Mountain biking in the Rockies can be one of the most rewarding activities you will ever experience! Old logging roads leading to high mountain passes in the National Park System offer excellent access to incredible vistas. Parks Canada, mostly with local wildlife in mind, has prohibited trail creation and as such you will find little to no single track in the packs. For maintained cross country
Mountain Biking in Yoho
Exploring deep into Yoho’s backcountry on the Amiskwi Trail Within Yoho National Park, mountain biking is permitted on a variety of old fire routes that have been converted into trails, allowing riders to visit some areas of the park that are rarely reached on foot. Due to hiking traffic and the nature of the sensitive mountain ecosystem, some trails are not open to cyclists.
Trails Open to Bicycles in Yoho National Park:
Tally-ho trail 3 km
Amiskwi trail (to Otto Creek) 18.8 km
Kicking Horse trail 4.5 km
Otterhead trail (to Tocher Ridge junction) 9.8 km
Ottertail Valley trail (to warden cabin) 15.1 km
Ice River trail (to Lower Ice River warden cabin) 17.5 km
Riders should make sure to wear helmets, educate themselves about how to avoid bear encounters, and be wary of fellow hikers and bikers. Trail maps are available at the Park Information Centre at the entrance to Field.
Mountain Biking in Lake Louise(East 15 min)
Bow River Loop
7.1 km loop, no elevation gain, easy
Trailhead: Lake Louise Campground or Bow River Bridge opposite the historic Lake Louise train station (Station Restaurant)
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 is sound: ride carefully. Connects with the Tramline Trail (#2).
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 the historic tramway (1912 to 1930) that carried passengers up from the railway station on the valley floor to the Chateau at Lake Louise. The trail comes out at the upper Lake Louise parking lots, an alternative starting point for a downhill ride.
7.3 km one way, no elevation gain, moderate
Trailhead: Tucked behind the Chateau Lake Louise staff residences
This trail winds and dips through sub-alpine forest to a small lake nestled against an impressive rockwall. Expect heavy horse traffic on the first 100 m. To return via the Great Divide bike path (#8), riders must dismount and walk the 1.3 km trail down along Ross Creek to the Great Divide Road. This trail was opened to bike use in 1997 for a trial period; future management is currently being reviewed. The hiking trail connecting Ross Lake to the Lake OíHara access road, and the Lake OíHara road itself are closed to bikes.
Moraine Lake Highline (Great!!!)
10 km one way, elevation gain 305 m, difficult
Trailhead: Small parking area on the right, 2.5 km up Moraine Lake Rd
The most demanding of the Lake Louise area trails, this single-track trail climbs onto the shoulder of Mount Temple and then descends to Moraine Lake. Combine with Moraine Lake Road (#9) to make a loop. When buffaloberries, an important bear food, ripen in mid to late summer, the upper section of this trail is closed to all users. This allows grizzly bears to forage undisturbed and keeps people safer. Be prepared to turn around at the closure. Check with Lake Louise Information Centre staff and trailhead signs for closure dates and important information.
6.7 km one way, elevation gain 165 m, moderate
Trailhead: Off Slate Road just west of Lake Louise Village
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 6.7.
Temple Access Road
4.0 km one way, elevation gain 305 m
Trailhead: Fish Creek parking lot off Whitehorn Road near the Lake Louise Ski Area
This steep gravel road provides maintenance access to Temple Lodge. The road ends by the lodge; the hiking trail beyond provides access to Skoki Valley and is not open to bikes. Watch carefully for vehicles, hikers, horse users and bears. To give several resident female grizzly bears the space they need to survive, ski hill runs, other ski hill roads, and all trails leading off Temple Road are closed to biking.
20.8 km one way, minimal elevation gain, difficult
Trailhead: Small unmarked pull-off, west side of the Icefield Parkway (Hwy 93 N), 26 km north of Hwy 11 junction. This unmaintained route offers rough and tumble riding on an old fire road. After the first 6 km the trail becomes a serious challenge. The first unbridged crossing of the Alexandra River occurs at 11.7 km.Lake Louise Area Road Rides. Difficulty ratings are based on ride length and elevation gain.
Great Divide Bike Path (Great!!!)
10.5 km one way, minimal elevation gain, easy
Trailhead: Parking lot at 3.6 km mark of Lake Louise Drive
This paved historic route (old 1A Hwy) is no longer open to vehicles. It winds past the Great Divide at 7.5 km and continues to the Trans-Canada Highway in Yoho. A picnic shelter and displays at the Great Divide are perfect goals for a family outing. A short hike-mostly mountain bike loop can be made with the Ross Lake Trail (#3), 500 m past the Divide.
