Cycling is a great way to see Waterton Lakes National Park and get some exercise at the same time. Cyclists need to be aware of two major factors while in the park - other traffic and strong winds!
There are opportunities for road cycling and mountain biking in the park. This information will help you plan an enjoyable and safe biking experience. Remember, you are responsible for your own safety when cycling.
Using an e-bike in Waterton Lakes National Park
E-bikes (pedal assist electric bicycles) are permitted on all cycling trails in Waterton Lakes National Park.
Please note that e-bikes equipped with an accelerator (a throttle) are not pedal assist e-bikes and can only be ridden on roads.
A variety of paved roads in the Waterton Lakes area make biking an excellent way to explore this special place.
The Chief Mountain Highway has wide shoulders and is a good choice for cycling, although be prepared for large hills. Highways 5 and 6 leading out of the park also have wide shoulders and can be very enjoyable.
From November to May, the Red Rock Parkway is closed to motorized vehicles, creating a haven for cyclists - until the snow flies! Along the 15 km journey, rolling grasslands in the Blakiston Valley give way to the dramatic peaks and valleys at Red Rock Canyon.
The Kootenai Brown Trail is an off-road paved pathway for cyclists and pedestrians that runs alongside the Entrance Parkway, from the park gate to the townsite.
Road cycling etiquette:
Mountain biking in Waterton Lakes National Park is limited to five trails, listed below.
Snowshoe and Crandell Lake backcountry campgrounds are accessible by mountain bike. Anyone planning an overnight stay in the backcountry must obtain a permit.
Mountain biking etiquette:
The Kootenai Brown Trail
Length: 6.9 km one way.
Description: The Kootenai Brown Trail opened in October, 2010. A scenic multi-use pathway, it was created as a legacy gift to Canadians in recognition of the 125th anniversary of Canada’s national parks. It was constructed to provide a link for non-motorized travellers from the community of Waterton and the Townsite Campground to visitor facilities in the Waterton Valley. The trail offers unparalleled views of the Waterton Lakes and surrounding mountains and addresses safety concerns by ensuring users are separated from motorized traffic along the Entrance Parkway. It is perfect for families!
Length: 8.2 km one way.
Trailhead: Red Rock Canyon parking lot.
Description: This wide, rolling trail is a good choice for beginner cyclists. In spring, it may be necessary to ford a few creeks. This trail provides access to trail junctions for several other trails, but you will have to lock and leave your bike behind if you choose to head up them.
Stay overnight at Snowshoe backcountry campground. A permit is required for overnight stays in the backcountry.
Akamina Pass Trail
Length: 1.5 km one way.
Trailhead: 14.3 km along the Akamina Parkway.
Description: This short, steep trail climbs from the Akamina Parkway to the Alberta-British Columbia boundary then continues into Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park in B.C. Consult the provincial park's important notices for information on closures, regulations and available routes.
Length: 7 km one way.
Trailhead: 0.5 km along Chief Mountain Highway from Highway 5 junction.
Description: This is a relatively flat and wide trail. Towards the end of the trail, you have to ford Sofa Creek. Cycling is not permitted on the Vimy Trail or past the Vimy Trail junction.
Length: 4 km from Red Rock Parkway to Akamina Parkway or 20.6 km for entire loop.
Trailhead: 1 km down the Canyon Camp road just past the Crandell Campground, or 6.5 km along the Akamina Parkway.
Description: This is a challenging trail for intermediate or advanced mountain bikers. The Akamina Parkway portion of the trail is steep and rocky while portions along the Red Rock Parkway are washed away and are difficult to follow. Some cyclists prefer to make a loop by travelling the Akamina and Red Rock Parkways, linking them via the Crandell trail.
Play, Clean, Go
Waterton’s vulnerability to the spread of invasive plant species has increased as a result of the Kenow Wildfire. Visitors can help protect the landscape by remembering to Play Clean Go when cycling in the park.