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Cycling The Legacy Trail Between Banff And Canmore, Alberta


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Hermine Penrod



Welcome to the breathtaking Alberta Rockies, where nature’s beauty unfolds at every turn. If you’re an avid cyclist or simply looking to explore the stunning Canadian landscape, the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore is a must-visit destination. This scenic cycling route offers an exhilarating experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the jaw-dropping vistas, encounter local wildlife, and discover charming towns along the way.


The Legacy Trail is a 22-kilometer (14-mile) paved pathway that connects the world-famous Banff National Park with the vibrant town of Canmore. It follows the historic Highway 1A, which has now been transformed into a dedicated cycling route, providing a safe and enjoyable journey for riders of all levels of experience.


Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist seeking an adrenaline-fueled adventure or a leisurely rider in search of a tranquil escape, the Legacy Trail promises to satisfy your cravings for outdoor exploration. From the towering peaks of the Rockies to the lush meadows and crystal-clear rivers, this trail showcases the unspoiled beauty of Alberta’s natural wonders.


In this article, we will guide you through planning your trip, offer tips on getting to Banff, provide details on renting bicycles, highlight the trail’s features and attractions, and share essential safety guidelines. So, grab your helmet, hop on your bike, and prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey along the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore.


The Legacy Trail: A Scenic Cycling Route

The Legacy Trail is a cycling route that offers an unrivaled opportunity to soak in Alberta’s natural splendor while enjoying a leisurely bike ride. With its well-maintained pavement and stunning surroundings, this trail is perfect for cyclists of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply seeking a refreshing outdoor experience, the Legacy Trail has something to offer everyone.


Stretching between Banff and Canmore, the Legacy Trail winds its way through breathtaking mountain landscapes, picturesque valleys, and serene alpine meadows. As you pedal along the route, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of majestic snow-capped peaks, sparkling rivers, and dense forests teeming with wildlife. It truly is a visual feast for the senses.


One of the highlights of the Legacy Trail is its accessibility. Starting from Banff, the trail gently descends towards Canmore, making it an enjoyable and relatively easy ride for both casual cyclists and families with children. Along the way, you’ll find several rest stops, picnic areas, and viewpoints where you can take a break, snap some photos, and marvel at the awe-inspiring vistas.


In addition to its natural beauty, the Legacy Trail also offers a cultural experience. Along the route, you’ll encounter historical landmarks and interpretive panels that tell the stories of the Indigenous people and early settlers who once called this area home. These fascinating insights into Alberta’s rich heritage add depth and meaning to your cycling adventure.


As you pedal through the tranquil surroundings, keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that calls this region home. From grazing elk and nimble mountain goats to majestic bighorn sheep and elusive black bears, the Legacy Trail offers numerous opportunities for wildlife sightings. Remember to observe these creatures from a safe distance and never feed or approach them.


Whether you choose to ride the entire length of the Legacy Trail or opt for shorter sections, this scenic cycling route promises an unforgettable experience. So, dust off your bicycle, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to embark on a journey along the Legacy Trail, where nature and cycling seamlessly converge.


Planning Your Trip

Before you embark on your cycling adventure along the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore, it’s important to do some careful planning to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here are some key factors to consider when planning your journey:


Season: The best time to cycle the Legacy Trail is during the warmer months, typically from May to September. During this period, the weather is milder, and the trail is free from snow and ice. However, keep in mind that the summer months can be busier with tourists, so if you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring or fall.


Duration: How long you spend cycling the Legacy Trail depends on your pace and level of fitness. On average, it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the entire trail one way. However, there is no rush, and you can take your time to stop, explore, and admire the stunning scenery along the way. Consider planning for a full day to fully experience the trail and its attractions.


Accommodation: If you’re not a local resident, you may need to arrange accommodation in Banff or Canmore. Both towns offer a wide range of options, from luxury hotels and cozy bed and breakfasts to campgrounds for those who prefer the great outdoors. It’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.


Transportation: Getting to Banff, the starting point of the Legacy Trail, can be done by car or public transportation. The nearest international airports are Calgary International Airport (YYC) or Edmonton International Airport (YEG). From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to Banff. Alternatively, you can take a scenic drive from Calgary to Banff, which takes approximately 1.5 hours.


Equipment: If you don’t have your own bicycle, there are several bike rental shops in Banff and Canmore that offer a range of bikes to suit your needs. Make sure to rent a bike that is comfortable and suitable for the trail’s terrain. Additionally, pack essential cycling gear such as a helmet, repair kit, water bottle, and appropriate clothing for changing weather conditions.


Trail Information: Familiarize yourself with the trail’s features and attractions before setting off. The Legacy Trail is well-marked with signage, and there are informative interpretive panels along the route that provide insight into the area’s natural and cultural heritage. You can also find detailed trail maps online or at the visitor centers in Banff and Canmore.


With proper planning, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable cycling trip along the Legacy Trail. Take the time to consider these factors, make necessary arrangements, and get ready for an adventure that will leave you in awe of the stunning Canadian Rockies.


Getting to Banff

Banff, the gateway to the Legacy Trail, is easily accessible from various locations, whether you’re coming from within Canada or traveling internationally. Here are some options for getting to Banff:


By Air: The closest international airports to Banff are Calgary International Airport (YYC) and Edmonton International Airport (YEG). Calgary International Airport is the most convenient option, as it is only a scenic 1.5-hour drive to Banff. From the airport, you can rent a car, take a shuttle service, or book a private transfer to reach Banff.


