Best time to visit Banff & Jasper National Parks

Mountain Biking in Banff & Jasper National Parks 2024

Let’s be honest: biking in Banff is all about the scenery

Best time: May–October

Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking

Just imagine a cool early morning in summer. The air is crisp and the sun touching the tops of the Rocky Mountains gives them a golden glow. The air rushes past your ears as you ride your bike. Following the river, the road curves and as you finally crest the top, you take a look around. This might just be the most beautiful place you've ever seen! You can probably find more technical, longer, and faster trails - but you can’t duplicate the landscapes in Banff.

Banff National Park encourages the use of mountain bikes for the enjoyment of the park’s exciting views of alpine meadows, mountains, glaciers, broad valleys, and magnificent wildlife.

Biking in the Lake Louise region offers unforgettable views of protected landscapes featuring glaciers, mountains, lakes, and rivers. Plus, all of this treasure is accessible for novice and professional riders alike.

The gentle riverside trail of the Bow River Loop that hits both sides of the Bow River is ideal for families. It can be shortened if you cut across one of the bridges and is known to be a smooth track.

The moderate Pipestone dirt trail heads for the Pipestone Valley along the Pipestone River. It gives you the chance to witness various forms of wildlife. Cyclists are not permitted to exceed the speed limit at the 7.2 km point.

Ross Lake is one of the most challenging trails that goes from Banff to Yoho National Park. It dips through sub-alpine forests to a small lake against a dramatic rock. Expect to comply with horse traffic for the first 100 metres.

Biking in the Banff area transports riders to a unique outdoor experience that extends from May to October. You may also join a 4-day cycling tour between Jasper and Banff, which operates from June to late September.

Practical info

When is the best time to go mountain biking in Banff and Jasper National Parks?

Make the most of mountain biking in Banff and Jasper National Parks by visiting between May and October for great weather. For optimal cycling, early mornings in the summer provide a fresh and cool air. However, always prepare for rainy weather since the mountain climate can be unpredictable. Show more

What are the unique landscapes that can be seen while mountain biking in Banff and Jasper National Parks?

Protected landscapes are a delight for mountain bikers in Banff and Jasper National Parks, which include meandering rivers, glaciers, mountains, and lakes, as well as sub-alpine and alpine meadows. Wildlife is abundant, with elk, caribou, black bears, and grizzly bears on display. From broad valleys in Banff National Park to dramatic rocks and sub-alpine forests on the Ross Lake trail through Yoho National Park, the views are breathtaking. Show more

Where are the best trails for novice and professional riders in Banff and Jasper National Parks?

With trails suitable for all levels of experience, Banff and Jasper National Parks are a mountain biking paradise. Novice riders can enjoy the Bow River Loop with easy accessibility, gentle riverside pathway, and smooth riding. More experienced riders prefer the Pipestone dirt trail to view abundant wildlife en-route to the Pipestone Valley. The Ross Lake trail, while the most challenging trail in the parks, represents the optimal course for professional riders. Show more

Who is permitted to cycle in Banff National Park?

To support environmentally conscious mountain biking, Banff National Park has specific regulations permitting the use of mountain bikes. Cyclists using trails marked with a bike icon and avoiding hiking only paths can cycle. Park speed limits are 20 km/h, and the moderate Pipestone dirt trail's requirement is 7.2 km/h. A basic sense of caution around the abundant wildlife along routes should be exercised, in addition to following park guidelines. Show more

Is it possible to join a guided cycling tour from Jasper to Banff and when is it available?

From June to late September, Jasper to Banff four-day guided cycling tours are available. Led by professional tour guides who guide bikers through scenic and safe routes, visitors can enjoy a more structured, encapsulated, and informative journey through the magic of the parks. As the tours are in high demand, particularly during peak seasons, riders should book them in advance. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych