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Banff National Park Mountain Biking

by K Gordon Schultz

Mountain Biking in Banff, Alberta

There are countless outdoor activities to enjoy in Banff National Park, on your vacation. Rafting, skiing, hiking, camping and watching wildlife are all popular. In addition you should take some time to do some mountain biking around Banff and nearby Canmore and Kananaskis Country.

It’s a great way to get out and see the mountains around Banff and Canmore, see a lot of different parts of the Canadian Rockies, and get a little adrenaline rush to go with it.

Here are the trails where you are allowed to take a mountain bike in Banff National Park:

Lake Minnewanka, Johnson Lake Loop, Cascade, Redearth, Temple Access Road, Sundance, Healy Creek, Brewster Creek, Spray River, Pipestone, Saskatchewan, Sulphur Mountain, Alexandra and most of the trails in the vicinity of Banff Townsite except Tunnel Mountain, Goat Creek, Rundle Riverside, Cave and Basin Boardwalk and the Buffalo Paddock Loop.

For more information on biking in the Rockies, be sure to check out the Colorado Adventure Biker column.

Here’s are 7 Rules of the Road for mountain biking in Banff, or anywhere, really:

  1. Plan it, darn it! Know your equipment, be honest about your abilities, and check up on the riding trail, preferably with a park ranger. Prepare accordingly. A little planning is often the difference between a horrible day and an awesome day.
  2. Don’t scare the wildlife. You don’t like it when someone sneaks up on you, and neither do wild animals. Usually, the repercussions of doing this with a bear are worse though. Avoid unannounced approaches, a sudden movements, or a loud a noises. These actions can be dangerous for you, others, and wildlife. Give wildlife space and time to adjust to you, and make some noise as you come down the trail.
  3. Stay in Control. Don’t go faster, or attempt terrain that you know you can’t handle. Always be attentive and mind bicycle regulations and recommendations.
  4. Ride open trails only. Respect the trail and avoid areas which are closed to bikes. They are closed for a reason. Seriously, no one is trying to hide trails from you just to ruin your vacation. Also, remember that the way you ride will influence Parks Canada trail management decisions and policies.
  5. Leave no trace. It’s everyone’s park, so treat it with respect by following a few simple rules. Stay on maintained  trails and don’t create new ones. Pack out what you pack in, and bonus points if you pack out some other jerk’s discarded rubbish.
  6. Always yield the trail. Make your approach known well in advance. A greeting, a bell or some other noise is basic politeness; don’t startle others. Show respect when passing by, slowing to a walking pace or, if need be, stopping. Anticipate trail users around corners and in blind spots.
  7. Put a lid on it! Always wear a helmet.

Keep trails open by setting a good example of environmentally sound and socially responsible off-road cycling.

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