Mountain Biking and Cycling Guide
Lake Louise Area Trails
Lake Louise: Keep Bears Wild!
The Lake Louise area is important wildlife habitat and is heavily used by people. When you venture out on the trails, you influence how wildlife uses habitat and moves through the landscape. But with thoughtful consideration of how you use wilderness, you can help conserve it.
In the Lake Louise area, human development and activity have fragmented prime wildlife habitat into patches. The habitat remains, but bears are challenged to use it without bumping into people. Adolescent bears and adult female bears tend to dominate this group. Through constant, repeated exposure to the sights, smells and sounds of people, these bears lose their natural fear of people and they become habituated. Habituated bears are more likely to die a human-caused death on our roads and railways or be destroyed as "problem wildlife".
A number of adult female grizzly bears live in the Lake Louise area. To survive and successfully raise cubs, these bears need safe, predictable, quality habitat. You can help protect bears and keep yourself safer:
- Stay on designated trails: give these animals breathing space in an already tight situation;
- Bike "Bear Aware": minimize your chances of encountering a bear.
Lake Louise Area Trails
Difficulty ratings are based on trail length, elevation gain and remoteness.
Bow River Loop
7.1 km loop, no elevation gain, easy (map)
Trailhead: Lake Louise Campground or Bow River Bridge opposite the historic Lake Louise train station (Station Restaurant)
Ideal for families, this gentle riverside trail travels both sides of the Bow River and can be shortened by cutting across any of the bridges. Interpretive signs along the way highlight the Bow River ecosystem. This trail is popular with pedestrians who may not hear your approach above the riverís sound: ride carefully. Connects with the Tramline Trail (#2).
Tramline4.5 km one way, elevation gain 195 m, easy (map)
Trailhead: Opposite Lake Louise train station (Station Restaurant) beside Bow River bridge
This wide trail is the former route of the historic tramway (1912 to 1930) that carried passengers up from the railway station on the valley floor to the Chateau at Lake Louise. The trail comes out at the upper Lake Louise parking lots, an alternative starting point for a downhill ride.
Ross Lake7.3 km one way, no elevation gain, moderate (map)
Tucked behind the Chateau Lake Louise staff residences
This trail winds and dips through sub-alpine forest to a small lake nestled against an impressive rockwall. Expect heavy horse traffic on the first 100 m. To return via the Great Divide bike path (#8), riders must dismount and walk the 1.3 km trail down along Ross Creek to the Great Divide Road. This trail was opened to bike use in 1997 for a trial period; future management is currently being reviewed. The hiking trail connecting Ross Lake to the Lake OíHara access road, and the Lake OíHara road itself are closed to bikes.
Moraine Lake Highline10 km one way, elevation gain 305 m, difficult
Trailhead: Small parking area on the right, 2.5 km up Moraine Lake Rd
The most demanding of the Lake Louise area trails, this single-track trail climbs onto the shoulder of Mount Temple and then descends to Moraine Lake. Combine with Moraine Lake Road (#9) to make a loop. When buffaloberries, an important bear food, ripen in mid to late summer, the upper section of this trail is closed to all users. This allows grizzly bears to forage undisturbed and keeps people safer. Be prepared to turn around at the closure. Check with Lake Louise Information Centre staff and trailhead signs for closure dates and important information.
Pipestone6.7 km one way, elevation gain 165 m, moderate (map)
Trailhead: Off Slate Road just west of Lake Louise Village
This well-defined gravel and dirt trail heads up along the Pipestone River into the Pipestone Valley north of Lake Louise. Watch for horse users and bears. Not far from the trailhead, an 800 m side trail offers a short, sometimes muddy, trip to Mud Lake. Cyclists are not permitted beyond the bike turnaround point at km 6.7.
Temple Access Road4.0 km one way, elevation gain 305 m (map)
Trailhead: Fish Creek parking lot off Whitehorn Road near the Lake Louise Ski Area
This steep gravel road provides maintenance access to Temple Lodge. The road ends by the lodge; the hiking trail beyond provides access to Skoki Valley and is not open to bikes. Watch carefully for vehicles, hikers, horse users and bears. To give several resident female grizzly bears the space they need to survive, ski hill runs, other ski hill roads, and all trails leading off Temple Road are closed to biking.
Alexandra River (not on map)20.8 km one way, minimal elevation gain, difficult (map)
Trailhead: Small unmarked pull-off, west side of the Icefield Parkway (Hwy 93 N), 26 km north of Hwy 11 junction.
This unmaintained route offers rough and tumble riding on an old fire road. After the first 6 km the trail becomes a serious challenge. The first unbridged crossing of the Alexandra River occurs at 11.7 km.
Lake Louise Area Road Rides
Difficulty ratings are based on ride length and elevation gain.
Great Divide10.5 km one way, minimal elevation gain, easy (map)
Trailhead: Parking lot at 3.6 km mark of Lake Louise Drive
This paved historic route (old 1A Hwy) is no longer open to vehicles. It winds past the Great Divide at 7.5 km and continues to the Trans-Canada Highway in Yoho. A picnic shelter and displays at the Great Divide are perfect goals for a family outing. A short hike-mostly mountain bike loop can be made with the Ross Lake Trail (#3), 500 m past the Divide.
Moraine Lake Road15 km one way, elevation gain 385 m, difficult (map)
Trailhead: Lake Louise Information Centre
This narrow, mountain road has no shoulders, rough pavement, and heavy mixed traffic; it's best to ride it and Lake Louise Drive early or late in the day when traffic volume is low. Not recommended for road bikes. From the turnoff at the 3 km mark of Lake Louise, Moraine Lake Road climbs to spectacular views of Consolation Valley and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Mountain bikers can create a loop by combining with the challenging Moraine Lake Highline Trail (#4).
Bow Valley Parkway28 km one way, elevation gain minimal, moderate (map)
Trailhead: Lake Louise Information Centre
From Lake Louise to Castle Junction, the Bow Valley Parkway (1A) winds through montane forest near the Bow River. This is a busy road with narrow shoulders; consider riding midweek when traffic is lighter. Numerous short hikes, viewpoints and inter-pretive signs are accessible from the road. Combine with Banff Trail #17 for a 55 km ride (one way).