Roadtrip in Alberta + BC **Best 12

Ask a photographer to pick their best images from a solo two week roadtrip in Alberta and BC. Humm. I took thousands of photos with my ancient Nikon D700 and Samsung cell phone. I was traveling in my ancient 1991 FJ80 Toyota Landcruiser. Fall colors were absolutely amazing – perfectly timed, and there was almost no one else on the road. I took the Forestry Trunk Road (Alberta #40 / #732) on and off from Hinton to Coleman. Details in previous posts. 

My selection for best 12 photos.

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Picture 1 of 12

TRIP REPORT ā€“ Alberta 93 (Castle Junction to Wasa Lake + Whiteswan Provincial Park

October 5, 2023

This route followed Alberta highway 93 Castle Junction to Wasa Lake through Kootenay National Park. Unfortunately, this was the last day that the Trans Canada Highway was closed between Castle Junction and Lake Louise. As you can imagine – the road was stupidly busy !.

 

Whiteswan Provincial Park

A long and poorly marked forestry dirt road to Whiteswan Lake. Arrived late in the evening, needed flashlights to cook dinner and set up the tent. During the night, the elk were calling, and there was one splashing in the lake quite close to my campsite. The morning, calm and foggy. Pulled out the tripod for the first time in the trip, to photograph the foggy – almost mystic scene. Later, a person fishing in the lake surrounded by fog and a slowly rising sun.

TRIP REPORT ā€“ Canmore + Alberta 742 + Alberta 40 loop

October 4, 2023.

This post describes the Canmore + Alberta 742 + Alberta 40 loop. The route heads south on Alberta 742 from Canmore, passes Spray Lakes Reservoir, Spray Valley Provincial Park – Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and returns via Alberta 40.

TRIP REPORT ā€“ Forestry Trunk Road (Hinton to Ghost Valley)

Iā€™d been looking forward to solo roadtrip to the mountains since I had left my Toyota Landcruiser in Edmonton after the mass evacuation in August.  The truck was already packed with camping gear, clothes and food. Being retired I could take a road trip and hit some of the best fall colors in the Alberta.

My truck is slow (the story goes that 1991 FJ80 Landcruisers will only reach 100km/hr going downhill), and not wanting to drive at length on the Trans Canada Highway, secondary and tertiary roads are my preference. As this was also my first solo trip, and my first lengthy road trip with the Landcruiser.  I didn’t want to go on off-road trails, or technically challenging routes. This was to be a ‘Shake-down’ trip.

 

On October 1, with the truck fuelled up (plus 30l in extra fuel) and coffee in hand, I pointed the truck west to Hinton.

Having read reviews for the Forestry Trunk Road I was confident the road would be fine, if not quite dusty. The Forestry Trunk Road (FTR) runs for 1000 kilometers from Grande Cache to Coleman in the Crowsnest Pass. Most of the road (~800km) is gravel and the remaining 200km is  paved. The FTR was a north-south resource road, some segments of the road have been designated as parts of Highway 40 or Highway 734. The Forestry Trunk Road runs mostly through Crown Land, it is possible to camp just about anywhere, or in provincial campsites. 

 

This post describes the route from Hinton via Nordegg to Ghost Valley. I did a modified route. From Hinton taking the Robb Road and Pembina River Road  joining the Forestry Trunk Road near McLoed River. According to Google Maps, this is a 6 hour 51 minute (440km) route. I took three days- beautiful scenery and washboard roads made the drive quite a bit longer than expected. 

Day 1: October 1, 2023. 138km

The Pembina Road runs through appropriately named ‘Coal Valley ‘; coal mining, logging, oil and gas wells.

Camped at McLoed River.

Day 2: October 2, 2023.

To Nordegg and beyond. Google maps did not record the entire route.   I camped near the green dot shown on the map.

 

Day 3: October 3, 2023.

Camped on the Ghost Valley Road overlooking the Ghost River.

Summary. This route is highly recommended. I was especially fortunate, as the road conditions were good, and the fall colours were superb.  Additionally, there were very few vehicles on the road. Other drivers on this route had mentioned an abundance of industry-related vehicles.

Another post will highlight the Canmore + Alberta 742 +  Alberta 40 loop.

Ruby Falls. September 30, 2023

Road trip to Ruby Falls, Alberta on September 30, 2023.  Driving into Ruby Falls isn’t for the faint of heart, or for cars (4×4 truck is a necessity). I drive a 1991 Toyota Landcruiser FJ80, and joined a Jeep YJ, and a Jeep Cherokee. The other drivers were experienced off-roaders, and one had done the drive several times. Prior to the trip, I asked  – “Is off-road driving experience necessary for this trip ?”. The trip guide, replied, ‘not really’.   I now know !.

According to Google, our driving day was 7h:59 min, drove 128.28km, average speed 16 km/hr, and ‘on a ferry’ for 108km !!. There were no ferries !.

Pictures: Nice and clean before the trip …..to time for a wash, and there is a licence plate somewhere under that mud !