTBR for a free account, or Login if you are already a member.

Review Date
August 19, 2002

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 3.00 votes

Rate this review?

Reviewed by: Eric , from Calgary

Summary:
This trail has a little bit of everything, screaming descents, narly single track and open fire roads. You begin your trip at the end of little Elbow campground and head up some wide open fire roads, this section is a steady up and down climb till your reach an open meadow near the top. At the end of the meadow you will come to one of my favorite parts of the trail, a long and fast fire road downhill section, let go of the brakes and fly like the wind, i have reached speeds of 76 km/h, it is crazy fun. Then you will turn left at a yellow sign onto some single track and now your on Big Elbow, it is a nice single track to start and you go up and down for quite some time and soon your riding on the cliffs above the elbow river, it is amazing, continue on this trail and it will eventually widen out to some fire road again follow this till ya get to the bridge, cross this and the ride is finished, while riding this trail one evening in late july, me riding partner and i saw some deer, and a fox so you might be lucky if ya see some animals, bring a camera views are great. Go during the week in the evening as no one is there, however leave enough time so won't be riding in the dark. It is about 39 km's and took us for the first time exactly 3hrs, 49 mins. With numerous stops, so hae fun and enjoy this trail, it is quite easy.

Recommended Route:
start at the end of the campground, and make your up the fire road, till ya hit a yellow sign, turn left there, it is at bottom of long descent, and continue on the mixed single fire road and finish off by crossing the bridge



Would you like to Comment?
Join MTBR for a free account, or Login if you are already a member.

Review Date
May 4, 2001

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

Visitors rate this review
4.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

Rate this review?

Reviewed by: Jim Frederick , from Houston, TX

Summary:
This was the first trail I rode when I got into mountain biking a few years ago, and I found it very challenging for a beginner who was in barely average physical condition. The few minutes of zooming downhill just didn't seem to makeup for the hours it seemed to take getting up those hills. It took us 6 hours, so bring lots of water and powerbars. The fire road does get quite rocky for extended streches, which caused me many problems on my non-suspension bike. Bolts shook loose (bring tools), hands got numb (bring gloves) and tubes got punctured (bring at least two spares... the two of us had four flats!) My butt was tender for at least 3 days :) We almost missed the entrance to the single trail because it was on a downhill slope where the fire road continues straight on, and we had some serious speed going. The single trail was a welcome change after hours of fire road riding, and I found to be medium in difficulty. Once past the single trail and back onto a fire road, it flattened out for some nice higher speed cruising, slowing down only to cross some rocky but mostly dry stream beds. Maybe it's because it was my first trail, but I definitely enjoyed the ride, the scenery, and the people we met on the trail.

Recommended Route:
Unsure, but I THINK (not 100% sure) we crossed the suspension bridge just before returning to our trucks at the end of the day.



Would you like to Comment?
Join MTBR for a free account, or Login if you are already a member.

Review Date
October 31, 2000

Overall Rating
 2 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Every few months

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

Rate this review?

Reviewed by: Dave , from Calgary

Summary:
I guess it depends on preferences, I like singletrack and didn't care for this ride too much. The elevation gain was minimal, the views only okay and there was way too much fire road. The singletrack cutting back onto Big Elbow is the highlight of this ride, but there just isn't enough of it. It's a 40 km ride, and I figure that it should feel like you've been beaten up after that long a ride, I didn't even notice this one. Do a shorter more demanding loop in the area and save your time.

Recommended Route:
Take the loop counterclockwise starting with the Little Elbow side.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Sulphur Springs, Powderface Creek, Wildhorse



Would you like to Comment?
Join MTBR for a free account, or Login if you are already a member.
Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5