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The Real Banff / Published: Thu, 04/08/2021 - 20:08

Banff and Lake Louise for Every Kind of Cyclist

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Balanced on two wheels, the force of your own feet propels you forward as you bend the air around you.

The wind combs through the wisps of your hair poking out from below your helmet, the trees blur as you whip past, and whatever allures you—the thrill of the ride or a pint at the finish line—beckons you onward.

This is what it is like to park your car and explore Banff and Lake Louise by bicycle or e-bike. 

Sightseeing

Does a full day of exploring and not waiting in the car sound too good to be true? What about if you add in some scenery and a basket filled with fresh-out-of-the-oven rolls and deserts for a picnic? Dreams really do come true but to make it happen, you’ll want to travel by bicycle. 

Banff is easier to get around on a bike rather than a car since there are plenty of paved trail systems and only a few main arteries for vehicles. 

So grab your bike, pick up the fixings for a picnic at a local bakery or café in town and enjoy a leisurely cycle on the Fenland Trail towards Vermillion Lakes. Find a little more seclusion, and perhaps an opportunity to see some elk early in the morning, when you cycle the Banff Springs Golf Club loop

Rather put yourself in expert hands? Join White Mountain Adventures or Banff Cycle for an e-bike townsite tour. They’ll know just which pub to drop you off at once the day is done, too!

Mt. Rundle looming over the town of Banff

Road Biking 

Voted some of the most scenic roads in the world, Banff and Lake Louise views will not disappoint—and you can actually enjoy them on an open-air bike ride. 

Clip into your pedals and warm up with a quick trip to Canmore on the Legacy Trail (22.3 km one way). Should that be enough for one day, hop on the Roam bus for a ride back to Banff; just be prepared that there might not be enough room for bicycles and you may need to pedal back. Private transfers can also be arranged when you book with a tour guide like White Mountain Adventures.

Ready to really get your kilometres in? Take the Bow Valley Parkway from Castle Junction to Johnston Canyon (12.8 km return) for a shorter trip, from Banff Train Station Public Parking to Johnston Canyon (49 km return) for a longer trip, or go all the way to Lake Louise (114.8 km return) for a true test of your long-distance stamina!

If you're lacking confidence or just lazy, but still want this experience, try an e-bike. You'll be leading the pack and breezing up the hills but without the huffing and puffing.

Parks Canada has made your trip easier by closing the eastern section of the Bow Valley Parkway, from Fireside day-use area to Castle Junction, to vehicles. They’ve done the same for the Minnewanka Loop from May 1 - 20 between Monday - Thursday, meaning there are more car-free routes to explore in 2021!

However, if these suggestions have you laughing and these trips seem more like a simple warm-up—you may be ready to sink your teeth into something a little more hardcore. If so, book a guided trip with Banff Cycle to do a multi-day ride up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper (287 km one way).

Mountain Biking 

Should the scenery not be appealing enough and you’re looking for a little more oomph—specifically elevation—get your heart pumping with some off-road (but on-trail) mountain biking. 

In Banff, pin it on one of these three trails Tunnel Campground Loop, Cascades Ponds to Bankhead, or Goat Creek Trail towards Canmore.

In Lake Louise, take a leisurely ride on the Bow River Loop or find your flow on a more demanding trail like Pipestone, Ross Lake, or Moraine Lake Highline—just keep an eye out for grizzlies who feed on nearby buffalo berries. 

If you need a confidence boost or want to improve your skills in mountain biking, reach out to Bikescape. They provide the perfect opportunity for most ages and abilities to get out there, ride safely, and have fun.

Biking Tunnel Mountain Banff National Park Noel Hendrickson

Route Planning 

Check out the conditions and closures online to plan your own trip or work with a local tour operator like White Mountain Adventures or Banff Cycle for some expert guidance. 

Bike Rentals

Rent a townie, e-bike, road bike, or mountain bike from one of these outfitters: 

Tours and Programs

If you're not sure about riding on your own or want to improve your skills, check out these options:


​ARE YOU COMING TO BANFF NATIONAL PARK?

Plan ahead before visiting Banff National Park. Reserve shuttlesaccommodation, and restaurants where possible. Purchase your Parks Pass in advance for express entry into the park. 

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Browse and book accommodation and lodging packages with our trip planning tool. To learn about the different types of accommodation available in Banff and Lake Louise, visit our Places to Stay page or Contact Us to speak to a local expert.