10+ Stops to Make on a 2-Day Lacombe County Bike Trip

Beautiful Lacombe County is in Alberta’s picturesque heartland – roughly halfway between Calgary and Edmonton. The county is home to scenic multi-use trails, mostly quiet backroads, along with a heavy dose of rural charm and exceptionally friendly people.

If you’re after a peaceful escape, I recommend a two-day bike trip in Lacombe County with stops in Lacombe and Bentley, Aspen Beach Provincial Park, and at a host of local businesses along the way.

You’ll find much to love in Lacombe County. From my experience, I recommend you pack an empty bike pannier, so you can fill it with local produce, honey, candles and other treasures you find from exploring Lacombe County.

For those of you living in the Calgary – Edmonton corridor, I think you’ll find Lacombe County to be a convenient getaway. Apart from traditional rural scenes dominated by farmland, cycle past both small and large lakes, beaches, and through woodlands. Plan to stop at local cafes or one the many farmer’s markets to refuel.

There are several options for overnight stays including a couple of camping options. If you need a roof over your head and a hot shower, there are several hotels to choose from.

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Getting started on the Lacombe County Trail just outside of Blackfalds

My Lacombe County 2-day bike ride

I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of multi-use trails in Lacombe County. The well-signed Trans-Canada Trail, between Blackfalds and Lacombe showcases the diverse landscapes you’ll find in the county including ponds, lakes, farmer’s fields and neighbourhoods.

Another short (6 km) multi-use trail stretches from Aspen Beach Provincial Park to Bentley. It’s especially good for any cyclist camping in the park. What an easy way to enjoy a car-free visit to Bentley ! The trail includes a scenic stretch of boardwalk overlooking Gull Lake.

There will be times you have to cycle short stretches of highway or country roads in Lacombe County – but all have good shoulders.

I ended up on some dirt roads by mistake. They were quiet, but when a vehicle passed, I was enveloped in a cloud of dust. My advice – stick to the paved roads.

There was one short stretch of road leading up to Highway 2 and the on-off ramps leading to Calgary and Edmonton where you must cycle beside a barrier. It’s a tad dodgy as there is no shoulder whatsoever. Exercise extreme caution for the 30 seconds it will take you to get through it. I found that everywhere else on my Lacombe County bike tour was completely fine.

If you like dust and tough biking, choose one of the quiet dirt roads – otherwise avoid them

Day 1 biking in Lacombe County

On my first day of biking in Lacombe County, I put up with 50 km per hour wind gusts – not ideal as you can appreciate, especially I had to bike 30 kilometres to the Gull Lake Honey Company where I planned to spend the night. But where there’s a will, there’s a way – even if it’s a dusty way.

Keep an eye out for local farm stands on the back roads

Location map with stops in Lacombe County

Stop #1 biking in Lacombe County – Rose & Holly

I parked my car in Blackfalds for the night at the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Blackfalds (with permission) and cycled all of 600 metres to my first stop in Lacombe County – Rose & Holly.

The owner, Robyn, is smitten with plants (I once had a flower shop in Niagara-on-the-Lake, so I get it) and supporting locally-owned small business. To her credit, the store showcases goods from over 100 local businesses.

Apart from all the plants, I loved her selection of cards, mugs with sayings that made me laugh out loud, jewellery, clothing, kid’s stuff and a hand lotions with catchy names. You could easily spend an hour here and I guarantee you won’t walk out empty-handed.

Don’t miss a stop in Rose & Holly in Blackfalds
You’ll find over 100 artisans and makers showcased at Rose & Holly
Head to Rose & Holly for some retail therapy

Biking from Blackfalds to Lacombe

From Rose & Holly, the plan was to hop on the Trans-Canada Trail (TCT) and cycle to Lacombe. I found TCT trail signage near the intersection of Willow and Westbrooke Roads in Blackfalds.

Once on the Trans-Canada Trail it was straight-forward biking all the way to Lacombe. I stopped numerous times to take photos – and yes even to catch my breath. There were several short, steep hills and with a fully loaded bike, going into the wind, I got a workout.

As you approach Lacombe you need to cycle down residential streets to reach Highway 12. I found another trail parallel to Highway 12 on the south side of the road that took me right up to the complex of buildings that includes a couple of hotels, a Petro-Canada and Tollers Bistro.

