Banff

 

Trail Clasifications

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Trail Difficulty

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Trail Information



Banff National Park Biking Classics Logo

Banff National Park features some of Canada's most scenic roadways and trails, making it an exciting destination to explore on two wheels. The Biking CLASSICS featured in this guide will take you through beautiful sub-alpine forest, next to sparkling waters of glacier-fed lakes and under iconic peaks. While there are seemingly limitless options to enjoy, these rides are considered 'classics' and not to be missed. Cyclists of all kinds, from those content to pedal along scenic roads to mountain enthusiasts eager to tackle a rocky, root-laden singletrack, will surely be inspired. Go out for a quick spin or pack up your panniers for a longer tour; there's a perfect bike ride awaiting you in Canada's flagship national park.

Legacy Trail East

TypeRoad
ClassificationEasy
Distance26 km
Starting PointVermilion Lakes
DescriptionWith 26 kilometres of paved trails and roadways, breathtaking views and picnic areas along the way, the Banff Legacy Trail is a superb option for families and cyclists of all levels of experience. From the Town of Banff, the Banff Legacy Trail provides cyclists with two options: heading East toward the Banff National Park gates, a route which parallels the TransCanada Highway and spectacular Mount Rundle, or heading West along Vermilion Lakes to link up with the Bow Valley Parkway.
Canada Alberta Banff


Legacy Trail West

TypeRoad
ClassificationEasy
Distance26 km
Starting PointCascade Ponds, East end of Banff Avenue
Description With 26 kilometres of paved trails and roadways, breathtaking views and picnic areas along the way, the Banff Legacy Trail is a superb option for families and cyclists of all levels of experience. From the Town of Banff, the Banff Legacy Trail provides cyclists with two options: heading East toward the Banff National Park gates, a route which parallels the TransCanada Highway and spectacular Mount Rundle, or heading West along Vermilion Lakes to link up with the Bow Valley Parkway.
Canada Alberta Banff


Tunnel Bench Loop

TypeMountain
ClassificationModerate
Distance5.7 km loop
Starting PointHoodoos Lookout Parking Lot or Tunnel Mountain Campground
Description One of Banff ’s most popular rides, the Tunnel Bench Loop contours the top of Tunnel Mountain and offers fantastic views of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain. Great for all levels, this entry-level singletrack can be ridden in either direction. Some vertical exposure provides a bit of excitement, which is easily averted by walking your bike. Extend your ride by linking this trail with The Toe or the Bow Falls – Hoodoos Trail.
Canada Alberta Banff


The Toe

TypeMountain
ClassificationDifficult
Distance7.9 km loop
Starting PointHoodoos Parking Lot or Tunnel Mountain Campground
Description The Toe is a winding, narrow single-track that features exceptional views and an exhilarating mix of challenging and exposed technical terrain for intermediate and advanced riders. It offers a great extension to the Tunnel Bench Loop and can be ridden in any direction.
Canada Alberta Banff


Bow Falls - Hoodoos Trail

TypeMountain
ClassificationModerate
Distance4.3 km one way
Starting PointHoodoos Parking Lot or Surprise Corner Parking Lot
Description For incredible views of Mount Rundle and the Bow River, take the Bow Falls - Hoodoo Trail, which offers riders some challenging climbing and descending. This short singletrack can be ridden in both directions, but is best ridden from North to South. Connect this trail with the Tunnel Bench Loop for a longer ride.
Canada Alberta Banff


Lake Minnewanka

TypeMountain
ClassificationDifficult
Distance24.9 km one way
Starting PointLake Minnewanka Day-use Area, kiosk at far end of Picnic Area
Description A local favourite, the Lake Minnewanka Trail skirts along the scenic shoreline of Banff National Park’s largest lake. This narrow singletrack is punctuated by some technical sections that are sure to get your heart pumping. Important Note:Due to wildlife activity, bikes are not permitted on this trail between July 10 and September 15
Canada Alberta Banff


Lake Minnewanka Road

TypeRoad
ClassificationModerate
Distance13.1 km loop
Starting PointCascade Ponds, Lake Minnewanka Day-use Area, or the Banff Legacy Trail
Description If you’re up for panoramic views and some fun hills, the Lake Minnewanka Road is a great option. This two-lane road is the gateway to many popular attractions, including Cascade Ponds, Bankhead, Two Jack Lake, Johnson Lake and, of course, Lake Minnewanka. Connect this ride with Tunnel Mountain Drive for a truly exhilarating route.
Canada Alberta Banff