By Car: If you prefer a road trip, Banff is easily accessible by car. If you’re driving from Calgary, take the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) westbound and follow the signs to Banff. The drive offers stunning mountain views and takes approximately 1.5 hours, depending on traffic and weather conditions. If you’re traveling from Edmonton, the drive takes around 4 hours.


By Bus: Several bus companies offer transportation services between Calgary and Banff. The most popular option is the Roam Transit’s “On-It” Regional Transit service, which operates between downtown Calgary and Banff. This is a convenient and affordable option if you prefer not to drive.


By Train: Banff does not have a train station, but you can take a train to nearby Jasper and then embark on a picturesque drive along the Icefields Parkway to Banff. The VIA Rail service operates between Vancouver and Jasper, offering stunning views of the Canadian Rockies along the way.


By Shuttle Service: If you prefer not to drive or navigate public transportation, shuttle services are available from Calgary International Airport to Banff. These services offer convenient door-to-door transportation and are a popular choice for visitors.


Once you arrive in Banff, you can easily explore the town and prepare for your cycling adventure along the Legacy Trail. Banff offers a wide range of amenities, including accommodation, dining options, and outdoor gear rental shops, ensuring you have everything you need for a fantastic trip.


Remember to check the current travel requirements and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic before making your travel plans. It’s always a good idea to stay updated on any travel advisories or guidelines issued by the local authorities.


With several transportation options available, getting to Banff is a breeze, allowing you to focus on the exciting journey that awaits you along the Legacy Trail.


Renting Bicycles

If you don’t have your own bicycle or prefer not to travel with one, renting a bicycle in Banff or Canmore is a convenient option for exploring the Legacy Trail. There are several bike rental shops in both towns that offer a variety of bikes to suit different riding preferences and skill levels. Here’s what you need to know about renting bicycles for your Legacy Trail adventure:


Rental Options: Most bike rental shops in Banff and Canmore offer a range of rental options, including mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, electric bikes (e-bikes), and tandem bikes. Consider your riding comfort, skill level, and the type of terrain you’ll encounter along the trail when selecting your rental bike.


Rental Duration: Bike rental shops typically offer flexible rental durations to suit your needs. You can rent a bike for a few hours, a full day, or even multiple days if you plan to explore the area further. Ensure you check the rental shop’s policies regarding pick-up and return times, as well as any additional charges for late returns.


Reservation: It’s a good idea to make a reservation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. This ensures that the bike you want is available and saves you time upon arrival. Check the rental shop’s website or give them a call to make your reservation and inquire about any specific requirements or discounts available.


Cost: The rental cost varies depending on the type of bike and duration of rental. Prices typically range from around $25 to $80 per day. Some shops may offer discounted rates for multi-day rentals or packages that include accessories such as helmets, locks, and bike racks. Be sure to clarify the rental rates and any additional charges before finalizing your booking.


Accessories and Services: In addition to bicycles, most rental shops offer a range of accessories to enhance your cycling experience, such as helmets, locks, child trailer attachments, and panniers for carrying your belongings. Some shops also provide basic repair kits and roadside assistance services, ensuring you’re prepared for any contingencies along the trail.


Customer Reviews: Before choosing a bike rental shop, it’s worth reading customer reviews to get insight into their customer service, bike quality, and overall experience. Websites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews can provide valuable information from previous customers to help you make an informed decision.


Once you’ve rented your bike, take the time to familiarize yourself with its features and ensure it is properly adjusted for your comfort and safety. Familiarize yourself with the bike’s gears, brakes, and handling characteristics before setting off on the Legacy Trail.


With a rented bicycle, you’ll have the freedom to explore the Legacy Trail at your own pace, enjoying the stunning scenery and natural wonders of the Canadian Rockies. So, gear up, hop on your rental bike, and get ready to create lasting memories along the Legacy Trail.


Trail Details and Highlights

The Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore offers a delightful cycling experience, showcasing the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Canadian Rockies. Here are some important details and highlights of the trail to help you make the most of your journey:


Trail Length: The Legacy Trail spans approximately 22 kilometers (14 miles) in total, stretching from the outskirts of Banff to Canmore. This distance offers a manageable and enjoyable ride for cyclists of all levels of experience.


Terrain: The trail follows the gently rolling terrain of the Bow Valley, with a gradual descent from Banff to Canmore. The paved pathway is well-maintained and is suitable for hybrid bikes, mountain bikes, and even e-bikes. Be prepared for occasional inclines and curves along the route.


Scenic Views: One of the highlights of the Legacy Trail is the breathtaking scenery that unfolds with every pedal stroke. Throughout the journey, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of towering peaks, lush forests, pristine rivers, and expansive meadows. Keep your camera handy to capture the awe-inspiring landscapes.


Wildlife Spotting: The Legacy Trail passes through an area teeming with wildlife, offering opportunities to spot various species in their natural habitat. Keep a lookout for elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and even black bears along the trail. Remember to observe wildlife from a safe distance and never feed or approach them.


