This trail is permanently closed/decommissioned
19 miles
3,227 ft
-3,880 ft
1 miles
High Point


  • Riding Area
  • AKA
    Misty Range
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
    Black Diamond
  • Physical Rating
  • Season
    July - Oct
  • Land Manager
    Alberta Parks

Trail users are currently prohibited from using Sheep Trail as a means of travelling between the Sheep and Elbow valleys, thus cutting off access to Rickert’s Pass.

More info:


Arduous. That is how Doug Eastcott describes this ride in "Backcountry Biking in the Canadian Rockies". This ride is great - the views alone should put it on your "must ride" list. The descents are old-school - rocks, roots, creeks, more rocks - no buff stuff here. The trails are largely unmaintained, so keep your eyes open.

The route is Elbow Pass trail [fairly easy riding, wide trail] to Sheep Pass trail [mostly a fast descent through babyhead rocks with many stream crossings], then TURN RIGHT AT THE COAL PILE and push/carry/drag your bike up to the top of Rickert's Pass. From the top of the Pass, the usual route is to bomb down the other side on singletrack to the Mist Creek trailhead, but there is a route along the ridge that some have taken with success.

Cellphone reception is largely non-existent, so if anything goes wrong, you will likely have to self-extract. Not really a good ride to do solo. First aid kit, bear spray, etc. Don't go past the coal pile unless you intend to get to Bluerock and/or Sandy McNabb.

Access Info

The start and finish of this ride are on Hwy 40. Two options:
1. Leave a vehicle at the Mist Creek trailhead and shuttle up to the Elbow Pass trailhead.
2. HTFU and ride from Mist Creek up and over Highwood Pass to the start of the ride.

More Stats for Around the Misty Range bike trail
  • Altitude change
    -654 ft
  • Altitude min
    5,806 ft
  • Altitude start
    6,460 ft
  • Altitude end
    5,806 ft
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    6 miles
  • Distance down
    13 miles
  • Distance flat
    819 ft
  • view trail stats
on Jan 31, 2017
Avg: 4.5 (2 votes)

view (1)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Ridden Direction

Trailforks scans users ridelogs to determine the most popular direction each trail is ridden. A good flowing trail network will have most trails flowing in a single direction according to their intension.
The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.

  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
  • > 50%
  • < 50%
Trail Ridden Direction

The intendid direction a trail should be ridden.

  • Downhill Only
  • Downhill Primary
  • Both Directions
  • Uphill Primary
  • Uphill Only
  • One Direction

Trail Difficulties
  • Access Road/Trail
  • White
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Double Black Diamond

Trail Report Status
  • Clear / Green
  • Minor Issue / Yellow
  • Significant Issue / Amber
  • Closed or Major Issue / Red

  • Land Owner Overlay
  • Wilderness (typically no bikes in USA)
  • BLM (public)
  • USFS (Wildlife sanctuaries darker than usfs)
  • State land
  • Indigenous
  • Military
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
  • Map Markers
  • trail Trail Head
  • photo Photo
  • place Directory Listing
  • region Riding Area
  • Parking Parking
  • Viewpoint Viewpoint
  • Information Information
  • Warning Warning
  • Directions Directions
  • Water Fountain/Source Water Fountain/Source
  • Sight Sight
  • Restrooms Restrooms
  • Gate Gate
  • Camping Camping
  • Trail Sign Trail Sign
  • Table or Bench Table or Bench
  • Other Other
      Directions to around-the-misty-range trailhead (50.635120, -115.023590)
      update trails status or condition

      Around the Misty... Trail Reports

      Jan 31, 2017 @ 8:50am
      Jan 31, 2017
      Trail users are currently prohibited from using Sheep Trail as a means of travelling between the Sheep and Elbow valleys, thus cutting off access...
      Sep 26, 2016 @ 11:59am
      Sep 26, 2016
      Major erosion since the 2013 floods. Mist Creek Trail is in really rough shape. Too many horses on the trail in wet conditions = destroyed...
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      6 Months
      • 0 rides
      • 2 rides


      more »
      69 |
      Sep 5, 2017 @ 8:08am
      Sep 5, 2017
      Around the Misty Range
      72 |
      Sep 5, 2017 @ 8:08am
      Sep 5, 2017
      Around the Misty Range
      61 |
      Sep 5, 2017 @ 8:07am
      Sep 5, 2017
      Around the Misty Range
      412 |
      Dec 1, 2015 @ 10:33am
      Dec 1, 2015
      Around the Misty Range

      Routes with this trail

      Elbow Lake trail
      8 miles

      7 Reviews & Comments

      • + 1
      flag tommo17 (Jun 27, 2016 at 9:18)
       Arduous is right! a small group of us took on this challenge yesterday, all solid riders and we spent close to 7 hours on the "trail".

