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.
Safety

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 road 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.

Tips:

  • 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.

Ratings
 

Easy Rides

  • Suitable for all cyclists, including those with little or no experience.
  • Flat to gently rolling.
  • Little or no elevation gain or loss.

Moderate Rides

  • Suitable for most cyclists who have some basic experience and are prepared with proper equipment and water.
  • Gently rolling with short, steep sections.
  • Moderate elevation gain or loss.

Difficult Rides

  • Suitable only for cyclists who have experience and are prepared with proper equipment and water.
  • Long, steep sections.
  • Major elevation gain or loss.
Trail Distance
 Great Divide 10.5 km one way
 Bow Valley Parkway  28 km one way
 Moraine Lake Road  15 km one way
 Icefields Parkway  230 km one way
Elevations are an approximate to give riders an idea of what to expect on each route. Elevations are calculated as the total amount of elevation gained and the total amount of elevation lost (all the ups and downs) over the entire distance of an out-and-back trail or a loop. 

 Easy Rides

Great Divide

10.5 km one way
Minimal elevation gain
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. It allows an alternative return to the trailhead for advanced mountain bikers.

 Moderate Rides

Bow Valley Parkway

28 km one way
Minimal elevation gain
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 

 Difficult Rides

Moraine Lake Road

15 km one way
Elevation gain 385 m
Starting Point: Lake Louise Visitor Centre

This narrow, mountain road has no shoulders and heavy mixed traffic. It’s best to ride Moraine Lake Road and Lake Louise Drive early or late in the day when traffic volume is lower. From the turnoff at the 3 km mark of Lake Louise Drive, Moraine Lake Road climbs to spectacular views of Consolation Valley and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Mountain bikers can create a loop by combining with the challenging Moraine Lake Highline Trail.

Icefields Parkway

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.