Tunnel Mountain Drive

TypeRoad
ClassificationModerate
Distance10.7 km loop
Starting PointCentral Park Parking Lot, west end of Buffalo Street
Description Tunnel Mountain Drive is an intermediate road biking option that contours the “Sleeping Buffalo” of Tunnel Mountain and offers great views due to its elevation. This ride can be accessed right from Buffalo Street in Banff before it begins to climb around the backside of Tunnel Mountain. To extend this outstanding ride further, connect with the Banff Legacy Trail or Lake Minnewanka Road.
Canada Alberta Banff


Bow Valley Parkway

TypeRoad
ClassificationModerate
Distance31 km Banff to Castle Junction
Starting PointTrans-Canada Highway, 5.5 km west of the Mt. Norquay overpass and Banff Legacy Trail (West), or mid-point from Castle Junction
Description Beginning in Banff, the Bow Valley Parkway winds its way through forest with open views of the Bow River and impressive peaks such as Castle Mountain. This active wildlife corridor offers many interpretive exhibits, trailheads for hiking, picnic areas and campgrounds. Amenities are available at Castle Junction, located mid-point between Lake Louise and Banff. The entire Bow Valley Parkway makes for an outstanding roundtrip from Banff.
Canada Alberta Banff


Sundance

TypeMountain
ClassificationEasy
Distance3.6 km one way
Starting PointCave and Basin National Historic Site
Description This paved trail is perfect for families with kids and bike trailers as it winds along the Bow River and climbs gently to the Sundance Canyon picnic area, where you can explore a lovely creekside hiking trail. Sundance is popular with hikers.
Canada Alberta Banff


Healy Creek

TypeMountain
ClassificationEasy
Distance4.9 km one way
Starting PointBranches off Sundance Trail
Description This gravel double track winds and dips its way through the forest, eventually coming alongside Healy Creek before ending at the Sunshine Road, near the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH). Riders can return to Banff via the TCH, but are advised to be extremely cautious on this busy highway. Healy Creek is used by commercial horse traffic and is not recommended in wet conditions.
Canada Alberta Banff


Spray River Loop

TypeMountain
ClassificationEasy
Distance11.3 km loop
Starting PointFairmont Banff Springs or the Bow Falls Parking Lot
Description This winding, rolling gravel double track can be ridden as a loop in either direction or as an out-and-back from either trailhead. Choose your own adventure! The trail parallels the rushing Spray River. Great as a family outing and picnic near the bridge. Be sure to yield to horses.
Canada Alberta Banff


Tunnel Campground Loop

TypeMountain
ClassificationEasy
Distance3.5 km one way
Starting PointTunnel Mountain Campground
Description Perfect for beginners and children, this is a very simple, entry-level trail that forms a large loop around Tunnel Mountain Campground. There are many places to stop and rest. Be sure to watch out for strolling campers, elk, deer and coyote. NOTE: sections of this trail may be under construction during the summer of 2011.
Canada Alberta Banff


Brewster Creek Trail

TypeMountain
ClassificationModerate
Distance8.6 km one way
Starting PointCave and Basin National Historic Site or Sunshine Road
Description Ride the Sundance trail (1) and/or to the Healy Creek road (2) until you get to the Brewster Creek trail. This trail is a double track that climbs steadily up the Brewster Creek valley to the Sundance Lodge (service for guests only). The ride to the lodge is not suitable for beginners and is a 21 km return trip. Brewster Creek is used by commercial horse traffic and is not recommended in wet conditions.
Canada Alberta Banff


Spray River and Goat Creek

TypeMountain
ClassificationModerate
Distance18.7 km one way
Starting PointFairmont Banff Springs
Description This popular, rolling double track follows the Spray River for 10 km before reaching the easy-to-miss turn that veers off on the left just past the base of a short downhill section. Fork left, then head down over the bridge. From there it rises gradually along the lower slopes of Mount Rundle, ending at the Smith-Dorrien Road parking lot above Canmore. Alternatively, arrange for a shuttle and ride the trail in reverse for a long, gentle cruise to Banff.
Canada Alberta Banff


Cascade

TypeMountain
ClassificationModerate
Distance14.6 km one way
Starting PointUpper Bankhead Parking Lot
Description This former fire road is a gravel double track that opens with a sustained climb. It travels into the wilds of the Cascade Valley, through prime bear habitat. Cycling ends at the remote Stoney Creek primitive campground.
Canada Alberta Banff


