Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1.5-3h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
48.9 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
156 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.0
Physical Difficulty
This 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.
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This 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.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama on Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff road biking route in the Canadian Rockies

The Legacy Trail is a classic bike route in Banff, connecting the nearby town of Canmore with Banff. This bike ride is mostly on dedicated bike path, and you’ll enjoy great views and a fun day out for the whole family.

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View Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff on Map

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Route Description for Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff

This is a popular trail, and for good reason. While you would think a ride along a bike path that parallels the Trans-Canada Highway would be quite mediocre, it’s actually a really fun trip. For a longer day, link this up with other routes and enjoy a great day in the Canadian Rockies.

If you’re out for a daytrip, you can park at the Travel Alberta Canmore Visitor Centre, just north of McDonalds on Bow Valley Trail, though be mindful that this parking lot fills up early. Another option is to park in Canmore, and ride out to the start of the Legacy Trail, which is what our map shows.

We invariably start at Beamer’s on Main Street for a quick espresso and often a snack to save for the bike ride. You’re also close to Rebound Cycle here, which is great for any last minute gear you may need.

From Beamer’s, cross Main Street (8th Street) and ride towards 10th Street, where you go right. You pass Communitea Café (another great Canmore institution) before you come to Railway Ave, and a traffic light.

Go left on Railway Ave, following the road as it curves to the right and heads north, eventually crossing over the railway tracks and coming to Bow Valley Trail, and another traffic light.

Go left again onto Bow Valley Trail; you will soon notice a bike trail on the left-hand side of the road. You can cross onto this trail at any crosswalk, and shortly you will pass by some service stations and a McDonald’s. The official trailhead for the Legacy Trail is across from the Visitor Centre, just up the road from McDonald’s.

From here, you’ll ride the Legacy trail for about 17.3 km, during which you’ll gain 135 m and lose 55 m.

As you get close to the turn-off for Banff, you’ll come to a junction, with a path to the right going under the Trans-Canada and onto Cascade Ponds, which is the jump-off point for a stunning loop around Lake Minnewanka. To stay on your original route, you will continue straight ahead as the path goes through a gate and then heads to the left and parallels Banff Avenue. You soon come to a stop sign at Banff Rocky Mountain Resort, with Tunnel Mountain Road going to your left.

Cross the road and continue to ride on the bike path for 1.9 km, until you reach another road going up to the left, just before the Inns of Banff Hotel.

At this point, cross Banff Avenue and continue heading west along Banff Avenue as you enter Banff and pass numerous hotels and restaurants.

Our map continues all the way to Wolf Street, where the Visitor Centre is a half-block further on. There is public washrooms on the NE corner of the intersection and a Mac’s convenience store to your right, down Wolf Street.

Return the way you came, if all goes well, you’ll have a strong tailwind, pushing you along the Legacy Trail. Be careful, as some of the turns come up pretty quick.

Insider Hints for Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff

  • If you only want to do this one-way, we suggest getting a taxi to Banff, or consider taking the great Roam bus service, you’ll want Route 3, which runs twice an hour from roughly 6am to 10pm.
  • The best snack in Banff for us is a slice of Pizza at Aardvark Pizza and Sub, on Caribou Street.
  • If you brought a snack and want a beautiful place to enjoy it, head farther along Banff Ave all the way to the Bow River, and take a break in Central Park, a great location to enjoy a break.
  • If you prefer to buy some healthy food for a snack, try Nesters Market on Bear Street.

Getting to the Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff Trailhead

You can ride this in either direction, but we prefer to start in Canmore, so the return trip is downhill with a wind at our back. The official trail starts at Travel Alberta Canmore Visitor Centre along Bow Valley Trail, though our map shows a start near Beamer’s coffee shop on Main Street in Canmore.

Route Information

  • Re-supply points

    None

  • When to do

    May - September

  • Toilets

    Banff, Canmore

  • Level of Car Traffic

    Low

  • Road Type

    Bike Path, Quiet Road

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff Elevation Graph

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Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff Reviews

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