Southern Alberta’s summer playground

Whether it’s ATVing, fishing or a bit of both, the Crowsnest Pass is a hotspot for backcountry enthusiasts


ATVers on a well worn trail in the Crowsnest Pass.

The Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad is one of the most active ATV groups in Alberta, and its members have done an excellent job of keeping local trails open. — photo courtesy Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad

Nestled in a valley that sees the colossal peaks of the Rocky Mountains ease into the picturesque foothills of Southern Alberta is the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass. It is here that ATVers will find access to some of the prettiest and most family friendly trails the region has to offer. Members of the Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad have developed an extensive trail system that is signed and mapped and has bridges over river and creeks.

Where to start? According to Gary Clark, president of the Quad Squad, the most popular ride is the Plane Crash Trail. As the name implies, this trail takes riders to the site where a Canadian Armed Forces plane crashed in 1946. Remnants of the plane are still visible, but what you see along the way makes the ride even more rewarding.

“The scenery is beautiful as you go through sections of very old forest and over streams and creeks on the quad bridges,” said Clark.

Another popular ride to try is the McGillivray Creek Trail to Spoon Valley. Clark said this is a fairly easy ride that families can enjoy because there is only one steep hill to go down before entering Spoon Valley. Riders can park and unload at the McGillvray Staging Area north of Highway 3 near Coleman.

There are several backcountry camping spots in and around the Crowsnest Pass, and the area is also known for its superb fly-fishing opportunities—so if you’re an angler, you might want to pack a rod and some stonefly patterns and try your luck at catching cutthroats and rainbow trout.

For more information about ATVing in the Crowsnest Pass, visit the Quad Squad’s website.

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