Rest Stops and Picnic Areas: Along the Legacy Trail, you’ll find several designated rest stops and picnic areas where you can take a break, have a picnic, or simply soak in the surroundings. These spots provide a chance to refuel, rest your legs, and take memorable photos.


Historical Landmarks: As you cycle along the trail, you’ll encounter interpretive panels and historical landmarks that offer insights into the area’s rich cultural heritage. Take the time to read these panels and learn about the Indigenous history and the stories of the early settlers who shaped this region.


Midpoint: Canmore: Halfway along the trail, you’ll reach Canmore, a vibrant and charming town nestled in the shadows of the mountains. Canmore offers a range of amenities, including restaurants, cafes, and shops. Take a break to explore the town and savor its unique charm before continuing your cycling adventure.


Views of Bow River: One of the striking features of the Legacy Trail is the opportunity to cycle alongside the beautiful Bow River. The river’s turquoise waters meander through the valley, providing a serene and picturesque backdrop to your journey.


As you embark on the Legacy Trail, take the time to savor these details and highlights. Immerse yourself in the stunning vistas, pause to appreciate the wildlife, and embrace the rich history of the area. This trail offers a truly unforgettable cycling experience that will leave you with lifelong memories of the Canadian Rockies.


Starting Point: Banff

As you begin your cycling adventure along the Legacy Trail, Banff serves as the perfect starting point. This picturesque mountain town, located within Banff National Park, is not only the gateway to the trail but also a destination in itself. Here’s what you need to know about Banff to kick off your journey:


Exploring the Town of Banff: Before you hit the trail, take some time to explore the town of Banff. Stroll along Banff Avenue, the main street lined with shops, galleries, and restaurants. Discover local boutiques, gift shops, and art galleries where you can find unique souvenirs or enjoy a delicious meal.


Banff National Park Information Centre: Located in the heart of Banff, the Banff National Park Information Centre is a great place to gather information about the area. Speak with the knowledgeable staff, pick up trail maps, and learn about wildlife safety and conservation efforts in the park.


Facilities and Services: Banff offers a range of amenities to ensure your cycling adventure starts off on the right foot. You’ll find bike rental shops, outdoor gear stores, and cycling tour operators where you can rent equipment, purchase supplies, or join guided tours if you prefer a more immersive experience.


Sightseeing Opportunities: If time permits, consider visiting some of the iconic attractions near Banff. Ride the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain for breathtaking panoramic views, take a dip in the Banff Upper Hot Springs to relax your muscles, or explore the stunning Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, known for their turquoise waters and picturesque landscapes.


Local Cuisine: Banff boasts a thriving culinary scene, offering a variety of dining options to suit every palate. From cozy cafes and pub fare to fine dining restaurants, you’ll find an array of choices to satisfy your appetite after a day of cycling. Don’t forget to try some Canadian classics, such as poutine and Alberta beef!


Preparation and Safety: Before setting off on the trail, ensure you have all the necessary gear and equipment for a safe and enjoyable ride. Double-check your bike’s condition, wear a properly fitted helmet, carry essential supplies such as water, snacks, and a basic repair kit, and dress appropriately for changing weather conditions.


With its stunning surroundings, amenities, and attractions, Banff is the perfect starting point for your Legacy Trail adventure. Take the time to explore the town, immerse yourself in its natural beauty, and embrace the excitement of the journey ahead. So, hop on your bike, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and set off on an unforgettable cycling experience through the Canadian Rockies!


Exploring the Town of Banff

The town of Banff, nestled within the breathtaking Banff National Park, offers a charming and vibrant atmosphere that is worth exploring before you embark on your Legacy Trail adventure. Here are some highlights and recommendations for making the most of your time in Banff:


Banff Avenue: The main street of Banff, Banff Avenue, is a bustling hub filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Take a leisurely stroll along this picturesque avenue and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere. Browse through the local boutiques, art galleries, and souvenir shops, where you’ll find unique treasures and gifts to commemorate your visit.


Banff National Park Information Centre: Located on Banff Avenue, the Banff National Park Information Centre is a valuable resource for planning your journey. Stop by to gather information about the park, including trail maps, safety tips, and up-to-date information about wildlife sightings and closures.


Indigenous Culture: Banff is situated on the traditional territory of the Indigenous Peoples and is a place of rich Indigenous history and culture. Engage in local Indigenous experiences, such as guided tours and cultural exhibitions, to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the land and its heritage.


Cafés and Restaurants: Banff boasts a diverse culinary scene, offering a wide range of dining options to suit every taste. From cozy cafés that serve delightful pastries and specialty coffees to fine dining establishments showcasing Canadian cuisine, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Don’t miss the opportunity to try Alberta’s famous beef or indulge in a mouthwatering maple syrup-infused treat.


Bow River Walk: Enjoy a pleasant stroll along the Bow River, which flows through Banff. The Bow River Walk provides a peaceful escape from the bustle of the town and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Take a moment to soak in the serenity of nature while keeping an eye out for local wildlife that may visit the riverbanks.


Banff Park Museum National Historic Site: Explore the Banff Park Museum, a National Historic Site, located on Banff Avenue. This museum showcases a collection of natural history specimens, including wildlife, minerals, and fossils. Discover the fascinating biodiversity of the area and gain insight into the ecological wonders of the Rocky Mountains.


