Some areas in Waterton Lakes National Park are now open to the public after the Kenow Fire. Closures are still in effect for other areas due to safety hazards and infrastructure damage. Please see the up-to-date list of open and closed areas.
On the road
Cycling is a great way to see the park and get some exercise at the same time. Cyclists need to be aware of two major factors while in Waterton - other traffic and strong winds!
The Red Rock Parkway and Akamina Parkway are narrow and do not have shoulders, so use caution when cycling on these roads. The Chief Mountain Highway has wide shoulders and is a good choice for cycling, although be prepared for large hills. Highways 5 and 6 leading out of the park also have wide shoulders and can be very enjoyable.
From November to May, the Red Rock Parkway is closed to motorized vehicles, creating a haven for cyclists - until the snow flies! Along the 15 km journey, rolling grasslands in the Blakiston Valley give way to the dramatic peaks and valleys at Red Rock Canyon.
On the trail
Mountain biking in Waterton Lakes National Park is limited to five trails.
Mountain bikers should yield the trail and be courteous to other trail users. Because bikes travel swiftly and quietly, there is a high probability of meeting and surprising wildlife or other trail users. Be alert and attach a bell to your bike or call out when approaching corners to make others aware of your presence. Horses may panic if surprised when encountering cyclists.
Please be considerate by stopping and moving to the side of the trail if encountering horses head on. If approaching from behind, announce your presence from a good distance, then request guidance from the horse riders as to how to pass safely.
Some backcountry campsites are accessible by mountain bike and anyone planning to overnight in the backcountry must obtain a wilderness use permit. Please refer to wilderness camping.
The Kootenai Brown Trail
Length: 6.9 km one way
Description: The new Kootenai Brown Trail opened in October, 2010. A scenic multi-use pathway, it was created as a legacy gift to Canadians in recognition of the 125th anniversary of Canada’s national parks. It was constructed to provide a link for non-motorized travellers from the community of Waterton and the Townsite Campground to visitor facilities in the Waterton Valley. The trail offers unparalleled views of the Waterton Lakes and surrounding mountains and addresses safety concerns by ensuring users are separated from motorized traffic along the Entrance Parkway. It is perfect for families!
Length: 8.2 km one way
Trailhead: Red Rock Canyon parking lot
Description: This wide, rolling trail is a good choice for beginner cyclists. In spring, it may be necessary to ford a few creeks. This trail provides access to trail junctions for several other trails, but you will have to lock and leave your bike behind if you choose to head up them.
Akamina Pass Trail
Length: 1.5 km one way
Trailhead: 14.4 km along the Akamina Parkway
Description: This short, steep trail climbs to the Alberta-B.C. boundary then continues into Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park. Consult the provincial park bulletin board for information on regulations and available routes.
Length: 7 km one way
Trailhead: 0.5 km along Chief Mountain Highway from Highway 5 junction.
Description: This is a relatively flat and wide trail. Towards the end of the trail, you have to ford Sofa Creek. Cycling is not permitted on the Vimy Trail or past the Vimy Trail junction.
Length: 4 km from Red Rock Parkway to Akamina Parkway or 20.6 km for entire loop
Trailhead: 1km down the Canyon Camp road just past the Crandell Campground, or 6.5 km along the Akamina Parkway.
Description: This is a challenging trail for advanced mountain bikers. The Akamina Parkway portion is steep and rocky while portions along the Red Rock Parkway were washed away in the 1995 flood and are difficult to follow. Some cyclists prefer to make a loop by travelling the Akamina and Red Rock Parkways, linking them via the Crandell trail.