Topp Notch Bike Trail
The Topp Notch trail is a great trail for those who know how to handle their bike and are looking for a moderate route close to town. This route is packed with small berms, well built switchbacks, and wooden features. It is one of the most popular trails in the Tunnel Bench area, but don’t worry, despite its popularity, you won’t run into too many people on the trail.
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Route Description for Topp Notch Bike Trail
The Topp Notch trail is a moderately difficult trail with some technical features, so be sure that you have a fair amount of bike handling skills before choosing this one. When you link this trail with Return of the Jedi, creatingfull circuit, you will need to be proficient in climbing. This is reserved for intermediate riders and older children only. There are many other trails in the area suitable for beginners.
This trail is one of the most exciting in the Tunnel Bench area as it is made up of some technical wood features, berms, and excellent single track descents. The trail was entirely hand-built over three years by volunteers. It is named after local legend Doug Topp who was the former president of the Bow Valley Mountain Bike Alliance. The best part of this trail is that it makes an excellent circuit that you can ride over and over all day long.
From Tunnel Mountain Road, you’ll find a 0.2 km side trail leading into the woods across from Otter Lane behind the Buffalo Mountain Lodge. This trail will connect to the signed trail for Topp Notch. Otherwise, you can take Tunnel Mountain Drive around Buffalo Mountain Lodge to the signed trail entrance where Topp Notch, Star Wars, and Return of the Jedi all meet.
Begin the trail with what the bike community calls a “squirrel catcher.” This is a technical feature meant to deter beginner riders from choosing this trail. If you can’t make the first feature, take the hint and turn around for the moderate neighbouring trail, Star Wars. If you are comfortable with this feature, keep going and enjoy the exhilarating descent.
The first kilometre of the trail features some rolling ups and downs laced with wooden bridges and berms. This section keeps riders alert before the main descent that blasts through the forest. You’ll come across technical switchbacks, pumpy berms, and exciting straightaways throughout the following two kilometres. This trail is extremely flowy and enjoyable if you can handle your bike. Expect to lap this over and over before heading home.
You’ll find that all the features are incredibly well-built and wide enough to accommodate intermediate blunders without any disasters. The final kilometre of the Topp Notch section winds down to a mellow grade and rolls right into Return of the Jedi, where you will begin your climb back to Tunnel Mountain Drive.
Return of the Jedi features switchbacks and a moderate grade that lead you back to the bench. Take another trip down Topp Notch if you are ready for a few laps.
Insider Hints for Topp Notch Bike Trail
- Ride directly from downtown to avoid trying to find parking.
- Take ROAM transit to or from Tunnel Mountain Road if your legs need a break. The busses are equipped with bike racks on the front.
- If you want to mix things up, try Star Wars for a warm up on your first descent, take Return of the Jedi on your way back up and take Topp Notch down for your second lap.
- Camping at Tunnel Mountain Campground will set you up for endless trail access along the Tunnel Bench.
- Head to Banff Ave Brew Co for a post-ride pint.
Getting to the Topp Notch Bike Trail Trailhead
Our route creates a loop with Return of the Jedi, which is a trail that climbs to the start of Topp Notch. You may begin the trail with a climb from Return of the Jedi, or start at the entrance to Topp Notch from Tunnel Mountain Road. Ride or shuttle up Tunnel Mountain Road from the town of Banff and find the entrance to Topp Notch across from the Buffalo Mountain Lodge. You will approach the Star Wars trail and continue 30 m past the entrance of Star Wars to find signs for Topp Notch. You will begin the trail here.
Topp Notch Bike Trail Elevation Graph
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Topp Notch Bike Trail Reviews
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