Outdoor Activities: If you have some extra time to spare in Banff, consider participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, or white-water rafting. Banff National Park offers an abundance of natural wonders and thrilling adventures for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.


By taking the time to explore the town of Banff, you’ll not only enhance your understanding of the region but also immerse yourself in its vibrant atmosphere. Enjoy the local cuisine, browse the shops, engage in cultural experiences, and take in the natural beauty that surrounds you before embarking on your Legacy Trail adventure.


Scenic Views along the Legacy Trail

As you cycle along the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore, be prepared to be awe-struck by the spectacular scenic views that surround you. This picturesque route offers a visual feast of natural beauty that will leave you breathless. Here are some of the stunning vistas you can expect to encounter along the way:


Majestic Mountains: The Legacy Trail is nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, offering unparalleled views of towering peaks that dominate the landscape. As you pedal, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of rugged mountains, including Cascade Mountain, Mount Rundle, and the iconic Three Sisters. The dramatic silhouettes of these majestic mountains against the endless blue sky create a breathtaking backdrop.


Sparkling Rivers: The Legacy Trail takes you alongside the glistening Bow River, with its crystal-clear waters meandering through the valley. The sight of the river flowing serenely against the backdrop of the majestic mountains is simply captivating. Take a moment to pause and appreciate the soothing sounds of the rushing water as you cycle alongside its banks.


Lush Forests: The Legacy Trail winds its way through an enchanting forest of evergreen trees, creating a serene and immersive experience. The tall pines and spruces create a natural canopy, providing shade and a cool respite on warmer days. The scent of the forest and the gentle rustling of leaves will transport you into nature’s embrace.


Open Meadows: As you pedal along the trail, you’ll encounter expansive meadows dotted with wildflowers, creating a kaleidoscope of colors. These open spaces offer stunning views and a sense of tranquility as you cycle through the vibrant green fields. Keep an eye out for grazing wildlife, such as elk or deer, which may be spotted in these peaceful meadows.


Reflection Lakes: Along the Legacy Trail, you’ll find several tranquil lakes that perfectly mirror the surrounding mountains. These reflection lakes, such as Johnson Lake and Vermilion Lakes, offer picture-perfect opportunities to capture the beauty of the landscape. Pause and marvel at the serene symmetry as the mountains and sky are mirrored on the glassy surface of the water.


Bridge Crossings: The Legacy Trail features several charming bridges that span picturesque rivers and creeks. As you cross these bridges, take a moment to stop and appreciate the stunning views that unfold beneath you. The combination of the bridge’s architectural beauty and the surrounding natural scenery creates a captivating juxtaposition.


Changing Seasons: Depending on the time of year you visit, the scenery along the Legacy Trail transforms with the changing seasons. In the spring, witness the bloom of wildflowers and the awakening of nature. In the fall, be treated to a vibrant display of autumn colors as the leaves turn shades of gold, orange, and red. No matter when you ride, the beauty of the landscape will leave an indelible impression.


As you cycle along the Legacy Trail, make sure to take the time to soak in the scenic views surrounding you. Pause at designated lookout points, rest stops, or picnic areas to fully appreciate the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Each turn of the pedal will reveal a new panorama to captivate your senses and create lasting memories.


Wildlife Spotting Opportunities

One of the most remarkable aspects of cycling the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore is the abundance of wildlife that calls this region home. As you pedal through the stunning Canadian Rockies, keep your eyes peeled for unforgettable wildlife encounters. Here are some tips and opportunities for spotting the remarkable creatures that inhabit this area:


Elk and Deer: The Legacy Trail passes through habitats favored by elk and deer, making sightings of these majestic animals quite common. Keep a lookout as you cycle, especially during the early morning or evening when they are more active. Look for them grazing in open meadows or moving through the forested areas lining the trail.


Bighorn Sheep: The rugged slopes and rocky cliffs alongside the Legacy Trail provide an ideal habitat for bighorn sheep. These iconic animals have a distinctive appearance with their curved horns and impressive agility. Scan the cliffs and rocky outcrops as you cycle, as bighorn sheep often perch themselves in high places, surveying their surroundings.


Black Bears: While it’s an incredible experience to spot a black bear along the trail, it’s important to remember they are wild animals. If you do come across a black bear, observe from a safe distance and never approach them. Be alert and listen for any bear safety advisories or warnings from the park authorities.


Small Mammals: As you cycle through the forests and meadows along the Legacy Trail, you may also spot smaller mammals such as ground squirrels, marmots, and chipmunks scurrying about. Keep an eye out for their playful antics and be sure not to feed them, respecting their natural behavior.


Birdwatching: The Legacy Trail is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts, with numerous bird species that thrive in the region. Listen for the melodic calls and look for flashes of color in the trees and skies above. Common bird sightings include Clark’s nutcrackers, mountain bluebirds, and various species of woodpeckers.


Conservation and Safety: When observing wildlife along the Legacy Trail, it’s essential to do so responsibly and with respect for their natural habitat. Remember to maintain a safe distance from all wildlife, never feed them, and avoid any actions that could disturb their natural behavior. Follow the park’s guidelines and pay attention to any posted signs regarding wildlife sightings or trail closures.


Binoculars and Cameras: Consider bringing binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens to enhance your wildlife spotting experience. Binoculars allow you to observe wildlife from a distance without disturbing their natural behavior. Capture stunning photographs while ensuring the animals’ well-being and minimizing any impact on their environment.


