Road rides in the Banff area

Banff National Park

Important information:

Road rides in the Banff area:

Trail Distance
 Sundance Trail 3.7 km one way
 Tunnel Campground Loop 6.4 km loop
 Banff Legacy Trail 29 km one way
 Golf Course Drive 10.9 km loop
  Vermilion Lakes Drive  4.3 km one way
 Lake Minnewanka Road  13.1 km loop
 Tunnel Mountain Drive/Road  10.7 km loop
 Bow Valley Parkway (Banff to Lake Louise)  57.5 km one way
 Mount Norquay Road  6.1 km one way
 Mountain Avenue  3.4 km one way
 Sunshine Village Access Road (Trans-Canada Highway to Sunshine Village parking lot)  8.2 km one way

Elevations are an approximate to give riders an idea of what to expect on each route. Elevations are calculated as the total amount of elevation gained and the total amount of elevation lost (all the ups and downs) over the entire distance of an out-and-back trail or a loop. 

 Family Friendly Rides 

Sundance Trail

3.7 km one way
Elevation gain 75 m, elevation loss 60 m
Starting Point: 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. To experience the canyon, bring a bike lock.
Tunnel Campground Loop

6.4 km loop
Elevation gain 70 m
Starting Point: Tunnel Mountain Campground

Perfect for beginners and children, this simple trail forms a large loop around Tunnel Mountain Campground. Wider tires are best for this loose gravel trail and there are many places to stop and rest. Be sure to watch out for strolling campers, elk, deer and coyotes.

Banff Legacy Trail

29 km one way
Elevation gain 24 m, elevation loss 113 m
Starting Points: 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.

 Easy Rides

Golf Course Drive

10.9 km loop
Elevation gain 68 m, elevation loss 68 m
Starting Point: Bow Falls parking area

Cross the bridge over the Spray River at the end of the parking area, 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. While close to town, be alert – wildlife also enjoy this area. 

Vermilion Lakes Drive

4.3 km one way
Mostly flat
Starting Point: Fenland day-use area, paved trail to Vermilion Lakes Drive

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 benches, bike racks and small docks where you can relax with a snack and enjoy the view. Connector: Banff Legacy Trail to the Bow Valley Parkway.

 Moderate Rides

Lake Minnewanka Road

13.1 km loop
Elevation gain 160 m, elevation loss 160 m
Starting Points: Cascade Ponds and Lake Minnewanka day-use area or the Banff Legacy Trail

Lake Minnewanka Road is popular with cyclists and offers a pleasant ride through varied terrain, with panoramic views and many attractions including Cascade Ponds, Bankhead, Lake Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake. This narrow road can be busy, so ride with caution and be on the lookout for bighorn sheep on the slopes above Two Jack Lake. Connector: Banff Legacy Trail.

Tunnel Mountain Drive/Road

10.7 km loop
Elevation gain 180 m, elevation loss 180 m
Starting Point: Central Park parking area, West end of Buffalo Street

Start by heading east on Buffalo Street, rising gently past Surprise Corner with its extraordinary view over Bow Falls and the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs. Continue climbing and bending around its lower slopes to join the Tunnel Mountain Road. Turn right (East) and pass the campgrounds for incredible viewpoints before you drop back down to the Banff Legacy Trail. Go left into town, or right towards Lake Minnewanka. Elk and deer are common along this narrow roadway.

Bow Valley Parkway

57.5 km one way (Banff to Lake Louise)
Elevation gain 340 m, elevation loss 177 m
Starting Points: From downtown Banff, access the trail via Vermillion Lakes Drive and the Banff Legacy Trail or begin at Fireside (49 km one way).

The Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A) ride is a classic, gently rising and falling as it meanders through the Bow Valley to Castle Junction, and beyond to Lake Louise. On your trip, stop and enjoy the many picnic areas and rest stops along the way. From Banff ride this narrow road to Johnson Canyon (50 km return), Castle Junction (65 km return), Baker Creek (90 km return) or Lake Louise (115 km return). Whatever your route, wildlife sightings are common, so keep a look out and be prepared.

In the spring and fall, vehicle use will be restricted along a 17 km stretch of the eastern portion of the Bow Valley Parkway to allow for an motorist-free cycling pilot.

 Difficult Rides

Mount Norquay Road

6.1 km one way
Elevation gain 327 m, elevation loss 12 m
Starting Point: Mount Norquay Road, on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway

This challenging climb up the mountain rewards riders with a spectacular panoramic view of the town of Banff and surrounding Bow Valley. The Norquay Green Spot Viewpoint opens onto a grassy slope – a great place to stop for a picnic lunch or for photos. From the viewpoint, the road continues up to the Mount Norquay ski area. Watch out for Bighorn Sheep on or near the road and the sharp turns, especially on the way down.

Mountain Avenue

3.4 km one way
Elevation gain 214 m, elevation loss 32 m
Starting Point: Mountain Avenue, on the south side of the Banff Avenue Bridge

This route is a gradual, but continuous climb ending at the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Gains in elevation from the valley bottom provide riders with exceptional views of the Bow Valley and the rugged profile of Mount Rundle. Mountain Avenue offers ample width for riders, however, vehicular traffic is heavier during the summer.

Sunshine Village Access Road

8.2 km one way
Elevation gain 271 m, no elevation loss
Starting Point: Sunshine Ski Area Road, 7 km west of Banff on the Trans-Canada Highway

The Sunshine Road begins its steady rise almost immediately, and offers a few steep ramps along the way to its termination at the ski area parking at the base of the Sunshine gondola. Vehicular traffic is moderate in the summer months, but be aware as the road is narrow and twisty throughout its length. Watch for wildlife.


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