If you’re looking for something active to do out in the mountains, but hiking doesn’t seem to whet your appetite, and you have a need for speed, then consider biking the Legacy Trail between Canmore and Banff. Because it’s a paved trail set to the side of the highway, you can enjoy the same scenery and not worry about being sideswiped off the road. One of the great things about biking this trail is you can make it as strenuous as you want; perfect for a family ride with young kids or a great opportunity to practice your drafting skills with your buddies.
Trail Name: Legacy Trail
Trailhead: Start either in Canmore or Banff.
Canmore trailhead is right at the visitor centre next to the PetroCanada station. There is lots of parking in the visitor centre parking lot.
Banff trailhead is at the edge of town along Banff Avenue.
Elevation Gain: Neither direction is more uphill than the other, both have slight uphills and downhills. No problem when your bike has gears!
Distance: 24km one way
Time Required: ~45min to ~1.5hrs (one way), depends on your biking speed
Recommended Equipment: Bicycle (both a road or mountain bike are acceptable, a road bike will make the trail much faster but leave your butt a little bit more sore), helmet, sunglasses, water and snacks. A spare tube and pump is always smart to bring, flat tires always seem to happen at the most inconvenient times. If you don’t have any bikes, plenty of places in Canmore offer bike rentals such as Sports Experts and Trail Sports (road bikes also available for rent) for about $45/day.
I usually start at the Canmore end and bike towards Banff for lunch. If you get to Banff/Canmore and decide that one direction was enough for you, you can take the Banff to Canmore transit bus! An adult ticket is $6 and a child ticket is $3. Busses come every hour, making it an easy return option for those tuckered out from the ride.
The legacy trail is also a great return option for the Goat Creek Mountain Biking Trail (mountain biking review coming soon). Since Goat Creek Trail has about a 1,000ft elevation drop from Canmore to Banff, biking back on it is considerably harder and returning via Legacy Trail keeps your day in the enjoyable zone.
Whatever your riding skills, the Legacy Trail is a great opportunity to get out in the mountains and enjoy a day with friends or family. Plus the workout to Banff and back makes the Cows ice cream taste all the better! Happy riding!