Good signage for the Trans-Canada Trail leaving Blackfalds
Biking the Trans-Canada Trail out of Blackfalds
There’s a long history of farming in Lacombe County
Stopping to say hello to a horse across from Kuhnen Park
A nice section of boardwalk to bike between Blackfalds and Lacombe

Stop #2 – Tollers Bistro in Lacombe

Tollers Bistro – named for the owner’s two Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, is located just off Highway 12 as you head west out of Lacombe. A bike path parallel to the busy road takes you most of the way to the restaurant.

The bistro is a great spot to stop for a meal – with lots of burgers, pastas and bowls made with locally sourced ingredients from farmers markets, where possible. They also have quite a pastry selection that you can pack up and take with you, should you need a sugar jolt while cycling.

Delicious mango chicken tacos

Biking from Lacombe to Gull Lake Honey Company

After a delicious meal at Tollers Bistro, and with a piece of cheesecake packed in my bag for dessert later that night, I headed west along Highway 12 past the Highway 2 on and off ramps for Calgary and Edmonton. As I mentioned earlier, this was the only gnarly part of the bike ride in Lacombe County.

I continued west to the first main intersection Range Road 273 (RR273) – which isn’t paved. Don’t make my mistake and continue instead on Highway 12 until you find a road to the right that’s paved. The biking is so much easier on the paved roads and there are good shoulders.

It was slow going for me with lots of deep dirt on RR273, but at least I only saw a few cars. I continued, weaving my way on backroads to reach paved Highway 792. What a treat to roll rather than bounce. From there it was quick and easy biking to reach the Gull Lake Honey Company.

A picturesque landscape with brown fields, vibrant green grass punctuated with dandelions, and a clear blue sky
The entrance to the Gull Lake Honey Company

Stop #3 in Lacombe County – Gull Lake Honey Company

I rolled into Gull Lake Honey Company and was warmly welcomed by Alida Prins. After being shown a place to camp for the night – we got down to business. I wanted to know how she and her husband Lorne had made the transition from working in construction to running a company with 2,400 producing colonies of bees and six full time employees.

A plan to move back to the family farm from Vancouver was fast-forwarded several years when a friend of Lorne’s parents inquired as to whether any of the kids were interested in purchasing a beekeeping operation. The rest as they say is history.

While honey production is essential, the couple have also moved into the business of breeding queens – both to sell and to overwinter so they can replace any of their bee colonies that die.

They also run a farm store – with over 40 local businesses represented – something that came out of COVID when collaboration became more important that competition.

Immediately adjacent to the property is a bison operation run by another family member (I could see the bison herd from my tent). On the property there’s another area with large wire cages that house eight different species of exotic pheasants, along with plenty of hens and roosters. I quite enjoyed an evening visit to see them.

The Gull Lake Honey Company is much more than a place to come to replenish your honey supplies. See the bottom of the blog for links on how to book a night at the farm.

Colourful beehives not in use at Gull Lake Honey
Scenes from the Gull Lake Honey Company

Biking from Gull Lake Honey to Aspen Beach Provincial Park

I woke to sunshine and quiet. The wind was finally gone! By 7 AM I was on my bike, retracing my steps to Highway 792. From there I continued south to reach Highway 12, enjoying the lack of cars on a Saturday morning.

I turned right onto Range Road 282 after just 2 km. There were two stops close together to make – including one for breakfast before I continued another 2 km to reach the provincial park.

Highway 792 in Lacombe County

Stop #4 in Lacombe County – Pik-N-Pak Produce Ltd.

Pik-N-Pak Produce Ltd. may sound like an unusual early morning stop to make, but the store is open 24/7. Another couple were in there making their self-serve purchase while I looked around.

The shop specializes in locally grown greenhouse vegetables that are available year round – but there were plenty of things to complement their offerings.

In the freezer there are pizzas, pot pies, gelato and baked goods. Shelves near the checkout are loaded with relishes, coffees, pickles, flour, honey and a lot more. It’s all self-serve and from what I saw the fresh produce looks amazing. It’s clean and well kept up, and chances are high you won’t see another human.

The entrance to Pik-N-Pak Produce in Gull Lake
At Pik-N-Pack Produce you’ll find local vegetables, fruits, cheese, honey, frozen dishes and more – and it’s open 24 hours a day

Lacombe County Stop #5 – The Wooden Shoe

When I rolled into The Wooden Shoe at about 7:45 AM, the restaurant was buzzing. Seems, this is a popular place with the local crowd. In fact, one group of 10 meets twice a week for cards, coffee and breakfast.

