BANFF MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS
Easy | Moderate | Difficult |
3.6 km one way
Trailhead: 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. Sundance is popular with hikers. Connector: Healy Creek (2).
4.9 km one way
Trailhead: Branches off Sundance Trail (1)
This gravel double track winds and dips its way through the forest, eventually coming alongside Healy Creek before ending at the Sunshine Road, near the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH). Riders can return to Banff via the TCH, but are advised to be extremely cautious on this busy highway. Healy Creek is used by commercial horse traffic and is not recommended in wet conditions. Connector: Brewster Creek (3).
Spray River Loop
11.3 km loop
Trailhead(s): Fairmont Banff Springs or the Bow Falls Parking Lot
This winding, rolling gravel double track can be ridden as a loop in either direction or as an out-and-back from either trailhead. Choose your own adventure! The trail parallels the rushing Spray River. Great as a family outing and picnic near the bridge. Be sure to yield to horses. Connector: Spray River and Goat Creek (5).
Cascade Ponds - Bankhead
2.4 km one way
Trailhead(s): Cascade Ponds Day-use Area or Lake Minnewanka Road
From Cascade Ponds, ride past the picnic tables, over the creek and left to cross Minnewanka Road. Then follow the old Canadian Pacific rail grade to the ghost town of Bankhead. Ride as out and back.
Tunnel Bench Loop
© Paul Zizka
5.7 km loop
Starting Point: Hoodoos Lookout Parking Lot or Tunnel Mountain Campground
Typically ridden clockwise, this popular loop is winding and varied entry-level singletrack with minimal elevation gain. Take in the spectacular views of iconic Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain as well as the Fairholme Range. Be aware that some sections have significant vertical exposure. If you are uncomfortable, be sure to walk your bike. Connector: The Toe (20) and Bow Falls - Hoodoos (19).
Tunnel Campground Loop
3.5 km one way
Starting Point: Tunnel Mountain Campground
Perfect for beginners and children, this is a very simple, entry-level trail that forms a large loop around Tunnel Mountain Campground. There are many places to stop and rest. Be sure to watch out for strolling campers, elk, deer and coyote. NOTE: sections of this trail may be under construction during the summer of 2011.
Brewster Creek Trail
8.6 km one way
Starting Points: Cave and Basin National Historic Site or Sunshine Road
Ride the Sundance trail (1) and/or to the Healy Creek road (2) until you get to the Brewster Creek trail. This trail is a double track that climbs steadily up the Brewster Creek valley to the Sundance Lodge (service for guests only). The ride to the lodge is not suitable for beginners and is a 21 km return trip. Brewster Creek is used by commercial horse traffic and is not recommended in wet conditions.
Spray River and Goat Creek
18.7 km one way
Trailhead: Fairmont Banff Springs
This popular, rolling double track follows the Spray River for 10 km before reaching the easy-to-miss turn that veers off on the left just past the base of a short downhill section. Fork left, then head down over the bridge. From there it rises gradually along the lower slopes of Mount Rundle, ending at the Smith-Dorrien Road parking lot above Canmore. Alternatively, arrange for a shuttle and ride the trail in reverse for a long, gentle cruise to Banff. Connectors: Canmore Nordic Center (take the Banff Trail) with the Rundle Riverside Trail (6) and the Golf Course Drive (15). Note: Due to the clay content of the Goat Creek trail, it is not recommended in wet conditions.
14.6 km one way
Trailhead: Upper Bankhead Parking Lot
This former fire road is a gravel double track that opens with a sustained climb. It travels into the wilds of the Cascade Valley, through prime bear habitat. Cycling ends at the remote Stoney Creek primitive campground.
Lower Stoney Squaw
4.9 km one way
Trailhead: Mt. Norquay Ski Area Parking Lot
This is a great trail for intermediate riders to work on their technical skills. Ride past the day lodge and down the ski area service road for 1.4 km. Watch closely on the right for a sign indicating the entrance. The steep sidehill nature of the trail features many rough and rocky sections, and drops continuously to the highway. Watch for bears and horses on this fast, technical descent. Be sure to close the fence gate.
10 km one way
Trailhead: Redearth Creek Parking Lot
This former fire road provides bike access to some very scenic backcountry hiking near the Great Divide. Bring a lock, as you must leave your bike at the end of the road. Popular hiking destinations include Shadow Lake Lodge, Shadow Lake, and Egypt Lake.
Bow Falls – Hoodoos Trail
4.3 km one way
Trailhead: Hoodoos Parking Lot or Surprise Corner Parking Lot
Can be enjoyed in both directions but best ridden north to south. This trail offers an exhilarating experience in both directions with some steep climbing and descending. The route has spectacular views of Mount Rundle, a short section along a braid of the Bow River, and a short hike-a-bike section at a set of stairs.
Water Tower Trail
3.8 km one way
Trailhead(s): Cascade Ponds Day-use Area or Johnson Lake Day Use Area
This trail begins at the northeast corner of Cascade Ponds, crosses a small creek, and climbs up an almost impossible-to-ride-up set of steps (prepare for significant hike-a-bike). The remainder of the trail to the water tower is a sweet singletrack that dips and turns its way along the edge of the escarpment above the Trans-Canada Highway. Views of the Bow Valley and its iconic mountains, Rundle and Cascade, are spectacular. From the water tower, it’s worth your while to continue along a short section of gravel road leading to Johnson Lake. This trail is easily ridden as an out and back from either end.
13.9 km one way
Trailhead: Banff Golf Course Road (kiosk at far end)
Intermediate and advanced riders may relish the challenge of this rocky, rough roller coaster linking Banff and Canmore. Eight kilometres of rooted singletrack give way to 6 km of double track approaching the Canmore Nordic Center. Full suspension is recommended. Be prepared with a repair kit; the remoteness of this trail may be an issue if you get into trouble. Connector: Canmore Nordic Center (Banff Trail), Spray River and Goat Creek (5) and Golf Course Drive (15).
24.9 km one way
Trailhead: Lake Minnewanka Day-use Area, kiosk at far end of Picnic Area
Don’t let the gentle opening of this iconic ride fool you; the physical demands and the remoteness of this trail require excellent fitness, bike handling skills and preparation. The challenging and at times exposed sidehill trail climbs steeply out of Stewart Canyon and heads east on a rollicking single track towards the park boundary at Devil’s Gap. Destinations include the Aylmer Pass junction (16 km return) and the Warden’s Cabin (32 km return). The trail is popular with hikers and early, weekday starts for mountain bikers are highly recommended in May/June and September/October. NEW: bikes are not permitted on the trail between July 10 and September 15.
Upper Stoney Squaw Loop
4.1 km loop
Trailhead: Immediate right at Mt. Norquay Ski Hill Parking Lot
This narrow, technically difficult, rooted little trail climbs, at times steeply, through thick forest to the summit of Mt. Stoney Squaw. If you can “clean” this trail you’re a rock star! Enjoy a snack and a well-deserved rest at the viewpoint, with astonishing views of Cascade Mountain and the Bow Valley beyond. From there, continue north and descend a rocky, twisting technical trail back to the old ski runs above the Mt. Norquay day lodge. Connector: Lower Stoney Squaw (10B) for a challenging, yet easily accessible loop out of Banff’s townsite.
7.9 km loop
Starting Points: Hoodoos Parking Lot or Tunnel Mountain Campground
An exhilarating mix of challenging and exposed technical riding, long climbs and descents, and winding narrow single-track. It can be ridden in any direction, has some exceptional views and provides varied extensions to the main loop. This area is sensitive to both terrain and wildlife – please ride with care.
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