An outdoor recreation mecca in all seasons exists in the Canadian Rockies just a couple of hours northwest of Calgary. Banff is the historic ‘center’ of Banff National Park, with the gateway city of Canmore 25 km to the east and Lake Louise 50 km west. These are are major destinations for winter and summer sports. There’s something for every runner here, with scenery featuring spectacular mountain and lake views, to rivers, woodlands, and flower-filled meadows. Our guide to running in Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise spotlights the most interesting and scenic roads, multi-use paths, and moderate trails for running, including the famous Icefields Parkway. Some top spots:
Best flat/gentle path runs: Legacy Trail, Bow River (Canmore), Bow River/Fenland/Hoodoos Trail (Banff), Lake Louise Shoreline Trail, Old Route 1A (Lake Louise).
Best flat/gentle road runs: Banff Downtown streets, Vermilion Lakes Rd., Cave and Basin run (Sundance Canyon), Golf Course Loop. Sections of the Icefields Parkway.
Slightly More Adventurous Trail or Hill Runs: Goat Creek Trail (Canmore to Banff), Lake Minnewanka Trail, Mt. Norquay Scenic Drive (Banff), Tramline (Lake Louise).
Notes: Some roads/trails might be closed/not maintained in winter (see individual posts). It can be very cold — bring appropriate clothing! And in summer, be aware of bear and elk. We recommend bringing bear spray and not running alone on trails. Also note Banff’s altitude is 4,500 feet. Finally, use public transit when possible: the ROAM bus system is excellent!