The variety of paved roads and trails in the Banff area make biking an excellent way to explore this special place. Routes range from easy to difficult and the biking season typically extends from April to October.
Experiencing Banff National Park from the saddle of a bike is a fun, healthy, environmentally friendly way to enjoy these spectacular landscapes. The information below will help you plan an enjoyable and safe biking experience.
Rules of the road
- Always ride on the right, pass others on their left. If you are riding on a road with a sidewalk, stay on the road.
- Obey all traffic rules when riding on roads. At intersections, use hand signals to let drivers know which direction you will be travelling.
- On highways, ride as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb. For your safety, it is recommended that you ride single file.
- Stay within the posted speed limits.
- Road closures, speed limits and traffic controls apply to bicyclists too. The Bow Valley Parkway Mandatory Seasonal Travel Restriction applies to all travel, including bicyclists. From March 1st to June 25th, travel is not permitted between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. on the 17-kilometre section of the parkway from Johnston Canyon Campground to the Fireside Picnic Area. This is to ensure the area remains a high quality home for wildlife.
- Be visible when riding at dawn, dusk, or night. Always have a white front light and red rear and side reflectors and consider wearing reflective clothing.
- Be bear aware. Cyclists are particularly susceptible to sudden, dangerous bear encounters because of the speed and silence of their travel. Be alert, make noise, slow down, carry bear spray, and look ahead.
- Leave no trace. Be sure to pack out what you pack in – this includes all food and garbage. Leave natural and cultural objects undisturbed for others to discover.
- Do the right thing – protect wildlife. Littering, feeding animals or harassing wildlife is illegal and violators may be charged under the Canada National Parks Act.
- E-bikes (power-assisted bicycles) are prohibited on trails in Banff National Park, except:
- Trails within the town of Banff
- The Banff Legacy Trail from the Banff East Gate, through the Town of Banff, to the east end of the Bow Valley Parkway
- The Bow River Loop Trail from the Lake Louise campground or Bow River Bridge opposite of historic Lake Louise trail station (Station Restaurant)
- Tramline Trail from opposite of the Lake Louise train station to the main parking lot at Upper Lake Louise
- Great Divide Route from the parking lot at 3.6 km mark of the Lake Louise Drive
Share the roads and pathways
- The bike trails in Banff National Park are all shared-use trails— expect to encounter hikers, vehicles and horseback riders. Ride in control and be ready to stop at any time.
- If you are passing other bikers, walkers or runners, please be courteous. Use your voice or use a bell to let them know you’ll be passing on their left so they have a chance to move over.
You are responsible for your own safety. Be prepared for a breakdown or accident. Know how to repair your bike and carry the necessary tools and parts.
- Select a trip which best suits your group’s abilities, experience, interests, equipment and the time you have available. Be conservative—start with easier, shorter routes. Park Canada staff or bike shop employees can help you select a suitable route.
- Wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.
- Bring extra food, water and clothing. Surface water may be contaminated and unsafe for drinking. Mountain weather changes quickly and it can snow any month of the year.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.
- Travel with others and keep your group together.
- Avoid wearing earbuds. Be alert at all times.
- Ask for advice at the Banff Visitor Centre about route conditions, descriptions, and weather.
Wildlife and people
The Canadian Rocky Mountain national parks are home to wildlife, including elk, wolves, cougars, and the remaining grizzly and black bear populations in North America. To successfully raise their young and sustain a healthy population, wildlife need access to as much quality habitat with as few human surprises as possible.
Be aware of possible encounters with wildlife, even on roads and paved trails.
- Carry bear spray with you at all times, ensure it is at hand, and know how to use it.
- Slow down and make noise. Your speed and quietness puts you at risk for sudden wildlife encounters. Slow down through shrubby areas and when approaching blind corners. Travel in groups, be alert and always look ahead.
Report bear, cougar, wolf and coyote sightings and encounters to Parks Canada staff at 403-762-1470, when it is safe to do so.