Lower Stoney Squaw

TypeMountain
ClassificationModerate
Distance4.9 km one way
Starting PointMt. Norquay Ski Area Parking Lot
Description This is a great trail for intermediate riders to work on their technical skills. Ride past the day lodge and down the ski area service road for 1.4 km. Watch closely on the right for a sign indicating the entrance. The steep side hill nature of the trail features many rough and rocky sections, and drops continuously to the highway. Watch for bears and horses on this fast, technical descent. Be sure to close the fence gate.
Canada Alberta Banff


Redearth

TypeMountain
ClassificationModerate
Distance10 km one way
Starting PointRedearth Creek Parking Lot
Description This former fire road provides bike access to some very scenic backcountry hiking near the Great Divide. Bring a lock, as you must leave your bike at the end of the road. Popular hiking destinations include Shadow Lake Lodge, Shadow Lake, and Egypt Lake.
Canada Alberta Banff


Water Tower Trail

TypeMountain
ClassificationModerate
Distance3.8 km one way
Starting PointCascade Ponds Day-use Area or Johnson Lake Day Use Area
Description This trail begins at the northeast corner of Cascade Ponds, crosses a small creek, and climbs up an almost impossible-to-ride-up set of steps (prepare for significant hike-a-bike). The remainder of the trail to the water tower is a sweet single track that dips and turns its way along the edge of the escarpment above the Trans-Canada Highway. Views of the Bow Valley and its iconic mountains, Rundle and Cascade, are spectacular. From the water tower, it’s worth your while to continue along a short section of gravel road leading to Johnson Lake. This trail is easily ridden as an out and back from either end.
Canada Alberta Banff


Rundle Riverside

TypeDifficult
ClassificationMountain
Distance13.9 km one way
Starting PointBanff Golf Course Road (kiosk at far end)
Description Intermediate and advanced riders may relish the challenge of this rocky, rough roller coaster linking Banff and Canmore. Eight kilometers of rooted single track give way to 6 km of double track approaching the Canmore Nordic Center. Full suspension is recommended. Be prepared with a repair kit; the remoteness of this trail may be an issue if you get into trouble.
Canada Alberta Banff


Upper Stoney Squaw Loop

TypeMountain
ClassificationDifficult
Distance4.1 km loop
Starting PointImmediate right at Mt. Norquay Ski Hill Parking Lot
Description This narrow, technically difficult, rooted little trail climbs, at times steeply, through thick forest to the summit of Mt. Stoney Squaw. If you can “clean” this trail you’re a rock star! Enjoy a snack and a well-deserved rest at the viewpoint, with astonishing views of Cascade Mountain and the Bow Valley beyond. From there, continue north and descend a rocky, twisting technical trail back to the old ski runs above the Mt. Norquay day lodge.
Canada Alberta Banff


Canada Alberta Banff

Golf Course Drive

TypeRoad
ClassificationEasy
Distance10.9 km
Starting PointBow Falls Parking Lot
Description Cross the bridge over the Spray River at the end of the parking lot, and you’re off. Perfect for a family outing, this road winds gently along the golf course before it loops back. This is a peaceful road with lovely views over the Bow River and surrounding peaks. Watch for one section that is quite rough. You will pass the kiosk for the Rundle Riverside (6) trail near the far end of the loop.


Vermilion Lakes Drive

TypeRoad
ClassificationEasy
Distance4.3 km on way
Starting PointOff Mt. Norquay Road, south of the Trans-Canada Highway
Description The Vermilion Lakes are a series of three shallow lakes surrounded by marshland – a rich oasis for wildlife. The ride along this narrow road provides classic views of Banff’s signature peak, Mount Rundle. There are small docks where you can relax with a snack and enjoy the view.
Canada Alberta Banff


Sunshine Road

TypeRoad
ClassificationDifficult
Distance8.2 km one way
Starting PointSunshine Ski Area Road, 7 km west of Banff on the Trans-Canada Highway
Description The Sunshine Road begins its steady rise almost immediately, and offers a few steep ramps along the way to its termination at the Bourgeau parking lot, at the base of the Sunshine gondola. Vehicular traffic is moderate in the summer months, but be aware as the road is narrow throughout its length. Watch for bears along this twisty mountain road.
Canada Alberta Banff