Parks Canada closed the Highway due to COVID. Makes for a great bike ride.

Quick Stats

  • Distance: 53Km (depends on route)
  • Height Gain: 437m
  • Round Trip Time: 3h4m
  • Surface Type: Paved
  • Weapon of Choice: Road bike (or anything with wheels really)
  • Resources: Google Maps, Parks Canada Website
Along the Bow Valley Parkway (1A) are some very popular tourist attractions like Johnson Caynon and the fireside picnic area. In order to reduce crowding during COVID, Parks Canada closed the 1A to vehicles (Exception being if you had reservations at the hotels along the road). You can however take your bike, skateboard etc…
The 1A is an incredible place to ride a bike. I wouldn’t normally ride it however, as you are just one awe-struck tourist away from a very bad day. With the road closed to cars, this is no longer a concern, making for a very nice place to ride a bike.
Today, we are traveling from the side of the 1A closest to Banff, we will head toward Lake Louise and then back. You can also park at the other side and do this trip in reverse. The parking lots fill up very quickly, so get there early (or late).
Along the way are numerous opportunities to stop and soak in the scenery. The café at Johnson Canyon is still open so you can stop in for a delicious snack if that is your jam.
In places, the highway splits and becomes one lane. I know this is tricky, but try to stay on the right side. Some people seemed to struggle with this concept.
As I mentioned earlier, they do allow a very select few vehicles on the road. Although you rarely see them, keep your eyes peeled for cars on the highway.
When you hit the road block on the North end, you can turn around and take the same route back to the beginning. Or you can also keep going to Lake Louise, but you are sharing the road with distracted tourists driving rental cars on the way there. Not my idea of fun.
Rumor is, this road closure was so popular they are going to do it again in 2021. We shall see. 2021 update – the rumors are true.
Again, spectacular place to go for a bike ride.
The view from the side of the road.
As you leave the 1A, you pass under the giant “Thank you” sign; Very Canadian.
Of course, you are a biking machine and want to keep going. Good news! You can connect to the Banff legacy pathway and ride all the way to Canmore. More on the legacy path here: https://www.tripbagger.com/2019/04/07/shawn-bags-the-banff-legacy-trail/

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