Challenging
Difficulty level
Cycling
Activity (Bike)
5 Night, 6 Day
Duration

Canada, Alberta: Jasper to Banff Bike

Five nights; Six days of challenging cycling on the paved, broad-shouldered Icefields Parkway, with an optional day of hiking in the peaks behind Lake Louise.


“… still recovering from the beauty of the Rockies. Cycling was indeed the best…” – Fiona and Colin

WHY THIS TRIP?

  • This is one of the most spectacular mountain rides in the world, paralleling the Continental Divide. It is a sheer delight for cyclists wanting a breathtaking ride, in both senses.
  • Large wildlife abounds here. Chances of seeing elk, moose, mountain goats, and grizzly bears on this cycling route are high, and you will learn how to behave cautiously and respectfully around these magnificent beasts.
  • Start in charming Jasper. Pass the Athabasca waterfalls, and the alpine Peyto Lake.
  • Ride along the Athabasca River, past waterfalls and an iceberg-studded lake to Sunwapta.
  • Pass three large glaciers, including the Athabasca.
  • Spectacular mountains along this route helped give it a UNESCO designation.
  • Rest and hike in Lake Louise.
  • Finish in the picturesque mountain town of Banff.

 

ROUTE EXPECTATIONS:

The most challenging trips, these include longer distances, bigger hills, long hikes, exposed paddling, and full days of activity. We recommend a higher degree of fitness and training to make the most of the experience.


This is a challenging ride, requiring good fitness, or an electric bike. There are wide shoulders for much of the route, which is paved and traffic-shared. There are significant climbs/descents, and the scenery is constantly fantastic. Relaxed cyclists will need vehicle support.


Daily Distance:

  • DAY 1: 55 km
  • DAY 2: 50 km
  • DAY 3: 90 km
  • DAY 4: 45 km
  • DAY 5: Hiking; Long: ~20 km, Short: ~7 km
  • DAY 6: 62 km

Elevation Profile:

 


Start: Jasper, Park Place Inn, 9:30, day one. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.

Finish: Banff, ~15:30, day six. 2 ¼ hour shuttle to Calgary ~$80 operated by Brewster departs Banff at ~15:45, or ~19:00.

Privately operated shuttles to Jasper are available from Edmonton, Banff, or Calgary. We recommend arriving in Jasper a day or two early; it’s a great place to become acclimatized to the beauty of the mountains. Your guides may be able to meet you as you arrive on one of the shuttles, and you may be able to arrange a private transfer from Banff or Calgary with us, ask for details.

Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.

1

Ride from Jasper to Sunwapta 55km

Meet in Jasper to begin cycling along the lesser-traveled east side of the Athabasca River on a quiet road through stands of pine and spruce with wonderful views of the Athabasca River Valley. Afternoon ride on the broad plain of the Sunwapta River. This is a natural corridor of all types of wild life, including grizzly and black bears, coyotes, wolves, elk, deer, mountain goats, and big horn sheep. Keep your eyes open; you will have a good chance of seeing these animals from your bicycle. The day will finish with a short climb, and a hike to see the Sunwapta Falls before dinner. LD (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips only)

Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge, Sunwapta Falls

2

Cycle up to the Athabasca Glacier 50km

Today’s ride is largely uphill, though helped, we hope, by the prevailing tailwind. This is the most challenging portion of the trip, and will be rewarded with spectacular views of the largest icefield south of Alaska – the Athabasca Glacier. From your panoramically-situated lodge, enjoy an early evening glacier tour exploring the Columbia Icefield, watching for the yearly markers of the ice’s annual retreat, before warming up with dinner at your lodge. BLD

The Glacier View Inn, Athabasca Glacier

3

Cycling to Bow Lake and Peyto Lake 90km

Descend from the Athabasca Glacier for lunch near the North Saskatchewan River Crossing, then climb to follow the Bow and Mistaya Rivers and some beautiful lakes that create wonderfully photogenic landscapes, before cresting the highest point of the Parkway at Bow summit, and descending to enjoy the fireplace at your spectacularly rustic log mountain lodge overlooking the turquoise waters of Bow Lake. You must take the opportunity to hike to nearby Peyto Lake, known for its picturesque emerald waters – a result of an abundance of glacial ‘flour’, before dinner. BLD
Num-ti-Jah Lodge, Bow Lake