The Legacy Trail provides ample opportunities to witness and appreciate the diverse wildlife that inhabits the Canadian Rockies. As you cycle, remember to be patient and observant, as wildlife sightings can be unexpected and fleeting. Embrace the excitement of potential encounters, and let the beauty of nature unfold before your eyes.


Rest Stops and Picnic Areas

As you embark on your cycling adventure along the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore, there are several designated rest stops and picnic areas that provide the perfect opportunity to take a break, relax, and refuel. These well-placed facilities offer much-needed respite along the trail, allowing you to fully enjoy the surrounding beauty. Here are some highlights of the rest stops and picnic areas you’ll encounter:


Spectacular Views: Many of the rest stops and picnic areas along the Legacy Trail offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lush forests, or serene rivers. Take a moment to pause and soak in the stunning vistas, capturing the beauty of nature with your eyes or through the lens of your camera.


Bench Seating and Picnic Tables: Rest stops along the trail are equipped with bench seating and picnic tables, providing comfortable places to sit, relax, and enjoy a snack or picnic lunch. Stretch your legs, take a few deep breaths of fresh mountain air, and savor the tranquility of your surroundings.


Shaded Areas: Some rest stops and picnic areas are nestled under the shade of towering trees, allowing you to escape the sun on warm days. These shaded areas provide a cool spot to rest, recharge, and seek respite from the midday heat.


Interpretive Panels: Throughout the trail, you’ll come across informative interpretive panels that provide insights into the natural and cultural history of the area. These panels offer fascinating facts about the wildlife, geology, and significant landmarks along the Legacy Trail, adding educational value to your journey.


Restroom Facilities: Rest stops along the Legacy Trail are equipped with restroom facilities, ensuring basic amenities are available for your comfort and convenience. Take advantage of these facilities to freshen up, use the restroom, or refill your water bottles.


Water Fountains: Some rest stops and picnic areas also offer water fountains or taps where you can refill your water bottles. Staying hydrated is essential during physical activities, and these hydration stations make it easy to quench your thirst.


Gathering Areas: The rest stops and picnic areas along the trail provide opportunities for cyclists and visitors to connect and share experiences. Strike up a conversation with fellow riders, exchange trail stories, or simply enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded individuals who share a love for outdoor adventures.


Waste Receptacles: Help keep the Legacy Trail clean and pristine by utilizing the waste receptacles provided at the rest stops and picnic areas. Dispose of any trash responsibly to preserve the natural beauty of the surroundings for future visitors to enjoy.


Rest stops and picnic areas along the Legacy Trail allow you to recharge and fully appreciate the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Take advantage of these amenities, indulge in a leisurely picnic, or simply sit back and appreciate the serenity of your surroundings. These well-placed stops ensure that your journey is not just about the destination, but the rewarding experiences along the way.


Midpoint: Canmore

As you reach the midpoint of your Legacy Trail journey between Banff and Canmore, you’ll encounter the vibrant town of Canmore. Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Canmore offers a charming blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and a welcoming community atmosphere. Here’s what you can expect to discover in Canmore:


Exploring the Town: Canmore boasts a lively downtown area that is perfect for exploration. Stroll along Main Street, lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. Discover unique souvenirs, original artworks, and enjoy a delicious meal at one of the local eateries.


Dining and Shopping: Canmore offers a diverse range of dining options to satisfy every palate. From casual eateries serving locally inspired dishes to upscale restaurants showcasing international cuisine, you’ll find a wealth of culinary delights to indulge in. After a day of cycling, treat yourself to a well-deserved meal and savor the flavors of the region.


Outdoor Activities: Canmore is an adventurer’s paradise, offering a multitude of outdoor activities for all levels of enthusiasts. If you still have energy to spare, explore the network of hiking trails that surround the town, ranging from easy walks to more challenging summits. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, consider rock climbing, mountain biking, or whitewater rafting.


Canmore’s Natural Attractions: Take advantage of your time in Canmore to explore the natural wonders that surround the town. Just minutes away, you’ll find beautiful lakes such as Quarry Lake and Grassi Lakes, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim or a leisurely picnic. The stunning scenery of the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park is also worth exploring, with its network of trails perfect for hiking or mountain biking.


Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre: Learn about the rich history and geology of the area at the Canmore Museum, located in the heart of town. Discover the town’s coal mining heritage, explore exhibitions on the local environment, and delve into the cultural and geological significance of the Canadian Rockies.


Relaxation and Wellness: After a day of cycling, treat yourself to some relaxation and rejuvenation. Canmore is renowned for its spas, wellness retreats, and yoga studios, offering a range of treatments and classes to help you unwind and reenergize. Indulge in a massage, practice yoga amidst the beautiful mountain backdrop, or soak in a hot tub to soothe your muscles.


With its mix of scenic beauty, outdoor activities, and welcoming community, Canmore provides a perfect midpoint stop during your Legacy Trail journey. Soak in the vibrant atmosphere, embrace the natural wonders, and recharge before continuing your cycling adventure to complete the trail.