From the outside it doesn’t look like it would do a hopping business. But walk through the doors and you’re greeted with smiling faces, a great selection of grocery items, including lots of Dutch imports, along with the restaurant that opens daily at 6 AM.

We’re not talking fancy here – but you can order breakfast all day! There are Dutch specialties on the menu should you be looking for lunch or dinner along with the usual burgers, fries and sandwiches. When I cycled past later in the day, it looked like the parking lot was filled with the ice cream crowd. This is a local hot spot in Lacombe County you shouldn’t miss.

Appearances are deceiving. The Wooden Shoe is a busy spot with a huge number of regulars dropping in for meals.
I cycled 30 minutes from Gull Lake Honey in Lacombe County to have breakfast at The Wooden Shoe

Stop #5 – Kayakomat in Aspen Beach Provincial Park

After breakfast the plan was to go kayaking on Gull Lake. As I cycled into Aspen Beach Provincial Park, I couldn’t miss the Kayakomat signage from afar. It’s an automated, self-service business with locations all over Europe in addition to multiple locations in Ontario and Alberta.

It’s quite the business model. All I had to do as I stood in front of the kayaks was log onto the Kayakomat site, find Aspen Beach Provincial Park in the location menu, and pick a date and a time for a kayak rental. After entering my credit card details, I was sent a code that unlocked a kayak. It took me less than a minute. The kayak rental includes a PFD and a kayak paddle attached to a leash.

After locking up my bike and stashing my valuables in the hatches, I dragged the kayak to the water’s edge. Gull Lake is very shallow here, so I had to wade to find a place that was deep enough to paddle. From there I enjoyed a mellow 90 minutes of paddling – enjoying the breeze, the bird life and simply being on the water.

Rent kayaks via your phone on the shore of Gull Lake in Lacombe County
I locked my bike and stuffed my valuables into the kayak – and then enjoyed a beautiful morning paddle on Gull Lake
Easy kayaking on Gull Lake – and so easy to organize with Kayakomat

Biking from Aspen Beach Provincial Park to Bentley

After kayaking, I hopped back on my bike and headed for Bentley. While kayaking I had spotted the boardwalk but didn’t appreciate that it was part of the trail to Bentley. To reach it you must bike through the campground close to the water. There is signage so it’s all obvious.

I wish the boardwalk went on forever. What a lovely part of the bike ride it was. It ends in a campground and from there you’ll have to do a little sleuthing and asking around to find the trail to Bentley. On the return, it’s easy but the section in the campground is not as well signed as it should be.

Once out of the campground look for the trail that parallels 50th Avenue. Cycle past farmland, crossing the occasional road on route to Bentley. It’s only 6 km long, so you’ll be there in 20 minutes!

Pick up the Gull Lake Trail in Aspen Beach Provincial Park – and cycle off road all the way to Bentley
The multi-use trail I biked from Aspen Beach Provincial Park to Bentley
Welcome to the Town of Bentley

Stop #6 – The Murals of Bentley

There are two fabulous murals in Bentley – one you can’t miss if you’re on main street and planning to shop at Merry’s Mercantile. What a difference a little colour makes to the building.

The other mural is just a block and a bit off the main street at the Bentley Municipal Library. I think it makes the library come alive.

Mural on the Merry’s Mercantile building
Take a walk by the Bentley Municipal Library to see this mural

Stop #7 in Lacombe County – The Drop Coffee & Tea Shop

Don’t miss a stop at The Drop Coffee & Tea Shop. It’s the perfect place to relax with a latte and one of their freshly made baked goods – though they also offer premade salads and sandwiches.

The Drop Coffee & Tea Shop in Bentley is a great place to refuel and offers both indoor and outdoor seating

Stop #8 in Lacombe County – Bentley Cycle

Bentley Cycle offers an impressive selection of bikes, accessories, vehicle racks, bike parts and bike apparel. An onsite service shop will be welcome news to anyone with a pressing bike problem.

In chatting with the owner, I was wowed by how much of the business they do is related to ebikes – around 50%. They only carry reputable brands – Cube, Electra, and Trek – something to keep in mind when you’re shopping. She tells me they can’t fix any of the less expensive Chinese-made bikes for insurance reasons.

Not into bikes? That’s okay. Head upstairs and check out The Weekender a women’s clothing store.

An incredible selection of both ebikes and regular bikes at Bentley Cycle Inc.