Moraine Lake Road
15 km one way, elevation gain 385 m, difficult
Trailhead: Lake Louise Information Centre
This narrow, mountain road has no shoulders, rough pavement, and heavy mixed traffic; it’s best to ride it and Lake Louise Drive early or late in the day when traffic volume is low. Not recommended for road bikes. From the turnoff at the 3 km mark of Lake Louise, 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 (#4).
Bow Valley Parkway
28 km one way, elevation gain minimal, moderate
Trailhead: Lake Louise Information 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 inter-pretive signs are accessible from the road. Combine with Banff Trail #17 for a 55 km ride (one way).
Mountain Biking in Golden (West 25min)
The town of Golden, located west of Field outside the park boundaries, offers some of the best downhill and cross-country mountain biking anywhere.
The smooth weaving trail that follows the canyon edge along Canyon Creek. Cross-country cycling enthusiasts can enjoy the extensive moonraker trails, well maintained by the passionate members of the Golden Cycling Club. A 50km trail system over mixed terrain, the moonraker network consists of 14 trails of the best cross country riding the Rockies have to offer. Little can compare with riding alongside Canyon Creek’s steep 200m drop.
Downhill mountain bikers have a few fantastic options in Golden.
The 4500 vertical feet of white knuckle downhill on Mt. Seven are popular with the more adventurous crowd. There a a variety of routes down the hill, including Dead Dog, which hosts the annual Mt. Seven Psychosis downhill event.
Hitting a bridge on Mount Seven
The alternating banks at the bottom of Snake Bite will leave riders anxious to get back to the top and do it all over again. Vehicular access to the summit via the Mount Seven fire road eliminates the need to make the 14km uphill pedal. The summit is also frequented by paragliders, who make the leap from the top and drift away with the winds and thermals.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (Great!!!)
In recent years, the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has opened its hill to riders in the summer, with convenient access to the summit on the newly installed Gondolas. Ride in style on the way up before hitting one of 27 machine groomed trails geared for beginners and technical riders alike. 3700 feet of vertical makes it the highest lift-accessible downhill trail system in North America. Bike and equipment rentals are available at the base.
Alpine / Sub-Alpine (All trails in this zone are created by hand and hoof)
|#19 Rock Garden||A series of wooden bridges over and amongst boulders followed by rocky singletrack in the alpine|
|#6 Northern Lights||An old animal trail for high-speed bombing in the alpine|
|#20 Dirt Devil||Short singletrack mix of roots and dirt and rocks and rocks and dirt and roots|
|# 21 Gale Force||Slow speed meander through the trees along technical woodwork|
|# 22 Training Wheels||Completely recreated in 2011, this is a fun, looping singletrack that meanders through the sub-alpine.|
|# 12 Chute to View||A very visually aesthetic, high speed dirt trail along the alpine edge between trees and scree|
|# 7 Home Run||A continuation of Chute to View that runs alongside a creek. This short trail has a beautiful setting and a number of bumpy rocks|
Mid Mountain (The trails in this zone are created by hand and machine)
|#13 Time Travel||Technical singletrack with optional skinny bridges. This trail gets very steep and rocky toward the bottom.|
|#26 Magic Carpet Ride||This is a gentle dirt trail that steepens considerably toward the end. There is often loose rock near the end.|
|#25 Showdown||This long dirt run zigzags beside the gondola and is visible from Golden. It is machine-wide with multiple berms, tabletop jumps and terrain features.|
|#23 Blaster||This machine-made run is one of the most popular with multiple berms and steep sections. There is an optional woodwork link at the bottom.|
|#14 Rock n Roll||This machine and hand made mix includes 8 tight linking berms and 2 challenging rock slabs beneath the gondola. The first slab has a ride around and the second (ridiculously long and difficult – be sure to exit hard right) can be avoided all together.|
|#3 Road Runner||A machine-made, short mix of hip and wedge jumps.|
|#27 Upper Kranky Pants||This is a long, non-technical, straight-forward, machine-wide trail designed to rack up kilometres.|
|#2 Pioneer||Kicking Horse’s classic old-school, steep single-track with rocks and roots and some optional new-school wood features.|
|#1 It’s a 10||This is the access road and the easiest way down.|
