It is possible to connect from Canmore to Lake Louise through bike pathways, low volume side roads, and the Bow Valley Parkway to experience a variety of biking options that are pretty much limitless. The following are just a few of the possibilities.
2022 Biking Season: The Bow Valley Parkway will be closed to motorized traffic for a portion of this year. This is an amazing opportunity to cycle this historic route without having to worry about sharing the road with cars. Please check with Parks Canada to verify the timing of the closure. According to the latest press release (May 3, 2022) ‘the section of the Bow Valley Parkway east of Johnston Canyon to Banff will remain open to public vehicles EXCEPT from May 1 to June 25 and from September 1 to 30 in 2022, 2023 and 2024 where public vehicles will not be allowed (as part of the 3 year cycling pilot on the Highway 1A).’
Canmore through to Lake Louise : Two groups could leave from either end and then exchange keys as they pass on the Bow Valley Parkway. This avoids the downtime required for a car shuttle.
Note: As of June 3, 2021 the road surface is not as good as in past years. For the North gate to Summit route there are sections of rough pavement as well as a few herds of mountain sheep to contend with on your swift descent. Our current recommendation, is to do this route from the South gate to the Summit as the road is in better condition. On Sunday, June 12, 2021 there were cyclists reporting that it was snowing at the summit.
Spring/Summer/Fall 2022: Part of this route is closed to motor vehicle traffic this year which provides a unique opportunity to cycle the Bow Valley Parkway without any motor vehicle traffic. Check the Parks Canada website before heading out. As of the latest public notice (May 3, 2022) the section of the ‘Bow Valley Parkway east of Johnston Canyon to Banff will remain open to public vehicles EXCEPT from May 1 to June 25 and from September 1 to 30 in 2022, 2023 and 2024 where public vehicles will not be allowed (as part of the 3 year cycling pilot on the Highway 1A).’
All Creatures Great and Small!
Bow Valley Parkway cyclist reported both a black bear and a grizzly bear along the trail on the May long weekend. Be prepared and cycle in groups and bring your bear spray. CBC reported that Bow Valley Parkway cyclists are asked to mindful of salamanders crossing the road. So while you are scanning the horizon for the bears also take a look in your immediate road ahead for these little guys.
Ride Difficulty Rating – Beginner or Intermediate. The majority of this ride has grades less than 2%, and as an out and back you can always turn back at any point. It is a nice gradual uphill ride but just 5 km out from Lake Louise there is a steep uphill grade to the turn off to Lake Louise, then a steep downhill grade into town.
Distance – 111 km out and back
Estimated cycling time – 5.5 hours assuming 20 km/hr