Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise

Historic Downtown Banff

Flickr: Kevin Dooley

Enjoy a pleasant run around the downtown of one of Canada’s most popular visitor destinations. The grid-like downtown has wide streets, all named after animals native to the area. Banff’s main street is Banff Ave., and it is pleasant for running – lots of fun shops, galleries, and restaurants to look at, plus some historic buildings. The other streets are a combination of commercial/residential, with some hotels. A run around downtown Banff is also a good option at night, as the streets are well-lit, or in winter, as the streets/sidewalks are cleared of snow. Key landmarks include the Banff Museum, Luxton House, Canada House Gallery,

It’s easy to create your own route of several km along the main streets of downtown. Use Banff Ave., as your anchor. Festive at any time of year, Banff Ave. runs 1.3 km from Beaver St., south to the Bow River for (~1.3 km), crossing the bridge to see views of the Cascade of Time Garden. Add the pleasant side streets, or cross the river and enjoy the runnable, residential Spray Ave. & Glen Ave. Incorporate some part of the Bow River Trail as well. For a longer, hillier road run, take Mountain Ave. to the Banff Hot Springs — it’s 3.5 km one-way, rising 220m.

Variations/add-ons:  Our Cave and Basin, Golf Course Loop, and Bow River Trail runs are all accessible from downtown, as are You can also continue further into Sundance Canyon for another 4 km to the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site, but that’s hillier more challenging trail running. If you want to avoid Cave Rd. (and a 40m climb over the first 1.5 km), you can drive or take a bus to the Cave and Basin parking lot. You can also combine this with sections of the Bow River Trail or Golf Course Loop.

Essentials
  • Several km possible
  • Fairly flat in main downtown area
  • Use Banff Ave. as anchor