Jasper to Banff Road Biking Trail
- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
The Jasper to Banff bike ride along the Icefields Parkway sits on many bucket lists. This multi-day route travels one of the most scenic roads in the world, taking you through almost untouched wilderness. Cell service and supply points are rare, so be sure to carry what you need for the trip. This is an especially great trip if you join a tour. We suggest a four-day itinerary for this trip.
For those who like convenience, check out the fully supported guided Jasper to Banff Road Biking Tour.
Our suggested itinerary is a four-day trip as follows:
- Jasper to Sunwapta Falls 56.0 km Sunwapta Falls to Saskatchewan River Crossing 98.0 km Bow Pass to Lake Louise 85.0 km Lake Louise to Banff/Canmore 60.0 km-85.0 km
You may alter this itinerary as you see fit. While we show a 4-day tour, there are cyclists that do this in 1 day, though a 2-day trip for fit cyclists is entirely doable.
There are a lot of factors that may define your trip planning and budget for this trip. We have found that riders joining a tour find a lot more joy on this trip, especially in poor weather. Riding with a tour is a logistic dream. Accommodations are booked, food is prepared, and your gear is shuttled by the support vehicle. Another bonus is that if you are not a local, bikes can be rented.
Many people ride self-sufficiently or with a friend in a support vehicle. Using a support vehicle can be helpful for securing accommodation if you are camping, as most of the campsites along the Parkway are first-come-first served. A support vehicle can also shuttle your gear and food, and act as an aid in case of emergency.
Riding completely self-sufficiently requires a lot of planning and experience. Your bike will be heavier as you will need to carry all of your food and gear for the entire route. We recommend staying at Wilderness Hostels or one of the few hotels along the route if you are going to do it yourself. Be warned that accommodations that require advanced booking tend to fill up fast for the summer months. Be equipped with an emergency device in the case you need assistance.
Starting in Jasper, head south towards a junction between the 93N and highway 16. Continue straight and merge onto the 93N, also known as the Icefields Parkway. You will be riding on a two-lane highway with a generous shoulder.
If you would like a more scenic bike ride for the next 30.0 km to Athabasca Falls, merge right onto the 93A, an older and less trafficked highway. Take in the incredible scenery as you head towards Sunwapta Falls, making day one a total ride of 56.0 km. You will be gaining and loosing elevation over the duration of the ride.
We suggest taking a rest and exploring the famed Athabasca Falls, which lies 30.0 km from Jasper . Take in the incredible falls while you enjoy a snack and a quick stretch before continuing on to Sunwapta Falls.
There are a few picnic areas with bathrooms if you need to take a pit stop between the two falls. If you are not planning to spend the night at Sunwapta Falls Resort, try your luck at first-come-first-served Honeymoon Lake, 4.0 km north of Sunwapta. Rest up, as you will be riding 98.0 km tomorrow.
Get an early start on your second day, as you will be covering a longer distance, and also gaining some significant elevation. After the first section of climbing, you will come to the second climb, which is longer, and steeper. Stop at Stutfield Glacier Viewpoint, and Tangle Falls Viewpoint to break up this lengthy climb.
After gaining a hill south of Tangle Falls, you’ll find yourself whizzing downhill towards the Glacier Discovery Centre. Stop here for lunch, and take in the incredible Athabasca Glacier and surrounding peaks. The Toe of the Athabasca Glacier hike is a great, and easy hike that takes you to a very nice viewpoint.
After fuelling up, descend south towards Parker Ridge, another great hike you could stop at if you want. From Parker Ridge, continue riding until your final stop for the day at Saskatchewan River Crossing. On your way, take in the incredible weeping wall after the “big bend”. Rest stops and picnic areas with restrooms appear along the route if you need a snack break. Each stop provides breathtaking views, so be camera ready!
If you will not be staying the night at The Crossing Resort, we suggest Rampart Creek Hostel (to be booked in advance), or Rampart Creek Campground (first-come-first-served). Rampart Creek accommodations lie 12.0 km north of The Crossing.
