Biking: The Lake Louise area
Welcome to Lake Louise. Take a trail less traveled and explore our beautiful natural environment by bicycle.
Biking in the Lake Louise area offers both experienced and novice riders unparalleled views of protected landscapes, featuring glaciers, mountains, lakes and rivers. From the doorstep of your accommodations or camping site, you are minutes away from over 100 kilometers of bike trails. Rides vary from novice road options to more difficult remote backcountry mountain biking trails. While other national parks offer scenic beauty of the natural landscapes, biking in the Lake Louise area transports riders to a unique outdoor experience. Biking in the Lake Louise area typically extends from May to October. This guide will help you plan an enjoyable and safe biking experience while keeping the park’s natural environment as beautiful as possible.
Difficulty ratings are based on trail length, elevation gain and remoteness.
Bow River Loop
7.1 km loop, no elevation gain, easy
Trailhead: Lake Louise Campground or opposite the historic Lake Louise train station (Station Restaurant) beside Bow River bridge
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 river’s sound; ride respectfully and make your approach known. This route connects with the Tramline Trail (#5).
4.5 km one way, elevation gain 195 m, easy
Trailhead: Opposite Lake Louise train station (Station Restaurant) beside Bow River bridge
This wide trail is the former route of a tramway (1912 to 1930). It offers a quiet ride up and down from the valley floor to upper Lake Louise. The trail comes out at the upper Lake Louise parking lots, an alternative starting point for a downhill ride on this trail.
7.2 km one way, elevation gain 165 m, moderate
Trailhead: Slate Road, turn off Trans-Canada Highway– 1.5 km west of Lake Louise
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 7.2.
7.3 km one way, no elevation gain, difficult
Trailhead: Tucked behind the Chateau Lake Louise staff residences
One of the few trails that crosses from Banff to Yoho National Park, this trail winds and dips through sub-alpine forest to a small lake nestled against an impressive rock wall. Expect to yield to horse traffic on the first 100 m. A challenging 1.3 km trail down along Ross Creek connects to the Great Divide Road (#1), allowing a loop return.
Moraine Lake Highline
9.3 km one way, elevation gain 305 m, difficult
Trailhead: Small parking area on the right, 2.5 km up Moraine Lake Road
The most demanding of the Lake Louise trails, this single-track trail climbs onto the shoulder of Mount Temple and then descends to Moraine Lake, one of the loveliest spots in the Canadian Rockies. Hikers are often encountered on the first km from the trailhead. Roots and rocks on the narrow trail might pose a challenge. The upper trail section, often exposed as it follows side hills, offers tremendous views. The trail can be combined with Moraine Lake Road (#2) to make a loop. When buffalo berries (an important food for bears) ripen in mid to late summer, the upper section of this trail is closed to all users. This will allow grizzly bears to forage undisturbed and keep visitors safer. A stub trail allows access from the trail to the Moraine Lake Road at the bottom of the seasonal trail closure. Check with Lake Louise Visitor Centre staff and trailhead signs for closure dates and important information.
Difficulty ratings are based on ride length and elevation gain.
10.5 km one way, minimal elevation gain, easy
Starting Point: Parking lot at 3.6 km mark of Lake Louise Drive
This route (formerly the 1A Hwy) is closed to vehicles. Though paved, the surface is rough. It winds past the Great Divide at 7.5 km and continues to the Trans-Canada Highway in Yoho National Park. About 500 m west of the Divide, a challenging 1.3 km trail up along Ross Creek connects to the Ross Lake Trail (#6). It allows an alternative return to the trailhead for advanced mountain bikers.
Bow Valley Parkway
28 km one way, minimal elevation gain, moderate
Starting Points: Lake Louise Visitor 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 interpretive signs are accessible from the road. The Bow Valley Parkway continues farther eastward towards the town of Banff and reconnects with the Trans-Canada Highway or the Banff Legacy Trail, after an additional 21 km, making the entire Bow Valley Parkway 49 km in length or 98 km return to Lake Louise.
Moraine Lake Road
Trail #715 km one way, elevation gain 385 m, difficult
Starting Point: Lake Louise Visitor Centre
230 km one way, moderate to difficult (depending on section or length of ride)
Starting Point: Lake Louise Visitor Centre.(You can access the start of the parkway by crossing the pedestrian bridge over the Trans-Canada Highway, near the western end of Sheol Road, then riding along the bike path beside Highway 1 westward, until it connects with the Icefields Parkway)
Whether it’s for a short ride or a bike tour over several days, the Icefields Parkway has a lot to offer. Hailed by many as one of the most beautiful scenic roads in the world, this route is famous for its bike touring opportunities. The Icefields Parkway follows the continental divide as it leads riders over two mountain passes. En route, cyclists will peddle past beautiful lakes, towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and awesome glaciers. Be cautious, this is a busy road in the summer. Fortunately, there is a wide shoulder in most places. If you just want to ride a section of the parkway, you can always drive to your chosen starting point. For more information, ask for the Icefields Parkway brochure at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre.
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