|#4 Superberm||This one could be called Superburner. It is a long, twisting combo of berms and jumps best enjoyed at 90% speed and 100% flair.|
|#9 Stickrock||This uber-flowy combo of continuous woodwork with gaps and 3 rock slabs is unlike anything else out there. Highly recommended that you walk through before attempting, and avoid in the rain.|
|#17 LYM||Love Ya Man is a short trail of made up almost entirely of continuous elevated wood bridges.|
|#24 Lower Kranky Pants||An easy beginner trail that meanders down the lower mountain.|
|#16 Chain Reaction||A small stunt area with various options including skinnies and a gap jump.|
|#10 Claim Jumper||Classic old-school, steep single-track with rocks and roots that ends with a series of machine-made berms.|
|#28 Wild Rose||Built to finish the inaugural Western Open race course, this trail is a mix of singletrack and machine-made berms.|
|#11 Easy Rider||An easy singletrack continuation of Lower Kranky Pants.|
|#5 Buffalo Jump||Fast becoming a favourite, this is a high-speed combo of berms, bridges and jumps.|
|#18 Hop A Long||This ribbon of various jumps has serious wahoo factor.|
|Jump Zone||A row of increasingly large tables. Choose the blue or black line. The black ends with a large hip. Both of them exit with a green, blue or black drop option.|
Mountain Biking in Banff (East 45 min)
Sundance 3.6 km one way
Trailhead: Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Is paved trail is perfect for families with kids and bike trailers as it winds along the Bow River and climbs gently to the Sundance Canyon picnic area, where you can explore a lovely creekside hiking trail. Sundance is popular with hikers. Connector: Healy Creek
Healy Creek 4.9 km one way
Trailhead: Branches off Sundance Trail (1). This gravel double track winds and dips its way through the forest, eventually coming alongside Healy Creek before ending at the Sunshine Road, near the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH). Riders can return to Banff via the TCH, but are advised to be extremely cautious on this busy highway. Healy Creek is used by commercial horse traffic and is not recommended in wet conditions. Connector: Brewster Creek (3).
Spray River Loop 11.3 km loop
Trailhead(s): Fairmont Banff Springs or the Bow Falls Parking Lot. This winding, rolling gravel double track can be ridden as a loop in either direction or as an out-and-back from either trailhead. Choose your own adventure! The trail parallels the rushing Spray River. Great as a family outing and picnic near the bridge. Be sure to yield to horses. Connector: Spray River and Goat Creek (5).
Cascade Ponds – Bankhead 2.4 km one way
Trailhead(s): Cascade Ponds Day-use Area or Lake Minnewanka Road. From Cascade Ponds, ride past the picnic tables, over the creek and left to cross Minnewanka Road. Then follow the old Canadian Pacific rail grade to the ghost town of Bankhead. Ride as out and back.
Tunnel Bench Loop 5.7 km loop
Starting Point: Hoodoos Lookout Parking Lot or Tunnel Mountain Campground. Typically ridden clockwise, this popular loop is winding and varied entry-level singletrack with minimal elevation gain. Take in the spectacular views of iconic Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain as well as the Fairholme Range. Be aware that some sections have significant vertical exposure. If you are uncomfortable, be sure to walk your bike. Connector: The Toe (20) and Bow Falls – Hoodoos (19).
Brewster Creek Trail 8.6 km one way
Starting Points: Cave and Basin National Historic Site or Sunshine Road. Ride the Sundance trail (1) and/or to the Healy Creek road (2) until you get to the Brewster Creek trail. This trail is a double track that climbs steadily up the Brewster Creek valley to the Sundance Lodge (service for guests only). The ride to the lodge is not suitable for beginners and is a 21 km return trip. Brewster Creek is used by commercial horse traffic and is not recommended in wet conditions.
Spray River and Goat Creek 18.7 km one way
Trailhead: Fairmont Banff Springs. This popular, rolling double track follows the Spray River for 10 km before reaching the easy-to-miss turn that veers off on the left just past the base of a short downhill section. Fork left, then head down over the bridge. From there it rises gradually along the lower slopes of Mount Rundle, ending at the Smith-Dorrien Road parking lot above Canmore. Alternatively, arrange for a shuttle and ride the trail in reverse for a long, gentle cruise to Banff. Connectors: Canmore Nordic Center (take the Banff Trail) with the Rundle Riverside Trail (6) and the Golf Course Drive (15). Note: Due to the clay content of the Goat Creek trail, it is not recommended in wet conditions.