On your third day, you’ll be riding 85.0 km if following our itinerary. Have your camera handy, as you will be passing by some unbelievable roadside lakes.
After your first 20.0 km of the day, you’ll arrive at Waterfowl Lakes, which provide a quick photo opportunity. Expect memorable reflections on a clear day. Continue on to Bow Summit, where you can take a short walk to the celebrated Peyto Lake Viewpoint, a highlight for most visitors to the Rockies. Use this stop as an opportunity to stretch those legs, have a snack, and add to your photo library.
Continue on to Bow Lake, which is the perfect spot for lunch and a walk partway around Bow Lake. Head into the historic Num-Ti-Jah lodge for some food and enjoy it on the lakeshore. Take in the turquoise waters, and cool mountain breeze while you prepare for the second half of your day.
From Bow Lake, gradually descend towards a junction with the Trans-Canada Highway, and you’re 3.0 km from the town of Lake Louise. Congratulations, you have completed your bike ride on the famous Icefields Parkway, but the entire journey isn’t over yet!
Ride onto the Trans-Canada and you will come to the exit for Lake Louise Village, take this and turn right towards the stop sign. You will be able to ride to your accommodation from here.
There are more accommodation options in Lake Louise, however you will need to book almost a year in advance for the hotels, and immediately when the reservations open for the campground. Enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants in town, such as the Station Restaurant, or Bill Peyto’s Café.
In the evening, ride your bike or take a taxi up to Lake Louise and over to Moraine Lake. These are exceptional lakes to visit in the evening, as the crowds are greatly reduced.
Your final day will have you riding between 60.0 km and 85.0 km depending on your destination.
Start your day off with coffee and breakfast in the village at either Laggan’s Mountain Bakery, or Tralhead Café. Exit Samson Mall in the direction of the Husky Service Centre, turn right onto Village Road, at the stop sign take a left onto Lake Louise Drive, and continue over the Trans-Canada Highway until you reach the entrance to the Bow Valley Parkway on your right.
This scenic route along the Bow Valley Parkway offers plenty of photo opportunities, particularly at Morant’s Curve, east of Lake Louise. Try your luck of seeing a freight train and snap a perfectly composed photo here.
Continue on to Castle Mountain Junction, where you can break for lunch at the service station. Grab a coffee and a locally made treat inside!
Continue to ride east along the route, passing Johnston Canyon, and continuing to a junction with the Trans-Canada. Ride straight, meeting up with a small bike path in the woods. This is now the Legacy Trail. Enjoy the wooded trail until it opens up to stunning Vermilion Lakes Road. Welcome to Banff!
Once in Banff you can either park your bike and enjoy a well-deserved rest, or you could continue through Banff and onto the Legacy Trail to Canmore, or ride through town and head onto the Lake Minnewanka Loop to add some distance if Banff is your final destination.
- Finding accommodation along the Icefields Parkway is tough. Accommodations are either non-reservable, or sold out early in the year. Visitors often book up to a year in advance in Jasper and Lake Louise - so book early!
- We have noted the most appropriate accommodations along the route based on our itinerary. If you would like to lessen your kilometres, there are other options.
- You can take a bus from Banff to Jasper. Either Sun-Dog Tours or Brewster have daily bus services in summer. Confirm there is space for your bike before you book your space.
- You can rent high-quality road bikes at Banff Cycle.
- Keep your camera handy, as the opportunity for the photo of a lifetime is constantly whizzing by you.
- While the can be done on your own, it is really a joy to do on a tour. Check out the Tours on 10Adventures and join a group tour and enjoy a trip with a van support.
- Carry bear spray, as you could encounter wildlife at any moment.
Make your way to Jasper, preferably by travelling on the famous Icefields Parkway, which is where you will be riding for the bulk of the trip. Driving this road prior to your trip allows you to get a better idea of your route; an opportunity to check on your accommodations, and take in any extra activities and viewpoints you might not have time for on the ride. Check our insider tips for how to get a bus from Banff to Jasper.
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