Highwood Pass South Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

6.9 mi
1,069 ft
2.8 %


Page Contributor(s): Lynn Sugden, Sherwood Park, AB; Leigh McAdam, hikebiketravel.com


Located within the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park on Alberta Highway 40, at 2,179 meters (7,148’), Highwood Pass is the highest paved pass in all of Canada, and also among the most picturesque.
2.8% average grade (3.3% climb only) - 9% of the climb is descent, 79% is at 0-5% grade and 12% at 5-10%.  The steepest 500 meters is 6.3%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button above.
Roadway:  2 lane highway in excellent condition with a shoulder separated by a white line and rumble strips that you can ride in the entire climb. Highway 40 opens (from its winter closure) on June 14th. Accordingly there exists a window of opportunity when there is no traffic on the climb to the summit from either North or South. The best time to climb Highwood Pass is on a weekday between June 4th and 13th. 

Traffic:  Mild to none. After June 14 opening, the traffic on this climb is low (a fraction of the traffic experienced in Banff NP just down the road) and is tempered by a 2 meter shoulder. Weekends are busier than weekdays.

Parking:  At the Mt. Lipsett Trailhead about a kilometer east of the start of the climb on the north side of the road - MapStreet View
Provisions:  None on the route - the closest are in Longview to the eat. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
Consider doing this climb with Highwood Pass North - 50 kilometers gaining 850 meters gained. 



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Cycling Highwood Pass North -- Canada’s highest paved road.

Ride 11 kilometers gaining 325 meters at 2.8% average grade.

Located within the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park on Alberta Highway 40, at 2,179 meters (7,148’), Highwood Pass is the highest paved pass in all of Canada, and also among the most picturesque.

Photos courtesy of Canadian world traveler and adventure blogger extraordinaire Leigh McAdam.

The Highwood Pass Loop - One of Canada’s Best Drives, hikebiketravel.com, Leigh McAdam.

Highwood Pass lies in the Misty Range of the Canadian Rockies. The route from the south begins near Lower Kananaskis Lake which, along with the Upper Kananaskis, are a pair of beautiful crystal clear Rocky Mountain Lakes definitely worth the short trip to for hiking and scenic opportunities.  

Summit; Elpoca Mountain (9,961’)  photo top left.

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is one of the largest provincial parks in Alberta (a provincial park is equivalent to a state park in the US), and encompasses the 304 square km (117 square miles) surrounding the Kananaskis Lakes.  If you’re looking to see wildlife, keep an eye out for  moose, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and even some larger predators, including cougars, lynx, Rocky Mountain wolves, and the occasional grizzly and black bear.  To help plan your trip to Peter Lougheed PP, check out the park’s website, here for information on day use, camping, backpacking, and more.

Named after Canada’s Alberta’s Premier (equivalent to US governor) from 1971 to 1985;

Established 1977 (formerly known as Kananaskis Provincial Park);  304 square km (117 sq mi)

Insider Tip from Lynn Sugden, from Alberta, Canada:

An interesting and helpful tidbit about Highwood Pass is that the road (Highway 40) is closed during the winter.  It opens on June 15th each year.  This means that there are roughly two weeks before that when the snow has melted and the road is rideable by bike to the summit and therefore the only traffic on the road are bicycles and wildlife.  It is a fantastic ride up the highway with no vehicles.  The ability to ride to the summit varies with the snowmelt each year and is therefore unpredictable, but that also adds to the mystic of the opportunity.

Thank you Lynne and Lynn Sugden, AB, CAN

Thank you Leigh McAdam.

The Highwood Pass Loop - One of Canada’s Best Drives - hikebiketravel.com, Leigh McAdam.

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