Banff National Park

The Banff Legacy Trail

 © S. Gignac

The Banff Legacy Trail offers all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts – from cyclists, runners and roller skiers – a new way to experience Banff National Park. Twenty-six kilometres of paved trails span from Banff Park East Gate to the Bow Valley Parkway with breathtaking views, covered picnic areas, the Banff townsite, and a variety of rest spots along the way.

Banff Park East Gate to Bow Valley Parkway: 26 km
30m elevation gain; 2 – 3 hrs round trip

The Banff Legacy Trail

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 a new and environmentally friendly way.

The Banff Legacy Trail offers:

  • © Paul Zizka
    26 km of paved pathways from the Banff Park East Gate to the Bow Valley Parkway
  • Is a three-season, multi-use recreational pathway (for safety reasons, the trail is closed during the winter)
  • Multiple rest spots and covered picnic areas along the way

Summer 2011 - Future plans include the installation of interpretive signage to promote and educate users on the Banff National Park experience

Trail Map 

Click here for a downloadable map.

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:

  • The Valleyview Picnic Area
  • Town of Banff
  • 40 Mile Picnic Area

Note: Parks Canada recommends using caution when travelling east of park gates as connector routes are not completed. It is also important to check on seasonal, voluntary road restrictions or trail closures prior to planning your route.

Gates and state-of-the-art, electrified rubber mats protect wildlife

  • 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 open the gates for trail users and deliver a low amperage charge (10 kilovolts) to deter wildlife from accessing highway and trail systems
  • Cyclists should simply roll across the mats without stopping
  • Pedestrians and other users should avoid the mats completely and use the pedestrian gate
  • Roller skiers and in-line skaters should either use the pedestrian gates or cross the electrified rubber mats carefully and avoid using ski poles on the mats
  • This system of mats are similar to the one used to keep bears out of the campground in Lake Louise 

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 wearing rubber-soled shoes
  • Mats may be slippery when wet but are turned off in the winter since only the pedestrian gates can be used
  • Check brochure for mat locations before you travel the trail 

Considerations for wheelchair users or 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 pet

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 check on which connector trails permit dogs 

Traveling through the Town of Banff:

Users following the pathway have optional routes for travelling through the Town of Banff - a scenic route which travels through the neighborhoods of Banff or, - a more direct route that goes through the downtown district. See downloadable map. 

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 they are traveling. 

For more information:

Visitor Information Centre, 224 Banff Avenue, call 403-762-1550, or email

Banff National Park Trail Report Recorded Message: 403-760-1305.

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