Saturday, June 23, 2018

WESTIVA X... Three weeks and counting

For those of you traveling to Westiva from the south I would like to share one of my favorite local drives. I wrote about some of this route a few years ago but it bears repeating.

It starts at the intersection of Alberta Highways 3 & 22 reached from the west through Fernie and the the Crowsnest Pass and from the east through Fort MacLeod and past Pincher Creek. From there the route takes you north along the Cowboy Trail to Longview, west to Highwood House and then north again over the Highwood Pass to Wedge Pond.

The first leg up to Longview takes you over 110km of rolling, meandering two lane blacktop through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
At times it's not hard to imagine herds of buffalo roaming the fertile valleys. Here's some of the points of interest along the way:
  • km 24/mile15- you'll cross the Oldman River
  • km 44/mile 27-  one of the highest spots on the Cowboy Trail at approximately 1500m/4900ft, over 300m/1100ft higher than our start  point.
  • km 71/mile 44 - you'll start to pass Chain Lakes Provincial Park on your left. There's a spot here for a picnic or a bathroom break if the need arises.

Northbound on Highway 22. From Surrealplaces on Flikr; link in properties

Longview is the starting point for the second leg of this route. Head west from Longview on Highway 541. You'll reach Highwood House after a scenic 44km/28mile westward drive through rolling farmland. At this point you'll turn north again onto Highway 40 to head over the Highwood Pass which at 2206m (7238ft) is the highest paved pass in Canada. This stretch of highway is closed from December to mid June as it is a major wildlife corridor.

Highwood Pass looking south from the air (source wikipedia)
If you look closely at the photo above you can see the summit parking lot in the bottom right corner.

From the ground (source wikipedia)

The summit of the pass is 38km/24 miles from Highwood House and it's another 38km/24 miles to the Wedge Pond day use area, the starting venue for Westiva. Whether you're joining us for Westiva or not, I highly recommend this route for the twisty, rolling roads and the breathtaking scenery.

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