Cascade 14.6 km one way
Trailhead: Upper Bankhead Parking Lot . This former fire road is a gravel double track that opens with a sustained climb. It travels into the wilds of the Cascade Valley, through prime bear habitat. Cycling ends at the remote Stoney Creek primitive campground.
Lower Stoney Squaw 4.9 km one way
Trailhead: Mt. Norquay Ski Area Parking Lot. This is a great trail for intermediate riders to work on their technical skills. Ride past the day lodge and down the ski area service road for 1.4 km. Watch closely on the right for a sign indicating the entrance. The steep sidehill nature of the trail features many rough and rocky sections, and drops continuously to the highway. Watch for bears and horses on this fast, technical descent. Be sure to close the fence gate.
Redearth 10 km one way
Trailhead: Redearth Creek Parking Lot. This former fire road provides bike access to some very scenic backcountry hiking near the Great Divide. Bring a lock, as you must leave your bike at the end of the road. Popular hiking destinations include Shadow Lake Lodge, Shadow Lake, and Egypt Lake.
Bow Falls – Hoodoos Trail 4.3 km one way
Trailhead: Hoodoos Parking Lot or Surprise Corner Parking Lot. Can be enjoyed in both directions but best ridden north to south. This trail offers an exhilarating experience in both directions with some steep climbing and descending. The route has spectacular views of Mount Rundle, a short section along a braid of the Bow River, and a short hike-a-bike section at a set of stairs.
Water Tower Trail 3.8 km one way
Trailhead(s): Cascade Ponds Day-use Area or Johnson Lake Day Use Area. This trail begins at the northeast corner of Cascade Ponds, crosses a small creek, and climbs up an almost impossible-to-ride-up set of steps (prepare for significant hike-a-bike). The remainder of the trail to the water tower is a sweet singletrack that dips and turns its way along the edge of the escarpment above the Trans-Canada Highway. Views of the Bow Valley and its iconic mountains, Rundle and Cascade, are spectacular. From the water tower, it’s worth your while to continue along a short section of gravel road leading to Johnson Lake. This trail is easily ridden as an out and back from either end.
Rundle Riverside 13.9 km one way
Trailhead: Banff Golf Course Road (kiosk at far end) Intermediate and advanced riders may relish the challenge of this rocky, rough roller coaster linking Banff and Canmore. Eight kilometres of rooted singletrack give way to 6 km of double track approaching the Canmore Nordic Center. Full suspension is recommended. Be prepared with a repair kit; the remoteness of this trail may be an issue if you get into trouble. Connector: Canmore Nordic Center (Banff Trail), Spray River and Goat Creek (5) and Golf Course Drive (15).
Lake Minnewanka 24.9 km one way
Trailhead: Lake Minnewanka Day-use Area, kiosk at far end of Picnic Area. Don’t let the gentle opening of this iconic ride fool you; the physical demands and the remoteness of this trail require excellent fitness, bike handling skills and preparation. The challenging and at times exposed sidehill trail climbs steeply out of Stewart Canyon and heads east on a rollicking single track towards the park boundary at Devil’s Gap. Destinations include the Aylmer Pass junction (16 km return) and the Warden’s Cabin (32 km return). The trail is popular with hikers and early, weekday starts for mountain bikers are highly recommended in May/June and September/October. NEW: bikes are not permitted on the trail between July 10 and September 15.
Upper Stoney Squaw Loop 4.1 km loop
Trailhead: Immediate right at Mt. Norquay Ski Hill Parking Lot. This narrow, technically difficult, rooted little trail climbs, at times steeply, through thick forest to the summit of Mt. Stoney Squaw. If you can “clean” this trail you’re a rock star! Enjoy a snack and a well-deserved rest at the viewpoint, with astonishing views of Cascade Mountain and the Bow Valley beyond. From there, continue north and descend a rocky, twisting technical trail back to the old ski runs above the Mt. Norquay day lodge. Connector: Lower Stoney Squaw (10B) for a challenging, yet easily accessible loop out of Banff’s townsite.
The Toe 7.9 km loop
Starting Points: Hoodoos Parking Lot or Tunnel Mountain Campground. An exhilarating mix of challenging and exposed technical riding, long climbs and descents, and winding narrow single-track. It can be ridden in any direction, has some exceptional views and provides varied extensions to the main loop. This area is sensitive to both terrain and wildlife – please ride with care.
Mountain Biking in Canmore (East 1hr)
Canmore Nordic Centre Trail System (Great!!!)
Difficulty Rating: light to difficult
Distance: over 60 km of trails
Location: from Canmore, follow the signs from downtown.
