The Best Biking Trails in Banff

7 Aug 2020

The Best Biking Trails in Banff

The Best Biking Trails in Banff

Author: banff  /  Categories: Activities, Environment, Banff  / 

Explore Banff National Park on two wheels. No cars and surrounded by nature with beautiful views of lakes, creeks and mountains. Take your cycling beyond the ordinary and make it an exhilarating experience. See below a list of trails from beginner to advanced.

For Beginners / Families

If you have never been mountain biking, or you are taking kids along, you should try a trail that is accessible to people of all skill levels.

Sundance Trail

3.7 km one way
Elevation gain 75 m, elevation loss 60 m
Trailhead: Cave and Basin National Historic Site 

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. To experience the canyon, bring a bike lock. Connector: Healy Creek. 

Cascade Ponds

29 km one way
Elevation gain 24 m, elevation loss 113 m
Trailheads: Valleyview, Cascade Ponds, Vermilion Lakes and Fireside day-use areas or east end of Banff Avenue

The Banff Legacy Trail offers cyclists, runners, roller skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts 29 km of paved trails and roadways with breathtaking views, rest stops and picnic areas. The trail connects the Bow Valley Parkway with the Town of Banff, Cascade Ponds, the Banff East Gate and the Town of Canmore. This three-season trail is typically snow-free and ridable from April to October. An absolute must.

Banff Legacy Trail

29 km one way
Elevation gain 24 m, elevation loss 113 m
Trailheads: Valleyview, Cascade Ponds, Vermilion Lakes and Fireside day-use areas or east end of Banff Avenue

The Banff Legacy Trail offers cyclists, runners, roller skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts 29 km of paved trails and roadways with breathtaking views, rest stops and picnic areas. The trail connects the Bow Valley Parkway with the Town of Banff, Cascade Ponds, the Banff East Gate and the Town of Canmore. This three-season trail is typically snow-free and ridable from April to October. An absolute must.


For Intermediate Riders

If you have some mountain biking under your belt, you might want to challenge yourself and step up from an easy trail.

Tunnel Bench Loop Trail

9.7 km loop 
Elevation gain 60 m
Trailheads: Hoodoos parking area or Tunnel Mountain Campground

Typically ridden clockwise, this popular loop connects The Spine, Coastline, Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Don’s Bypass to make a winding and varied entry-level singletrack with minimal elevation gain. Take in the spectacular views of iconic Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain as well as the Fairholme Range. Be aware that some sections have significant vertical exposure. If you are uncomfortable, be sure to walk your bike. Connector: The Toe and Hoodoos to Surprise Corner.

Surprise Corner Trail

4.8 km one way
Elevation gain 115 m, elevation loss 90 m
Trailheads: Hoodoos or Surprise Corner parking area

Can be enjoyed in both directions but best ridden north to south. This trail offers an exhilarating experience with some steep climbing and descending. The route has spectacular views of Mount Rundle, a short section along a braid of the Bow River, and a short hike-a-bike section at a set of stairs.

Lake Minnewanka

29.4 km one way
Elevation gain 45 m, elevation loss 35 m
Trailhead: Lake Minnewanka day-use area, kiosk at far end of picnic area

Don’t let the gentle opening of this iconic ride fool you; the physical demands and the remoteness of this trail require excellent fitness, bike handling skills and preparation. The challenging and at times exposed sidehill trail climbs steeply out of Stewart Canyon and heads east on a rollicking single track towards the park boundary at Devil’s Gap. Destinations include the Aylmer Pass junction (16 km return) and the Warden’s Cabin (32 km return). This is a popular hiking trail, so mountain bikers should aim for weekday rides in May/June and September/October. NOTE: Trail is closed to cycling between July 10 and September 15.


For Experienced Riders

Get an amazing view of Mt. Rundle, Mt. Norquay and Stoney Squaw Mountain on these advanced trails that are best suited to experienced riders.

Rundle Riverside

13.9 km one way
Elevation gain 265 m, elevation loss 296 m
Trailhead: Golf Course Road (kiosk at far end)

Intermediate and advanced riders may relish the challenge of this rocky roller coaster trail linking Banff and Canmore. Eight kilometres of rough and rooty singletrack give way to six kilometres of double track approaching the Canmore Nordic Centre. Full suspension is recommended. Be prepared with a repair kit; the remoteness of this trail may be an issue if you get into trouble. Connector: Canmore Nordic Centre (Banff Trail), Spray River and Goat Creek and Golf Course Road.

Lower Stoney 4.2 km one way
Elevation gain 11 m, elevation loss 328 m
Trailhead: Mt. Norquay Ski Area parking lot

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 near the cascade lift for 1.4 km. Watch closely on the right for a sign indicating the entrance. The steep sidehill nature of the trail features many rough and rocky sections, and drops continuously to the highway. Watch for hikers, horses and bears on this fast, technical descent and be sure to close the fence gate. Return to Banff along the Trans-Canada Highway to the Norquay exit. Take extra caution when biking along this busy section of highway.

Upper Stoney Squaw Loop

4.8 km loop
Elevation gain 228 m, elevation loss 243 m
Trailhead: Immediate right at Mt. Norquay Ski Area parking lot

This narrow, technically difficult, rooted little trail climbs, at times steeply, through thick forest to the Stoney Lookout. 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. Connector: Lower Stoney for a challenging, yet easily accessible loop out of the Town of Banff.

 

Need to rent a bike? Visit the Banff Adventures store at 211 Bear Street
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