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Banff National Park

Banff Legacy Trail

A combination of paved pathway and parkway spans 22.3 km from the Banff Park East Gate to the Bow Valley Parkway. Breathtaking views, covered picnic areas, the Banff townsite, and a variety of rest spots along the way.© Paul Zizka

The Banff Legacy Trail was built in honour of Banff National Park’s 125th Anniversary. The trail is a testament to, and celebration, of the values of the national park, encouraging visitors and Bow Valley residents to explore the landscape in an environmentally friendly way.

The trail links the Town of Banff and Canmore through an additional 4.5 km of pathway outside of Banff National Park boundaries, from the Banff Park East Gate to the Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre. The entire trail is collectively referred to as the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail - a distance of 26.8 km, with a 30 m elevation gain and an estimated timeline of 2 – 3 hour round trip for cyclists.

Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail Printable Map (PDF 3 MB)

The Banff Legacy Trail offers:

  • 22.3 km of paved pathway and parkway from the Bow Valley Parkway to the Banff Park East Gate
    • The trail extends an additional 4.5 km from the Banff Park East Gate to the Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre
  • A multi-use recreational pathway open mid-April to mid-October (weather permitting)
  • Multiple rest spots picnic shelters along the way
  • Informative interpretive panels
  • Links to other trail networks

Trail Distances

 Trail Segments km  
 Bow Valley Parkway to Vermilion Lakes Drive 1.6
 Vermilion Lakes Drive 4.3
 South Norquay Road to Railway Tracks 0.6
Through the Town of Banff (Railway tracks to east end of Banff Avenue) 2.2*
 End of Banff Avenue to Cascade Ponds connector 3.4
Cascade Ponds connector to Banff Park East Gate 12.4
Banff Park East Gate to Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre 4.5
Total distance 26.8*

* Distance through the Town of Banff is not included as part of the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail distance.

Trailhead and Parking

The Cascade Ponds Picnic Area is the recommended parking location and starting point for the Banff Legacy Trail. Parking is also available at:

  • Valleyview Picnic Area
  • Banff town site
  • Fenland Picnic Area

Gates and electrified rubber mats

  • There are five sets of pedestrian gates on the trail, three of which may be bypassed by cyclists via state-of-the-art, solar-powered electrified mats that span its width
  • The gates are intended to protect wildlife and to create an uninterrupted route for cyclists
  • Mats allow the gates to be open for trail users and deliver a low amperage charge (10 kilovolts) to deter wildlife from accessing highway and trail systems
  • Cyclists simply roll across the mats without stopping
  • Pedestrians, pets and other users should avoid the mats completely and use the pedestrian gate
About the electrified mats

The charge is uncomfortable, but not harmful

To avoid a charge, ride across the mats without stopping

Keep pets off of the mats, as they will get an uncomfortable shock

Cyclists can cross the mats with no effect thanks to their rubber tires, do not dismount unless you are wearing rubber-soled shoes

Considerations for wheelchair users and recumbent cyclists

The trail travels through the heart of the Canadian Rockies over rolling terrain. There are a few short, steep hills along the way. These spots are clearly marked with signage. Be aware of these locations and ensure you have a plan to travel safely. 

Enjoying the trail with your dog

To ensure that all park visitors have an enjoyable experience, Parks Canada requires:

  • Dogs be kept on leash at all times
  • Stoop and scoop anything left behind by your dog
  • Visit Parks Canada Information Centres to find out which connector trails permit dogs 

Traveling through the Town of Banff

Users following the pathway have route options for travelling through the Town of Banff - a scenic route travelling through the neighborhoods of Banff, or a more direct route through the downtown district. 

Trail Etiquette

This multi-use recreation path is built for the enjoyment of diverse users – from cyclists to skateboarders to in-line skaters. To ensure enjoyment of all users, please:

  • Always keep to the right
  • Wear a helmet
  • Travel at a reasonable and controlled speed
  • Announce “on your left” and pass with care
  • Horses always have the right of way; stop and allow horses to pass safely
  • Pets must be leashed

If you encounter any wildlife along the trail, give them the space they need to continue moving in the direction that they are traveling. 

More information

Contact us or email

Banff National Park Trail Office: 403-762-1556.

To get involved in the Banff National Park cycling experience, visit the Bow Valley Mountain Bike Alliance