Exploring the Town of Canmore

As you reach the town of Canmore during your Legacy Trail journey, you’ll discover a charming and picturesque mountain town that offers a wonderful blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and a vibrant community. Here’s what you can explore and experience in Canmore:


Downtown Canmore: Start your exploration by wandering through the vibrant downtown area of Canmore. The Main Street is lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes, perfect for leisurely browsing and finding unique souvenirs or local artwork to commemorate your visit.


Dining and Shopping: Canmore is known for its diverse dining scene, offering a range of culinary experiences. Indulge in a variety of cuisines, from local Canadian favorites to international delights. You’ll find everything from charming cafes and cozy pubs to upscale restaurants, ensuring there’s something to satisfy every palate.


Outdoor Adventure: Canmore is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, with a plethora of activities to satisfy every adventurer’s craving. Hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and trail running opportunities abound in the surrounding mountains and parks. Choose from a range of trails, each offering its own set of scenic vistas and natural wonders.


Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park: Just minutes away from the town center, the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park offers a wealth of recreational activities. In the summer, you can explore trails for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. In the winter, the park transforms into a cross-country skiing and snowshoeing haven.


Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre: Dive into the rich history and geology of Canmore at the Canmore Museum. Explore exhibits that shed light on the town’s coal mining past, learn about the local environment, and discover the geological significance of the Canadian Rockies. This cultural and educational experience offers a deeper understanding of the region.


Relaxation and Wellness: If you’re looking to unwind and rejuvenate, Canmore has several wellness centers, spas, and yoga studios where you can indulge in relaxation treatments or participate in yoga classes. Take some time to reconnect with yourself amidst the stunning mountain backdrop.


Beautiful Lakes: Canmore is surrounded by stunning lakes that offer opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation. Take a short drive or hike to places like Quarry Lake or Grassi Lakes, where you can swim, have a picnic, or simply enjoy the tranquility of nature.


Festivals and Events: Throughout the year, Canmore hosts a variety of festivals and events that showcase the town’s vibrant arts and culture scene. From music festivals and art exhibitions to outdoor adventure events, there’s always something happening in Canmore to make your visit even more memorable.


When exploring the town of Canmore during your Legacy Trail journey, make sure to embrace the local culture, enjoy the natural wonders, and take part in the outdoor activities that make the area so special. With its welcoming community, stunning backdrop, and myriad of attractions, Canmore is an unforgettable destination in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.


Dining and Shopping Options in Canmore

Canmore offers a delightful culinary scene and a range of shopping opportunities, making it a perfect destination for food enthusiasts and avid shoppers alike. Here’s a glimpse into the dining and shopping options you can explore while visiting Canmore:


Dining: Canmore is home to a diverse array of dining establishments, catering to various tastes and preferences. From casual eateries and cafes to upscale restaurants, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Sample local Canadian cuisine, indulge in international flavors, or savor fusion dishes that combine different culinary traditions. Many restaurants in Canmore showcase seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a fresh and flavorful dining experience.


Cafes and Bakeries: Start your day by visiting one of Canmore’s charming cafes or bakeries, where you can enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea alongside delectable pastries or breakfast options. These cozy establishments offer a perfect spot to relax, plan your day, or catch up with friends over a warm drink and a delicious treat.


Pubs and Breweries: Canmore is home to several pubs and breweries that offer a laid-back atmosphere and a selection of local craft beers and cocktails. Unwind with a refreshing pint of beer, enjoy pub-style fare, and soak in the friendly ambiance of these establishments. Some breweries even offer brewery tours, allowing you to witness the brewing process firsthand.


Specialty Food Shops: Canmore is dotted with specialty food stores and markets where you can find unique local products, including artisanal cheeses, smoked meats, gourmet chocolates, and more. These shops offer an opportunity to taste and purchase high-quality, locally made or sourced ingredients to take back home or enjoy during your trip.


Artisan Boutiques and Galleries: Browse through the numerous artisan boutiques and art galleries in Canmore, where you’ll find an assortment of handmade arts and crafts, jewelry, clothing, and home décor. Support local artisans and discover one-of-a-kind treasures that reflect the creativity and craftsmanship of the area.


Outdoor Gear Stores: Canmore is also a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, and you’ll find a variety of outdoor gear stores offering a wide selection of equipment, clothing, and accessories for hiking, skiing, climbing, and other adventure activities. Whether you need to upgrade your gear or simply want to browse the latest outdoor equipment, these stores cater to all your outdoor needs.


Canadian Souvenirs: Canmore is a great place to find souvenirs that embody the spirit of Canada and the Canadian Rockies. Look for items such as maple syrup, local honey, Indigenous arts and crafts, Mountie memorabilia, or locally made keepsakes that will serve as a lasting reminder of your visit to Canmore and the surrounding area.


Canmore’s dining and shopping scene offer a wonderful blend of local flavors, international cuisines, unique artisan products, and outdoor gear. Explore the town’s culinary delights, browse through the charming boutiques and galleries, and find the perfect memento to commemorate your visit to Canmore.


Canmore’s Natural Attractions

Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, Canmore is surrounded by a pristine natural landscape that offers a host of outdoor adventures and breathtaking sights. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply seeking serenity in nature, Canmore’s natural attractions are sure to captivate your senses. Here are some of the stunning natural wonders to explore near Canmore:


Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park: Just a short distance from the town center, the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The park’s extensive trail network is perfect for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking in the summer months. In the winter, the park transforms into a cross-country skiing and snowshoeing paradise, catering to all skill levels.