      Elbow pass trail was easy going, with some punchy climbs and nice views.
      Sheep river trail is where things get interesting, most of it is downhill double-track with some river crossings, at km 15 or so the trail is completely flooded out, (zoom in on the Sat image) bushwacking and routefinding along animal trails will slow you down. The gps route must be really old while the Sat imagery shows that the trail is more of a lake.
      Up the Pass was a slog, we attempted the ridge but it didn't look possible, too much elevation between the peaks for it to be accomplished in one day.
      The singletrack down has some nice flow and techy roots. Bear scat every 100m so make lots of noise.

      This trail has the best views in the area, I'm happy to check it off the list and not ride it again for quite some time.

      • + 1
      flag pebeto (Jul 24, 2016 at 8:38)
       24/07/2016: 2 of us rode this trail yesterday. Sadly, I can only confirm the above. Trail to the pass hard to find at the coal pile. It is on the right side of the creek bed! Take your time to find it...... We headed up left and ended up bushwasking to the pass. Horrible....We did not attempt the ridge route and the downhill was enjoyable, as described above.....
      • + 1
      flag toowheeler (Sep 18, 2016 at 8:43)
       I prefer this ride from South to North. You can ride all the climb from Misty Creek Parking to the Pass, then the ride down to the Sheep Valley is a run steep pitch.

      Works great as a loop parking at Little Elbow and riding the highway over the Pass to Misty Creek.

      Don't forget to check the K Country website for possible closure of the Sheep River Trail through private Property.
      • + 1
      flag cbdtvm (Sep 26, 2016 at 12:04)
       Rode a modified version of this trail in a loop configuration. Start at Mist Creek parking lot, ride of Mist Creek Trail to its junction with Mist Ridge Trail. Stay right and continue the long ride on Mist Ridge trail to its connection with Mist Creek trail at the top of Rickerts Pass. From here, descend down Mist Creek Trial as usual. A long day with amazing vistas while high on Mist Ridge.
      • + 1
      flag racerfacer (Sep 5, 2017 at 7:59)
       GPS track is pretty bang on for this one. As mentioned above, there are about 3-4km of badly washed out section of trail along the Sheep river. Lots of on and off, up and down riverbanks, and even had to walk down the middle of a creek for a bit. Rickert's pass is on the climber's right side of the creek at the coal pile. I picked up a trail on the left side, and it was not the right one. The descent down Mist creek is amazing and made it all worth it. Next time, though, I'll try via Mist ridge!
      • + 1
      flag getitdunn (Aug 3, 2018 at 16:03)
       We rode the Mist Ridge south to north last August (Aug 2017) and then hung a right at the north end of the ridge and dropped down into Mist Creek trail and took that back to the start - which was the Mist Creek day use/parking lot on Hwy 40. The "left hander" drop down to Mist Creek begins at an obvious notch in the ridge where you'll see a wooden cross. The now-closed Sheep Valley Trail drops down to the east - don't go there, go down the left (West) side all the way down to Mist Creek.

      We were able to ride 80-90% of the ridge itself - with a few hike-a-bike sections. Definitely some technical rocky sections along the ridge. Some could be avoided, but why would ya? All -in-all, we were about 4.5 hours for the loop, 1200m climbing and 27 kms in length. Superb day out. Bring snacks.
      • + 1
      flag Apfelsauce (Aug 6, 2018 at 7:31)
       In case it’s not clear already...this trail is closed for a reason. It’s not official, and there’s no signage indicating anything from the Elk Lakes side. But about halfway from the Elk Lakes/Tombstone split to the “coal pile,” the Misty Ridge trail is completely obliterated. I don’t think it was the 2013 floods, but something more recent. Expect a minimum of 90 minutes using all your route-finding wherewithal to get from the first “stream crossing” (actually thigh-deep and fifteen meters across) to the coal pile. Following the creek is the best option, but you will spend most of your time carrying your bike, up to your knees in very cold water.

      I turned down Sheep River Road at the coal pile, so I can’t comment on the rest. But I cannot recommend this trail to anyone but the hardiest idiots.

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