4

Ride the Bow Valley Parkway to Lake Louise 43km

This morning’s descent to Lake Louise will go quickly, being downhill and usually downwind almost all the way. You are likely to see abundant wildlife, and should maintain a respectful distance from any deer, elk, bear, or other animals you encounter. If you arrive in Lake Louise with time to spare, you can ride to Moraine Lake, or do some hiking around Lake Louise itself. BL
Lake Louise Inn, Lake Louise

5

Hiking Plain of Six Glaciers; Short: 7km/Long: up to 20km; or optional bike ride to Moraine Lake

Incredible hiking! The views and terrain create a superlative experience that really shouldn’t be missed. First destination is a mountain tearoom, after which the trail continues to enchanting alpine meadows. Those who prefer to cycle can ride to Moraine Lake and the valley of the Ten Peaks. BLD

Lake Louise Inn, Lake Louise

6

Ride Bow Valley to Banff 62km

Follow the Bow Valley Parkway to Banff. The parkway is fairly gentle, with a succession of beautiful views. Stop to enjoy the spectacular hanging path up Johnston Canyon to waterfalls, and to carry on up to the look off or Ink Pots Trail. Arrive at Banff in time for optional transfers to Calgary, or extend your stay by planning a night or two in this cool mountain town. BL

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR TRIP?

Not sure about difficulties, and support level? Check out our What to Expect page!

Guided: C 4645 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 6 days, 5 nights, 5 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners, luggage handling, full time vehicle and guide support, park entry fees, glacier tour, maps and route instructions, 5% sales tax

Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, and guide(s) gratuities.


Self-Guided: C 4445 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 6 days, 5 nights, 5 breakfasts, 1 dinner (night 2), glacier tour, luggage transfers (daily rider transfers are available at no cost when coordinated with morning luggage transfers), maps and route instructions, 5% sales tax

Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, and support driver gratuities.

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


2022 Guided dates:

  • Jul 10-15
  • Aug 8-13
  • Sep 5-10

2023 Guided dates:

  • Jul 10-15
  • Aug 7-12
  • Sep 4-9

Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.

Interested in custom or private departures?


Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.

1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.

2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.

 
PLEASE NOTE: Trip Cancellation Insurance is highly recommended. Please ask us for a no-obligation quote from our insurance providers: Century Insurance, or CSA Travel Protection.

Difficulty This route is rated challenging (black diamond).
Daily Distances 50-90km/day
Optional Extras
Best Months July to September

Before & After the Tour:


“We stayed at Tekkara Lodge in Jasper – perfect. We hiked up the Whistlers and took the gondola back down. Bear Paw Bakery (breakfast, lunch, treats) and the Jasper Brewing Co, (beer, dinner) were both terrific.” – Jennifer S.

Plan far in advance if you would like to include the Calgary Stampede.

Calgary has a host of attractions, including more than 25 musuems, top notch shopping, theatre, ballet, galleries, and dining choices.

Check out the Calgary Festivals site to see what festivals will be taking place while you visit.


More Reading:


This is one of the most spectacular mountain rides in the world. It parallels the Continental Divide, and passes three large glaciers, the Athabasca waterfalls, and the alpine Peyto Lake. This bicycle tour abounds with large wildlife, and is a sheer delight for cyclists wanting a breathtaking ride, in both senses.

Beginning in the charming town of Jasper, you will commence along the Athabasca River, past waterfalls and an iceberg-studded lake, to Sunwapta. You will ride past the Athabasca Glacier, over Bow Summit, through Lake Louise, and between spectacular mountains that helped give this whole route a UNESCO designation. The chances of seeing elk, moose, mountain goats, and grizzly bears on this cycling route are very high, and you will learn how to behave cautiously and respectfully around these magnificent beasts before starting off. Finish your cycling in Banff where you may opt to spend more time hiking, riding, and soaking in the hot springs, or transfer directly Calgary for departing flights.

Privately operated shuttles to Jasper are available from Edmonton, Banff, or Calgary. We recommend arriving in Jasper a day or two early; it’s a great place to become acclimatized to the beauty of the mountains. Your guides may be able to meet you as you arrive on one of the shuttles, and you may be able to arrange a private transfer from Banff or Calgary with us, ask for details.