Description: Designed and developed for the cross-country ski and biathlon events of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, the Canmore Nordic Centre offers you over 60 km of exhilarating trails, ranging from rolling doubletrack to plenty of steep and gnarly singletrack. A stop on the World Cup mountain bike circuit from 1998-2000, the Nordic Centre has challenged the world’s best riders. Rental bikes are available at Trail Sports in the Bill Warren Centre – they will also point you in the right direction of the trails, hone your skills with a lesson, or guide you around the area.
Goat Creek Trail
Difficulty Rating: moderate
Distance: 18 km to Banff
Elevation gain: minus 300 m
Time: 1 – 3 hours one way
Location: from Canmore, drive 9 km south on the Smith-Dorrien / Spray Trail (Hwy 742) which begins just past the Canmore Nordic Centre. Turn right into the parking lot, where you will find the trailhead.
Description: This is an exciting ride on a gravel and dirt doubletrack that is mostly downhill all the way to Banff. Leave a vehicle in Banff and another at the trailhead to make this an easy ride for the novice or the whole family.
Remark: This trail can be combined with the Rundle Riverside Trail to make a Mount Rundle loop ride of 48.4 km (a local’s favourite). The Rundle Riverside Trail runs from the Banff Springs Golf Course back to the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Mt. Shark Mountain Biking Trail System
Difficulty Rating: light to moderate
Elevation gain: 30 – 50 m
Time: anything from 0,5 hour to several hours
Location: from Canmore, drive 39 km south on the Smith-Dorrien / Spray Trail (Hwy 742) which begins just past the Canmore Nordic Centre. Turn right and continue 5 km to the Mount Shark parking lot, where you will find the trailhead.
Description: This system of trails offers scenic and rolling riding on wide gravel and cinder fire roads.
Kanannaskis Country Mountain Biking(East 1hr 15 min)
Baldy Pass – North Approach Mountain Biking Trail
Difficulty Rating: Difficult
Distance: 19.2 km return. Elevation gain: 620 metres. Time: 5 hours return.
Location: From Canmore, drive 35 km east on Highway 1 towards Calgary to the Highway 40 exit and drive south into Kananaskis Country. The trailhead is 7.8 km. south to the Sibbald Creek Trail (Highway 68) and 1.5 km to the Lust Creek Day Use area.
Description: The demanding climb to Baldy Pass from the north is via dirt roads through trees. Their are great views once you reach the pass.
Stoney Trail Mountain Biking Trail
Difficulty Rating: Light
Distance: 31 km return. Elevation gain: 50 metres. Time: 5 hours return.
Location: From Canmore, drive 35 km east on Highway 1 towards Calgary to the Highway 40 exit and drive south into Kananaskis Country. The trailhead is 9 km. south at the Barrier Dam Day Use area.
Description: A leisurely ride on gravel and dirt roads with very little elevation gain. At the trailhead at the Barrier Dam Day Use area, cross the dam and head through an aspen grove to the powerline.
Ribbon Falls Hiking / Mountain Biking Trail
Difficulty Rating: Medium
Distance: 16.5 km return. Elevation gain: 300 metres. Time: 7 hours return.
Location: From Canmore, drive 35 km east on Highway 1 towards Calgary to the Highway 40 exit and drive south into Kananaskis Country. The trailhead is 23 km. south at the Ribbon Creek Day Use area near Kananaskis Village.
Description: The trail follows along Ribbon Creek up a narrow valley to a view of Ribbon Falls. The medium grade and several waterfalls has made it a great hike for families, with the first 4 km open to mountain bikes. There is a campground for those wishing to make this an overnight hike. 2 hours further (1.8 km / 200 metre rise) is Ribbon Lake, which also has a campground. Note: This section is extremely strenuous with 3 chains that you must haul yourself up a cliff with.
Skogan Pass – North Approach Mountain Biking Trail
Difficulty Rating: Difficult
Distance: 16.5 km return. Elevation gain: 670 metres. Time: 5 hours return.
Location: From Canmore, drive 7 km east on Highway 1 towards Calgary and use Alpine Resort Haven exit. The trailhead parking lot is 1.25 km, just before the Resort.
Description: 200 metres from the trailhead use the left trail to the powerline and take the road to 1700 metres where the trail climbs steeply from here as it moves away from the powerlines. You will enjoy the great views of the Three Sisters Mountain.
If you need bike rentals please visit Wilsons Sporting Goods in Lake Louise: http://www.wmsll.com/ or if you have any questions please let us know.