Electronic bikes have made their way to Banff National Park, and there are so many places to e-bike in Banff this summer!
The recently relocated SkiBig3 Adventure Hub has hopped the street to 114 Banff Avenue, and now hosts an extensive fleet of e-bikes to take your adventures even further.
These two-wheelers are a preferential way to discover the best of Canada’s first national park. They’re great for families or those new to biking, who want the full experience of cycling with a little extra ‘push’. With e-bikes, you can cover great distances with a little less effort, meaning you’ll save energy for even more adventures throughout the day.
Here’s everything you need to know to plan your e-bike escapade in Banff National Park.
What’s an e-bike?
Electric bicycles have an additional small motor to supplement the rider’s pedal power. Because of this, longer distances and uphill sections of a route are a bit easier. Therefore, you can enjoy your time exploring on two wheels even longer.
Where can I ride my e-bike?
Within Banff National Park, only the Banff Legacy Trail and public roads allow e-bikes. Please be respectful – not following this rule could leave you with an unwanted by-law ticket, or worse yet cause injury to yourself or fellow park visitor. Always be aware of your surroundings and obey the rules of the road. E-bikes are not allowed on pathways or unpaved trails. If you find yourself on a pathway or trail, disembark and walk your e-bike back to the nearest road.
How long can I rent an e-bike?
We have 2-hour, 4-hour and full day rentals. For longer trips, multi-day rentals are available upon request as they require packing along the charger to ‘fuel up’ overnight.
What models of e-bikes are available?
Our fleet consists of three different models of electric bike – fat bikes, townies, and cargo bikes.
Top safety tips to remember
E-bikes are much heavier and have very different weight distribution compared to a traditional bicycle. Make sure to stay balanced at all times and be prepared to put both feet on the ground when coming to a stop. The additional power of an e-bike can initially take you by surprise. Start slow and build your skills on a flat and quiet side-street before heading too far. Like a regular bicycle, slow and steady breaking is important. Never use only your front brake as you risk falling or launching over the handlebars. Always wear a helmet, this is the law.
Top Spots to Take Your E-Bike
Please keep in mind that suggested rental times do not allocate for extended breaks, swims, hikes, or lunch stops. Ask the Adventure Hub staff for advice on recommended rental times for your trip interests.
All distances are calculated with the SkiBig3 Adventure Hub starting point at 114 Banff Avenue.
12 km / 7.5 miles
Suggested Rental Time: min. 2 hour
Vermillion Lakes Road is a great spot to get your bearings if it’s your first time on an e-bike. Make sure to avoid the Bow River walking trail, as it is limited to pedestrians and traditional bicycles. Make your way down Mt. Norquay Road, turning off onto Vermillion Lakes Road before the Highway 1 overpass. Take in views of all three lakes along this road, complete with Mount Rundle’s reflection in each and every one.
Tunnel Mountain Loop
13 km / 8 miles
Suggested Rental Time: min. 2 hour
The Tunnel Mountain Loop is your best Banff bang for buck route within the town site. Starting on Buffalo Street and Banff Avenue, work your way up to Surprise Corner for a beautiful view of a castle in the mountains. From there, continue up Tunnel Mountain Road until you reach the HooDoos view point. Continue along as Cascade Mountain comes into view. From there connect on the Legacy Trail as you ride your way back to Banff Avenue.
INSIDER TIP: Take a rest break at the HooDoos and walk the short trail to some of Banff’s geographical wonders! Plus, you’ll get up close views of the Rundle range from a different perspective.
Golf Course Loop
14.5 km / 9 miles
Suggested Rental Time: min. 2 hour
Bow Falls begins the journey of this gentle, meandering loop along the Banff Springs golf course. With less traffic than many other public roads, this is a great beginner route that allows you to enjoy the seclusion of nature and take in every detail. Some stops along the loop run adjacent to the Bow River, and are a great place to take a short break.
INSIDER TIP: End your bike ride with a visit to the Waldhaus and snag a spot on their patio. Their infamous ‘das boot’ of German beer is one way to celebrate, but make sure you have a friend (or three) to share!
The Legacy Trail
To Valleyview Picnic Area
26 km / 16 m (return)
Suggested Rental Time: min. 4 hour
Connecting Banff and Canmore, this cruisey trail runs adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway. Because of its popularity, the trail hosts commuters, day-trippers, athletes in training, and even runners. E-bike to the Valleyview Picnic Area, about halfway between Banff and Canmore. From here, amenities like picnic tables, rest areas, and the classic red Parks Canada chairs make this a great spot to stop for lunch.
21.5km / 13.4 m (one way)
Suggested Rental Time: min. full day
Make a day of it by biking even further along the trail to Banff’s neighbour, Canmore. Here, you can take in their unique mountain vibe, peruse the unique shops and boutiques throughout the downtown area, and enjoy several summer patios in the sun.
