I’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.
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.