Day 10: Lake Louise to Canmore

Wildlife Corridor

Enjoy an easy ride today along the Bow River through the Bow Valley. This river originates in the Wapta Icefield, which lays on the border of Banff and Yoho National Parks. The name Bow refers to the reeds that grow along its banks and were used by First Nations people to make bows for hunting. The Bow River is cold and clear, warming as it flows through Calgary before continuing southeast to join with the Oldman River in southern Alberta.

Before your arrival in Banff, you will bike past the exit to Sunshine Village ski hill, which is typically open until Victoria Day Long Weekend.

Parks Canada and Banff National Park have built wildlife corridors along this stretch of highway allowing wildlife to move safely between areas of habitat. Some corridors go under the highway while others allow animals to cross over top. The corridors over the highway look like a walking bridge, but provide safe passage for wildlife.

Situated at an elevation of 1 463 M, Banff is Canada’s highest elevated town. It is also known as the only ski town in the world that is busier during summer months than in the winter. Banff and its surrounding National Park got its name in 1884, from Lord Steven, a director of the CPR recalling his hometown of Banffshire, Scotland.

There are three exits into Banff and the town is a must see. It is surrounded by Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain, Mount Norquay and Cascade Mountain. Besides the ample shopping opportunities, Banff’s downtown does have points of interest to a bike tourist. Mountain Magic Equipment is one of a handful of bike stores located downtown. SameSun Hostel will provide you with an affordable place to stay if you want to spend the evening enjoying Banff’s legendary nightlife. Banff Park Museum National Historic Site is Canada’s oldest natural history museum. It will take you back to 1903, when the museum was founded. Banff Springs Hotel, sister hotel to Chateau Lake Louise, is located on the south edge of town.

Banff’s explosive growth from a small service centre in the late 1800s, to its present size of 6 700 permanent residents, plus tourists, has led to concerns from environmentalists about harm to the area’s eco-systems.

Three Sisters

While biking east towards Canmore, look to your right to catch views of Three Sisters Peaks. From left to right, they are known as Big Sister, Middle Sister and Little Sister. Big Sister has an elevation of 2 936 M.

Your destination for the evening is Canmore’s Wapiti Campground. HWY 1 bisects Canmore. This quiet campground with panoramic views is on the south side of the highway as you approach Canmore from Banff.

For almost a century, the town of Canmore was an important coal-mining town. In 1979, the last coal mine ceased operation. This economic blow to the town of Canmore painted a bleak picture for its continued existence. However, shortly after the mines closed it was announced that Canmore would be the site of Nordic events for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. This breathed new life into the small mountain town and was instrumental in helping Canmore transition from a small industrial town to its present state as a world-class tourist destination.

Grocery stores are available in Canmore. If you are looking to experience Canmore as it was over a hundred years ago, check out the Canmore Hotel, which has changed very little since the late 1800s.

Don’t be surprised to see large group of cyclists whiz by you. Canmore is a training centre for skiing and its residents are notoriously active bike enthusiasts. Check out Rebound Cycle, located downtown, for any bike needs you may have.

If you are looking for a fun, challenging trail in the area, consider hiking to the abandoned teahouse up Mount Lady Macdonald. Ask a local for more information.

Wapiti Campground, elevation 1 309 M, offers stunning views of the area.

Kilometre Log
0.0Leave Lake Louise Tent Campground heading towards Fairview Road.
0.2Turn right on Fairview Road.
1.2Turn left remaining on Fairview Road as it angles towards HWY 1.
1.5Fairview Road intersects with HWY 1.
24.9Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 93.
46.2Exit to Sunshine Village.
48.8Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 1A.
54.5Exit to Banff on Mt. Norquay Road.
56.6Exit to Banff on Compound Road.
58.7Exit to Banff on Banff Avenue.
71.6East boundary of Banff National Park.
73.5Harvie Heights.
75.3Take your first exit right to Canmore.
75.5Turn right onto HWY 1A.
76.2Turn left off of HWY 1A onto Ray McBride Street.
76.3Turn left into Wapiti Campground.

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