INSIDER TIP: Take the Roam regional transit route back to Banff! While the e-bikes won’t fit on the front exterior rack, the Banff-Canmore regional route has three interior bike racks available on their busses (first-come, first served). Cost is $6 CAD per adult one-way, cash accepted but no change given.
“Amazing range of bikes for all occasions, super easy to use. Can’t recommend enough! We had a great time trying out the fleet. Thank you SkiBig3 Adventure Hub for a perfect addition to Banff activities!”
Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive is a loop located just North of the town of Banff and is the access point to myriad stunning vistas and mountain lakes. To get there on your e-bike, follow the Legacy Trail out via the East Banff entrance, parallel to Banff Avenue. As you approach the Highway 1 overpass, continue along the Legacy Trail as if you were heading to Canmore. Once parallel to Highway 1, there is an underpass on your left which connects to Cascade Ponds. From here, you can connect with Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive.
Two Jack Lake
22 km / 13.5 m (return)
Suggested Rental Time: min 4 hours
Two Jack Lake is a summer hot spot along the Minnewanka Loop, popular with campers, canoers, fishers, and more. With views of Mt. Rundle and simultaneously clear and vibrantly blue water, the appeal is apparent. Whether skipping rocks or stopping for lunch, there are many ways to enjoy this mountainous setting, so make sure to plan for some added time here.
23 km / 14 m (return)
Suggested Rental Time: min. 4 hours
The warmest of three lakes on the Minnewanka Loop, this is a popular spot with both visitors and locals. With a hard-earned bike ride getting there, you may just want to test the mountain waters for yourself to cool off. New washroom facilities and picnic tables make it a convenient rest stop for lunch, too!
25 km / 15.5 m
Suggested Rental Time: min. 4 hours
Sit back and enjoy the ride as stunning mountain scenery unfolds before you along this loop. Work your way along the West side of the loop until you reach Lake Minnewanka. Hop on a Minnewanka Lake Cruise or grab some ice cream to enjoy shoreside while you’re here. Carry along to Two Jack Lake and end your loop at the quaint Cascade Ponds.
Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A)
The granddaddy of Banff-accessible road biking, the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A) keeps both visitor enjoyment and wildlife safety in mind. The lower automobile 60km/h speed limit lowers the risk of wildlife collisions, and allows motorists a slower pace to enjoy the scenery and potential wildlife sightings. This slower pace also gives cyclists the added bonus of a more relaxed environment to discover.
There are several points along Hwy 1A at which you can stop. For these longer distance routes, plan for a full day rental or consider opting for a 2-day rental and spending the night at either Baker Creek or Lake Louise.
INSIDER TIP: The regional bus routes between Banff and Lake Louise do not carry interior bike racks, so you’ll have to make your way back to Banff on two wheels.
To Johnston Canyon
25km / 15.5m (one way)
50 km / 31m (return)
Recommended full day rental
For a full day of e-biking adventure, head west to Johnston Canyon and back along the Legacy Trail and the 1A. Break up the day by hiking to the thundering lower and upper canyons, or consider adding on a short hike like Silverton Falls.
INSIDER TIP: There are several pull-offs and interpretive displays to learn more about Banff National Park’s rich history. Keep your eyes peeled – these bits of information are often as delightful as a wildlife sighting.
To Castle Mountain Junction
31.5km / 19.5m (one way)
The halfway point between Banff and Lake Louise, Castle Mountain is anything but subtle.
INSIDER TIP: Mention the general store for snacks, ice-cream and a break. (any washroom stops enroute that we could call out?)
INSIDER TIP: Book a night at Castle Mountain Chalets for the classic Canadian mountain cabin experience. From apartment suites to deluxe chalets, wood burning stoves to knotted pine detailing, it’s easy to settle right in to this mountain getaway.
To Baker Creek
46km / 28.5m (one way)
Just a bit further beyond Castle Mountain Junction, Baker Creek Mountain Resort is a hidden gem in Banff National Park. It’s the perfect romantic getaway at a much slower pace than the bustle of Banff. Their picturesque cabins are perfectly perched along the creek, as are the fire pits that pair wonderfully with a glass of wine.
INSIDER TIP: Even if you don’t intend to spend the night, a lunch stop at Baker Creek Bistro is a meal you won’t want to miss. Think tasteful Canadian cuisine in the warm ambiance of a log cabin in the woods.
Ready to embark on your very own e-bike adventure? Stop by the SkiBig3 Adventure Hub and talk to our specialists to get you started. From rentals to safety tips to maps, they have everything you need to e-bike in Banff this summer. Or, reserve your bike online to ensure your model of choice is available during your visit to Banff National Park.