Your Ultimate Guide to Biking the Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff

Written by
Staff Writer
May 10, 2024
Last Update
First Published on

Are you ready to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Canadian Rockies? Get set for an epic biking journey along the famous and scenic Legacy Trail, stretching from the charming town of Canmore to the renowned destination of Banff. In this guide, we'll unveil everything you need to know to make the most of your adventure on this picturesque route. So, grab your bike, pack your snacks and your sense of adventure, and let's hit the trail!

Why You Should Bike the Legacy Trail

We understand that visits to the Bow Valley can often be tight on time, but don’t skip this iconic escapade, especially if you’re an avid rider. The Legacy Trail offers an immersive journey through the heart of the Bow Valley, boasting amazing panoramic views. This scenic paved 26-kilometer (16 miles) trail from Canmore to Banff is perfect for stopping to capture images and serves as convenient transportation for exploring Banff Ave without worrying about parking. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist seeking adventure or a casual rider after some stunning scenery, the Legacy Trail is perfect for all.

Route Overview

The Legacy Trail spans approximately 26 kilometers (16 miles) of breathtaking mountain-scapes. Depending on how many times you stop to soak in the views or snap photos, the ride typically takes around an hour and 15 minutes from Canmore to Banff. With its mainly flat terrain, the trail is enjoyable for all skill levels. 

View the Legacy Trail route here.

Photo Source: Tourism Alberta Mountain Madness Tours

Planning Your Ride

When Should You Cycle?

The cycling season typically runs from late April to October, but be prepared for variable weather conditions, especially in the mountainous terrain. Riders should be aware that weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, and snow may still be present on the trail in April, May, and towards the end of October. We advise dressing in layers to adapt to changing temperatures, and be sure to bring gloves and a headband for cooler days. 

Photo Source: Banff Lake Louise Tourism | Paul Zizka

Where Can I Rent Bikes?

If you don’t have your own bike, don’t worry, there are several rental shops in Canmore and Banff where you can rent bikes and gear of all sizes and skill levels. Each rental shop offers exceptional gear along with the best local knowledge to ensure you have a fantastic biking experience. Here are a few options:
1. Gear Up Sport (Canmore)

2. Banff Adventures Unlimited (Banff)

3. Pedego (Canmore): For those looking to explore the Legacy Trail with a little extra assistance, Rocky Mountain E-Kruise offers electric bike rentals and tours.

Packing Essentials:

  • Water bottle and snacks to stay hydrated and fueled 
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses for sun protection
  • Repair kit for minor bike repairs (usually included with rentals)
  • First aid kit for emergencies
  • Appropriate layers (a rain jacket is always recommended 
  • Bear Spray

Getting There

The Legacy Trail is easily accessible from both Canmore and Banff, making it a breeze to start your ride from either town. If you're beginning in Canmore, head to the trailhead near the Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre. In Banff, you'll find the starting point near the Banff Train Station. Both trailheads offer convenient parking and facilities to kick off your adventure on the right pedal.

Photo Source: Tourism Alberta by Government of Alberta

Beyond Banff

You can cycle Highway 1A car-free from the exit closest to Banff to the halfway point on Highway 1A – Castle Junction. However, you can do that ONLY between May 1 to June 25 and from September 1 to September 30.

This is part of a three-year pilot project. Vehicle access will be restricted for the eastern 17 km of the parkway to allow for an enhanced cycling experience. 

Where to Stay in Canmore and Banff

For a downtown experience in Canmore, Lamphouse Hotel on Main Street offers modern accommodations and a new grab-and-go cafe, Electric Wolf. Electric Wolf is not only a convenient stop but also a great place to fuel up with a delicious coffee and meal before hitting the Legacy Trail or for a cold beer or glass of wine after a long ride.

Lamphouse Hotel, located next to Policeman's Boardwalk
Electric Wolf - Prosciutto & Buffalo Mozzarella

If you’re looking for a home-away-home with legendary hot tub views, consider Basecamp Resorts or Suites. For savvy travellers in search of a more traditional hotel style, Northwinds Hotel or Basecamp Lodge Canmore are excellent choices. 

For those looking to indulge in luxury and an exceptional experience, MTN House is the perfect destination. Home to Rhythm & Howl, Canmore’s culinary gem, guests can enjoy daily Happy Hour and a test kitchen menu curated by our award-winning chef, Jason Leizert. At MTN House, e-bike rentals and a town shuttle are also available for guests' convenience.

Basecamp Resorts Canmore
Photo Credit: The Rolling Van on Instagram at MTN House
Photo Credit: The Rolling Van on Instagram

For guests looking to stay in Banff, be sure to check out Basecamp Banff Suites, offering uniquely private accommodations with direct access to the world-famous Banff Avenue. Or Baker Creek for those in search of a rejuvenating secluded retreat. 

Rooftop Hot Tub at Basecamp Suites Banff
Baker Creek cabins

As you gear up for your Legacy Trail adventure, don't forget to consider Basecamp as your home base, as we have something for every traveler! Be sure to join our Explorer's Club for 15% cashback rewards on direct bookings. Subscribe to our email list for exclusive updates and deals. So grab your bike, pack your sense of adventure, and set off on an immersive journey through the Rockies!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest blog posts and other offers right to your inbox.

By subscribing you agree with our Privacy Policy.
Share this post

Recent Blogs

Subscribe and save 10% off your first stay

By clicking Subscribe you're confirming that you agree with our Terms and Conditions.