Highwood Pass in K-country is highest mountain pass reached by paved road (Hwy40) in Canada (2206m, 7239 ft). Road is seasonally closed Dec 1 - Jun 15 past Kananaskis Lakes turnoff (plowing + wildlife reasons). This makes it excellent cycling destination; but window is fairly narrow, due to high altitude; couple of weeks only. I drove that road countless times, but with good weather on June 14, day before re-opening I decided to finally do the ride. It's about 17km & 400m vertical from the gate. Grade is sustained with only couple of brief downhill sections near the start. Final part from Elbow Lake trailhead to the pass is quite steep, But ride down .. wow, you are basically coasting (and occasionally burning brake pads) for 17km, so it is well worth!
Looks like bear(s) were following road too, because every km or so I'd pass by fresh dump. Upon arriving by Elbow Lake trailhead skies turned dark and rumble could be heard; knowing how exposed the Pass is, I decided to wait out potential storm by doing quick walk up to Elbow Lake; this was great call. Really enjoyed total solitude sheltered at Elbow Lake campground. Final cycle to the pass was a grunt, but I made it without pushing. Up there was Park conservation officer, placing red tapes at Ptarmigan Cirque trail; that's one way I guess, open the road, but close the hiking trails ;-) In brief conversation she explained they were doing it for couple of weeks to prevent erosion until snow melts. She also told me previous day (Sunday) there was huge amount of people cycling. What is happening to K-country, once sanctuary of solitude and beauty now getting overrun.
Here are some photos:
[Gate at K-Lakes turnoff; there were lots of cars parked, even if it was Monday]
[Approaching south end of Mt. Pocaterra; road bends to the left here, then curls towards Little Highwood Pass. This is probably the most level part in terms of riding]
[Elbow Lake trailhead; weird to see it without cars. I stashed bike here and went up to the lake, 20-25min only]
[Elbow Lake shore, just below the camp area. Made me a nest under tree and watched fish jumping, then waited brief hailstorm here]
[Elbow Lake pano; there were some snow patches continuing towards Tombstone Pass]
[Beautiful Light walking down from Elbow Lake as air cleared after the storm. Mt. Rae outlier bathed in late afternoon sunlight]
[Final rise to the pass; steeper than it looks here and sustained; apparently steeper than steepest part of Tour De France]
[South side of Highwood Pass, less steep - but longer. Some people cycle from this direction. Of course one way traverse would be the way to go (south - north), but car logistics are quite problematic]
I did this with mtn. bike (only one I have), but road bikes are better. If whole thing interests you, google "Highwood Pass Cycling" there are some quite interesting pages around.