A great bike tour for the whole family
The Banff Legacy Trail also carries the name Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail. This is because the main part of the way leads through the famous mountain region, but also gives way to a unique view over the landscape of the Banff National Park. You cycle along the breathtaking giant mountains for over 26 kilometers, during which you will encounter a number of picnic places, perfect opportunities to rest and enjoy a fantastic panorama.
Two variations to choose from
If you want to start your bike tour in Banff city, you in principal have two choices for keeping on the Banff Legacy Trail. One is, to leave the city eastwards, in the direction of the gates of the National Park. You will cycle parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway to Canmore. Another option is to start westwards and cycle along the Vermilion Lakes until you finally reach the Bow Valley Parkway.
Tour direction Canmore
The eastern route to Canmore is roughly 20 kilometers long and starts in the city center of Banff, in so-called Banff Avenue. Follow this avenue eastwards and keep to the left shortly before the crossing with the Trans-Canada Highway. This way, you will avoid cycling along the high-traffic federal highway, by going parallel to it, which also presents a good orientation along your way. Soon afterwards, you will bump into the large spurs of the Bow River, which will also accompany you along your further journey. The Banff Legacy Trail ends near the Canmore Golf & Curling Clubs, so that you need to change onto the Bow Valley Trail to reach your destination Canmore.
Tour along the Lakes
The western route starts in Norquay Road in Banff. Follow the road for a little while in the direction of the Trans-Canada Highway and just before the highway crossing, turn left onto Vermilion Lakes Road. Keep on this road for the most part of your tour and, here also, stay mostly parallel to the west part of the Trans-Canada Highway. You will pass the Vermilion Lakes, which offer fantastic opportunities for taking a rest during your bike tour. Your final destination is the Bow Valley Parkway.
Where to eat
In Banff and as well in Canmore, you should find plenty of opportunities for getting a bite to eat during your cycle tour.
- With an overall length of 16 miles the bike trail is currently the longest bike trail in Canada available on TouriSpo.
- You're facing an uphill climb of 161 vertical meters on this bike trail. The track is therefore relatively flat. This makes the bike trail one of the 3 bike Trails with the most ascent in Canada. The bike trail takes you to an elevation of 4570 ft.
- The bike trail is one of the family friendly trails in the region.
- There are places to buy beverages and food along the track. However it’s always recommended to bring enough water and food along with you.
Highlights of the tour
The Banff Legacy Trail itself was established to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Canada, and was completed only in 2010. On both tracks, you will find highlights matching the anniversary, which make the tour something very special.
Cycling in the direction of Canmore, you will again and again pass small sections of the Bow River, and will in any case have a wonderful view over the landscape of the national park around you.
Cycling in the direction of Bow Valley Parkway, you should plan a stop at the Vermilion Lakes, because this lake scenery is truly a special sight.
What is more, the Banff Legacy Trail is a fantastic opportunity to combine a family outing with a unique, scenic routing. This cycle tour is a first class Canadian experience.
Given the two variations the Banff Legacy Trail offers, you are free to randomly combine them. For example, you could start in Canmore, and make your way back to Banff. From here, you have the possibility to continue the trail in the direction of the Vermilion Lakes.
If you decide for one of the two variations of the Banff Legacy Trail described above, each tour starts in the city Banff.
Coming from Calgary
Coming from Calgary, first follow the Bow Trail westwards out of town. At the crossing with the Sarcee Trail, turn right onto the Trail. After a short while, change onto the Trans-Canada Highway direction Banff and follow the highway for a total of 110 km, until you reach the actual exit to Banff. After the exit, keep left on Banff Avenue. This will take you directly to the city center.
Coming from Jasper
Should you start your trip in Jasper, follow the Connaught Drive westwards out of town and change already after a short while. You now cross the Yellowhead Highway and will find yourself on Icefields Parkway. Follow the Parkway for the next 285 km. It will take you through the Jasper as well as through parts of the Banff National Park. In the Lake Louise area, change on to the Trans-Canada Highway and shortly afterwards take the exit to Banff. Then, keep on Mt Norquay Road and after that change onto Gopher Street. It will lead you directly to the center of Banff.
Coming from Lethbridge
Coming from southern Lethbridge, take the Scenic Drive out of town and drive onto Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3). Follow the highway until Calgary. After about 18 km, make a slight right turn and follow the signs to Monarch/Vulcan. This will bring you onto Highway 23, which you follow until you get a chance to turn left direction Claresholm. After arriving in Claresholm, turn left and follow the signs direction Calgary/Nanton. You will now find yourself on Queen Elizabeth Highway (Highway 2). This will lead you first through Nanton, along the Silver Lake and further direction North. Keep right to get onto the Deerfoottrail and leave it again in the foothills of Calgary, exit Southland Drive. For a short period, keep on the street with the same name and then turn right onto Blackfoot Trail. This will bring you to the driveway of the Glenmore Trail, which you follow for about eight kilometers through town, and in the following onto the Sarcee Trail. Afterwards, change onto the Trans-Canada Highway direction Banff. After a further 110 km, you finally reach your destination.