Stop #9 – Merry’s Mercantile

According to Merry Kuchle – the owner of Merry’s Mercantile, the idea behind the store is that “it’s a one stop shop where tourists can find something, anything to take home.

It’s not hard to find something you need or want in Merry’s Mercantile – and I’m not a big shopper. The store is filled to the brim with a mix of antiques, vintage and new items. You’ll find women’s clothing, bath and beauty products, furniture, home decor products, cards, and a whole lot more. I can’t imagine counting inventory at year-end!

It’s one of those rare shops that really is worth the drive from Red Deer, Calgary or Edmonton.

Merry’s Mercantile is an a friendly place with a great mix of old and new merchandise – impressive for a town of 1,000!
Merry’s Mercantile is packed to the gills with everything from clothes to cards, antiques and home decor items

Stop #10 – Queen Bea Clothing Marketplace

Shoppers who love clothing made from natural fibres will want to make a beeline to Queen Bea Clothing Marketplace. In business for 10 years, owner Sheila Kelba-Warawa states that 90% of the clothing and accessories in the store is made with natural fibres. She also states that “she chooses Fair Trade and Canadian designers where possible.

You can’t miss her location on the main street. Good luck leaving empty-handed.

The compelling entrance to Queen Bea Clothing Marketplace
A great selection of natural fibre clothing and accessories at Queen Bea Clothing Marketplace

Stop #11 – Cabin-ish Custom Wood Works

You’ll find Cabin-ish Custom Wood Works – a garden furniture shop, at the western end of Bentley. If you’re in the market for rustic outdoor swings, rockers, chairs or tables, you’ll need to return with your car. Birdhouses though you could pack on your bike.

You’ll mostly find wooden chairs and swings at Cabin-ish Custom Wood Works but you could pack one of these colourful bird houses on your bike

Bentley Farmer’s Market – Stop #12 in Lacombe County

The Bentley Farmer’s Market runs on Saturday from 2 – 4 PM staring the May long weekend until the September long weekend. It’s one of the must dos in Lacombe County.

There’s a lot of breadth as to what is offered including perennials and annuals, homemade beef jerky, flavoured meads from Grey Owl Meadery, Sylvan Star Cheese, vodka and gin from White Lightning Distillery, my personal fave – poppy seed cake, beer from Snake Lake Brewing Company, along with plenty of fresh treats like churros and baked goods. There’s an inside market too with clothing, jewelry, candles and gourmet food companies.

Your extra pannier will come in handy here.

There’s lots to choose from at the Bentley Farmers Market in Lacombe County

The bike ride back to Blackfalds

After spending a few hours in Bentley, I simply retraced my steps – save for the Gull Lake Honey detour, all the way back to Blackfalds. Without stops, it took me just over two hours.

Biking through Lacombe County is a unique and fun way to experience this part of Alberta.

Where to overnight in Lacombe County while biking

If you’re interested in camping in Lacombe Country, you’ll find a couple of options.

Gull Lake Honey Farm

I camped on the deck at the back of a building at Gull Lake Honey Farm. As you can see, it was nothing fancy, but I did enjoy a view over to a field full of bison. I had access to flush toilets, hot water – and I could have had a shower but I passed.

Be sure to wander the property after hours as there is an area filled with hens, roosters and eight types of exotic pheasants that are quite a sight to see.

You can book a stay with them through HipCamp, Harvest Hosts and Terego.

I put up my tent on a deck at the back of the Gull Lake Honey building

Aspen Beach Provincial Park

There is loads of camping – much of it close to the beach in Aspen Lake Provincial Park. There are firepits, showers, flush toilet, tap water and you can purchase firewood. Book online up to 90 days ahead of time. There are tent only campsites available too.

One of the nicely treed campsites I saw in Aspen Beach Provincial Park in Lacombe County

Roofed accommodation in Lacombe County

There are several hotels between Blackfalds and Lacombe.

Rated good is theMicrotel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Blackfalds. A stay comes with a hot breakfast.

In Lacombe, there is theBest Western Plus Lacombe Inn & Suites– rated fabulous.

Travelodge by Wyndham Lacombeis rated very good and comes with breakfast.

Thank you to Lacombe Regional Tourism for hosting my stay. As always, all thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Interested in exploring more of Alberta?

Biking the Dinosaur Trail near Drumheller

Biking Alberta’s Goat Creek Trail from Canmore to Banff

What to See and Do in Kneehill County, Alberta

Horseshoe Canyon Hike Near Drumheller, AB

A Visit to Dry Island Buffalo Jump

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