With more than 360 km of cycling trails, biking is an excellent way to explore the Banff National Park. Trails range from easy to difficult and the biking season typically extends from May to October. The information below will help you plan an enjoyable and safe mountain biking experience, while keeping the park’s natural environment as pristine as possible.
Banff National Park encourages the use of bikes for the appreciation and enjoyment of the park’s spectacular landscape of rugged mountains, broad valleys, glaciers, alpine meadows, and wildlife species. If your objective is freeriding or downhilling, please consider areas such as Golden or Fernie, BC or Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, where there are designated trails for these activities.
E-bikes (power-assisted bicycles) are prohibited on trails in Banff National Park with some exceptions. Please see Rules of the trail for more information.
Rules of the trail
Riding non-designated or closed trails, building new trails, or riding off-trail displaces wildlife and destroys soil and vegetation. These activities are also illegal and violators may be charged under the Canada National Parks Act.
- 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.
- Ride designated trails. It is your responsibility to know where you can and cannot legally ride.
- Avoid riding during extreme conditions. Wet, muddy or very dry trails are more likely to be damaged.
- Help preserve the quality of trails. Ride, don’t slide—avoid skidding your tires by hard braking. Ride over obstacles, not around them. If obstacles are above your skill level, walk your bike.
- Ride within your limits. Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk.
- Leave no trace. Be sure to pack out what you pack in. Leave natural and cultural objects undisturbed for others to discover.
- For the safety of wildlife, your pet and yourself, keep your dog under control and on a leash at all times.
- Yield appropriately. Let your fellow trail users know you are coming. Make each pass a safe and courteous one. Cyclists travelling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill.
- 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 trail
- 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.
- Bicycles are fast and quiet, and can easily spook horses. When approaching oncoming horses, move to the side of the trail, stop and allow the horse party to pass. When passing horses from behind, slow down, let riders know of your presence before you get too close, and ask for instructions.
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.
- Choose rides that match your group’s abilities. Be conservative—start with easier, shorter trails. Parks 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 trail 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.