Heart Creek Trail: The Heart Creek Trail is an easily accessible hike located just a few kilometers from Canmore. This moderate trail takes you through a scenic forested canyon, with mesmerizing views of limestone cliffs, waterfalls, and a picturesque creek. It’s an ideal choice for a leisurely hike, nature photography, or a peaceful picnic amidst nature.


Grassi Lakes: The hike to Grassi Lakes is a popular choice for visitors and locals alike. This trail rewards hikers with breathtaking views of vibrant turquoise-colored lakes surrounded by towering cliffs. The hike itself is relatively easy, making it suitable for families and individuals of all skill levels. It’s a must-visit destination for capturing stunning photographs and experiencing the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.


Quarry Lake: Quarry Lake is a serene oasis located in the heart of Canmore. With its crystal-clear waters and scenic surroundings, it offers the perfect spot for swimming, picnicking, or simply relaxing on the sandy beach. The lake is also popular for stand-up paddleboarding and canoeing, providing an opportunity to soak in the beauty of the surrounding mountains while enjoying water activities.


Mount Lady MacDonald: For experienced hikers seeking a challenge, a trek up Mount Lady MacDonald is a rewarding endeavor. This strenuous hike treats adventurers to panoramic views of the Bow Valley, Canmore, and the surrounding mountain ranges. The hike involves scrambling over rocky terrain and ascending steep switchbacks, offering a sense of accomplishment at the summit.


Bow Valley Provincial Park: Located just west of Canmore, Bow Valley Provincial Park boasts a diverse range of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and campgrounds, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Bow Valley. Explore the trails, watch for wildlife, or simply relax and enjoy a peaceful day in nature.


Kananaskis Country: Canmore acts as a gateway to Kananaskis Country, a vast wilderness area featuring stunning mountains, pristine rivers, and abundant wildlife. It offers countless opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, fishing, and wildlife spotting. Exploring Kananaskis Country allows you to experience the raw beauty and untamed nature of the Canadian Rockies.


From serene lakes and picturesque hikes to breathtaking vistas and vast wilderness, Canmore’s natural attractions are sure to leave you in awe of the surrounding beauty. Whether you embark on a challenging hike, enjoy a leisurely picnic, or simply bask in the tranquility of nature, these natural wonders will create memories that last a lifetime.


Returning to Banff

After enjoying the scenic beauty and outdoor adventures in Canmore, it’s time to make your way back to Banff, completing your Legacy Trail journey. Here are some options for returning to Banff:


Cycling: If you’re up for another thrilling ride, you can cycle back to Banff along the Legacy Trail. Enjoy the breathtaking views in the opposite direction as you pedal through the mountains and valleys. The return trip allows you to appreciate the scenery from a different perspective and observe any elements you may have missed on the initial ride.


Shuttle Service: Canmore offers shuttle services that can transport you and your bike back to Banff. These convenient services cater to cyclists looking for a hassle-free way to return to their starting point. Check with local tour operators or visitor centers in Canmore for available shuttle options.


Public Transportation: Public transportation is another option for returning to Banff. You can take advantage of local bus services connecting Canmore and Banff. Check the schedules and routes to ensure you have a smooth journey back to your starting point.


Taxi or Ride-Sharing Services: Taxis and ride-sharing services are available in Canmore and can provide convenient transportation back to Banff. This option offers flexibility regarding departure times and allows you to relax and enjoy the scenery without the worry of navigating.


Private Vehicle: If you have access to your vehicle or have rented one, you can drive back to Banff. The drive offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and allows you to explore other attractions or scenic routes along the way, such as the Bow Valley Parkway or the Icefields Parkway.


As you make your way back to Banff, take the opportunity to reflect on the incredible journey you’ve had along the Legacy Trail. Relish in the memories of the stunning natural scenery, wildlife sightings, and the sense of accomplishment. Consider stopping at viewpoints or attractions you may have missed on the initial trip to make the most of your return journey.


Whether you choose to cycle, take a shuttle, use public transportation, or drive back to Banff, the return trip allows you to appreciate the Legacy Trail’s beauty from a new perspective. Embrace the peacefulness of your surroundings and take the time to reflect on the incredible experiences you’ve had during your adventure.


Safety Tips and Precautions

While embarking on your Legacy Trail adventure between Banff and Canmore, it’s important to prioritize safety to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential safety tips and precautions to keep in mind:


Plan and Prepare: Before setting off, familiarize yourself with the trail route and any potential hazards or closures. Take note of the weather forecast and plan your trip accordingly. Pack essential items such as a map, compass, flashlight, first aid kit, extra layers, and enough food and water to sustain you throughout your journey.


Observe Wildlife from a Distance: The Canadian Rockies are home to a variety of wildlife, such as bears, elk, and deer. While it’s a thrill to spot these creatures, remember to observe them from a safe distance. Do not approach or feed wildlife, as it can be dangerous for both you and the animals. Carry bear spray and know how to use it effectively if you’re traveling in bear country.


Stay on Designated Trails: The Legacy Trail follows a dedicated pathway, and it’s important to stay on the marked route to protect the delicate ecosystem and minimize your impact on the environment. Straying from the trail can disturb wildlife habitats and fragile plant life.


