Distance: 20 km (Canmore to Banff)
Time: 1 – 2 hrs
Elevation Gain: 185 m
Elevation Loss: 106 m
Technical Rating: Beginner
Physical Rating: Easy
Season: May – October
Permit Required: Yes (Park Pass)
The Banff Legacy Trail is now more commonly referred to as the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail since the extension from Canmore was established. Built to commemorate Parks Canada’s 125th anniversary, the first two legs of the trail were completed in the fall of 2010. It is a scenic three metre wide, 26 kilometre long, commuter trail connecting the small mountain town communities of Canmore and Banff. The route runs parallel to the highway and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. This is a great trail for families and cyclists of all abilities to enjoy.
The Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail survived the June 2013 floods and has since expanded! Minor damage was sustained near the west end of the trail as you near Banff Avenue, for which repairs are well underway. For now a safe ride-around option has been put in place, keeping users off the highway. The recent expansion to the trail means that cyclists can now safely park in Canmore and ride the trail out to Banff without having to get onto the highway (Trans-Canada Hwy 1) at any point. Begin your ride from Banff town centre or park at the Travel Alberta Visitor Centre (located on the south side of Hwy 1 on the west end of Canmore Service Road) and begin your ride from there. The Legacy Trail runs all the way to the Town of Banff with an option to continue on to Hwy 1A from Vermillion Lakes. This is a fantastic trail enjoyed by all, including cyclists, runners and rollerbladers.
The fourth and final leg of the Legacy Trail is in the works. This leg will take users from the Travel Alberta Visitor Centre all the way to the Canmore Nordic Centre. I’ve been told that the final extension is to be completed by 2016/2017.
If you’re looking to hitch a ride back to Banff or Canmore, after completing your one-way journey along the Legacy Trail, consider using the local Hike n’ Bike Shuttle. For a nominal fee they will transport you and your bike back to either town. Or as another alternative, there is always the Roam Bus connecting Banff to Canmore.
TRAILHEAD | N51 11.193 W115 33.197
Banff: Access the main leg of the Legacy Trail via the northeast end of Banff Avenue. Look for the trail to begin on the east side of Banff Avenue just past the Inns of Banff. The extension to the 1A starts on Vermilion Lake Road off of Mt. Norquay Road.
Canmore: Park at the Travel Alberta Visitor Centre, located on the south side of Hwy 1 on the west end of Canmore Service Road, and ride out from there.
N51 11.193 W115 33.197 (Banff Ave)
N51 06.303 W115 22.031 (Visitor Centre)
bikepirate rating: 3 Skulls