Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise

A Guide to the Best Places to Run in Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise


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 runsBanff 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!

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise

See All Routes
  • All Routes
  • Iconic Routes
  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

Banff features cold, occasionally bitter winters and pleasantly mild summers. Mid-summer high temperatures are typically sunny and average a perfect-for-running 21C (70F), with cool nights, dipping to 8C (mid-40s). Always have a layer! Winters are cold and snowy. Average high temperatures in January-February are -5C (20F), and lows are -14 (10F). BUT, there can be bursts of bitter cold, well-below zero. In winter, be prepared for snow and ice that can last from late October to early April. See also information on roads/trails that are closed in winter.

Source: Environment Canada

There’s a good selection of hotels in Canmore, Banff, and Lake Louise (but little in-between, as it is a national park). This includes the famed Banff Springs Hotel, and Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise, both relics of the network of CP Hotels that graced the route of the Trans-Canada Railway. Most hotels are centrally located and will be near some of our fave running spots in town.

Running Stores

There are numerous sporting goods stores in Banff and Canmore that sell all sorts of outdoor equipment, including running gear.

The one independent, running-centric shop in the area is Strides Canmore (and they were very helpful with this guide!).  They have guided mountain running tours and also do numerous events and clinics.

Ski Uphill in Canmore also sells running gear.

In Banff, Vertical Addition is a good bet.

Ahotu Marathons has a good page listing running events in Alberta. You’ll have to search by preferred area.

Banff Marathon. June. The signature running event in the area.