A nice little bike ride between Banff and Canmore
The Banff Legacy trail is a paved bike path that connects Banff and Canmore. Although there are numerous places you can jump on the path I decided to start in Canmore so that it would be downhill on the return trip, cause I’m lazy. The three sisters and mount Rundle make an appearance in the background. Although you can see the parking lot is pretty much empty, I’m told during the summer it gets filled up pretty quickly.
And away we go leaving the town of Canmore. Fortunately, they have these handy signs in-case you forget where you are.
As you leave Canmore there is this sign about respecting slow trail users. Canmore is home to a large number of winter Olympic athletes so I imagine they use this trail for training fairly regularly. There must be some record times between the two towns on this path. I too would set a record but have to keep stopping to take pictures for you guys.
Cascade Mountain makes an appearance. The trail parallels the Trans Canada for most part. In a few places it gets pretty close to the highway. Here you are just one distracted tourist away from a pretty bad day.
There are numerous signs along the route so getting lost would be pretty challenging. Officially, the trail is 26.8Km in one direction but on this particular day I ended up riding about 65Km due to a couple side trips.
The Legacy trail was built in 2010 for the 125 anniversary of Banff national park. Despite many trail users stopping at Banff, the trail actually continues past Banff and keeps going. If you are feeling lazy, you can catch a bus ride back from Banff to Canmore as the buses have bike racks on them.
After the town of Banff the trail merges onto this road below the Trans Canada highway. In the winter the snow from the plows is pushed over this wall. That would be pretty exciting to have a ton of snow dumped onto you as you ride along.
The trail passed by the vermilion lakes where there is a nice bench and table to hang out at. As my luck would have it, this is where I got a flat tire, the first one I have ever got on this bike. Fortunately, I had a spare tube with me and was back in action in no time.
Although going in the early season ensures the path is quiet, there may also still be snow and ice in places. Here I had to carry my bike for 50 meters or so.
This is the actual end of the pathway. Why not reward your hard work by taking one of the two free hubcaps somebody has left here. You could potentially carry on from here riding down the side of the Trans Canada or 1A highways but I don’t trust tourists in rental cars awestruck by the scenery enough to take that on so I turned around.
On my return trip I decided to make a pit stop in Banff to pickup an extra tube for my bike, just in case. Mount Girouard makes an appearance as you cross the railway tracks leading into town.
You may be wondering why Banff is so empty? Its simply because I am on one of the side streets, I can assure you the main road in Banff was extremely busy, as usual.
These people may be waiting a while before they get to ride their bikes on the Legacy trail.
Inside the park, the TransCanada highway is lined with continuous fencing to prevent animals from getting hit by cars. In a few places, the bike path crosses threw this fencing. When this happens you have two options: 1) the gate on the left or 2) ride over the electrified mats on the right. Parks Canada describes the 10,000 volt mats as uncomfortable but not harmful. They also say it is a “no dismount area”. I’m just glad I didn’t get my flat tire here.
On the way back I made a detour by Cascade ponds as it makes a great spot to stop for lunch.
Of course, I have to make a stop of the famous red Adirondack chairs on the way back. Parks Canada has placed these chairs at strategic viewpoints throughout the park.
The appearance of the Three Sisters lets me know I’m getting close. It’s just a short ride to the parking lot in Canmore where I end the ride for the day.