Hydrate and Nourish: Cycling requires physical exertion, so make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout your journey. Bring snacks or pack a picnic to replenish your energy levels, and be mindful of nutritional needs to support your physical activity.


Protect Yourself from the Sun: The high-altitude environment in the Canadian Rockies means the sun’s rays can be strong. Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Consider dressing in lightweight, breathable clothing to stay cool while also covering up to prevent sunburn.


Share the Trail: The Legacy Trail is popular among cyclists, walkers, and runners. Be aware of other trail users and show courtesy by keeping to the right side of the path and announcing your presence when passing. Be cautious when approaching blind corners and respect the speed limits and rules of the trail.


Be Weather Conscious: Weather conditions in the mountains can change rapidly, so be prepared for various scenarios. Dress in layers and carry a waterproof jacket in case of rain. Monitor weather forecasts and be mindful of signs of approaching storms or adverse weather that may require you to seek shelter or postpone your journey.


Emergency Preparedness: Accidents can happen, even on well-maintained trails. Familiarize yourself with basic first aid techniques and carry a well-equipped first aid kit. Ensure your cell phone is fully charged and carry a backup power source. In case of emergencies, know the nearest emergency services and be prepared to call for help when needed.


By following these safety tips and precautions, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience as you cycle the Legacy Trail. Take the necessary precautions, respect the environment and wildlife, and be prepared for the unexpected. With proper planning and awareness, your journey will be filled with unforgettable encounters and memories.


Recommended Gear and Equipment

Having the right gear and equipment is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable cycling experience along the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore. Here are some recommended items to consider packing for your journey:


Bicycle: Choose a bicycle that suits your riding style and skill level. Hybrid, mountain, or gravel bikes are ideal for the varied terrain along the trail. Ensure that your bike is in good working condition, with properly inflated tires and functioning brakes.


Helmet: Wearing a helmet is crucial for your safety. Choose a well-fitting helmet that provides adequate protection and meets safety standards. Helmets should be worn properly, with the straps securely fastened.


Repair Kit and Tools: Carry a basic repair kit that includes a tire repair or patch kit, spare inner tubes, tire levers, a multi-tool, and a pump. Familiarize yourself with basic bike maintenance skills and how to fix common issues such as flat tires or minor adjustments.


Water Bottle and Hydration System: Staying hydrated is important during physical activities. Carry a water bottle or use a hydration system that allows you to drink easily while cycling. Make sure to replenish fluids regularly to maintain energy levels and prevent dehydration.


Appropriate Clothing: Dress in layers and wear moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics to regulate your body temperature. Consider wearing padded cycling shorts for added comfort during long rides. Pack an extra pair of socks in case of wet conditions and bring a lightweight waterproof or windproof jacket for changing weather conditions.


Comfortable Footwear: Choose sturdy, closed-toe shoes suitable for cycling, such as athletic shoes or cycling-specific shoes. Make sure they fit well and provide good support for your feet during the ride.


Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by wearing sunglasses to shield your eyes and applying sunscreen to exposed skin. Consider wearing a hat or a cap with a visor to provide additional shade and protect your face from the sun.


Navigation Tools: Carry a trail map, compass, or GPS device to navigate and stay on the designated route. Familiarize yourself with the trail markers and signage along the Legacy Trail to ensure you are following the correct path.


Snacks and Energy Food: Pack lightweight, nutritious snacks and energy food to fuel your ride. High-energy snacks like trail mix, granola bars, or fresh fruits provide quick bursts of energy during breaks, helping to maintain stamina throughout the journey.


Personal Identification and Emergency Contact Information: Carry a form of identification and have important emergency contact information stored in your phone or written down. It’s helpful to have this information easily accessible in case of an emergency.


Extras: Consider carrying a small backpack or saddlebag to store your extra gear, water, and snacks. Also, bring a small camera or smartphone to capture memorable moments along the trail.


It’s important to remember that the gear and equipment you choose should match your personal preferences, riding style, and the expected weather conditions. Ensure that you are comfortable with the gear you bring and that it enhances your overall experience on the Legacy Trail.



Cycling the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore is a remarkable journey through the breathtaking beauty of the Canadian Rockies. As you pedal along this scenic route, you’ll be captivated by the majestic mountains, crystal-clear rivers, and serene forests that surround you. The Legacy Trail offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, spot wildlife, and uncover the rich cultural heritage of the region.


Planning your trip carefully, from arranging transportation to packing the right gear, is key to ensuring a successful and enjoyable experience. Take advantage of the amenities and attractions in Banff and Canmore, exploring the charming towns and indulging in local cuisine. Engage with the natural wonders along the trail, from the panoramic views to the tranquil lakes and captivating wildlife sightings.


While embarking on this adventure, always prioritize safety and respect for the environment. Stay aware of wildlife and adhere to guidelines to ensure your safety and the preservation of their natural habitats. Be prepared for changing weather conditions, carry essential gear, and make sure to hydrate and nourish yourself along the way.


The Legacy Trail offers an unforgettable cycling experience and a chance to connect with the stunning natural playground that is the Canadian Rockies. Whether you’re seeking a sense of adventure, a peaceful escape, or a deeper appreciation for the beauty of nature, this trail has something to offer every cyclist. So, embrace the journey, savor each moment, and create lifelong memories along the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore.