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  1. #1
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    Banff Trip - Questions

    The wifey and I are planning on a trip to the Banff area and while she's preoccupied at a hotel spa or such... I'd love to get in a couple "best of" rides. We have no itinerary set although late May or mid August are the one week windows of time.

    Is late May perhaps a bit too early for the thaw?

    Prefer tech/steep/challenging descents at the expense of views etc (I'm sure views will be stunning regardless!). Don't mind 1500m elev days. Maybe a good ol' rugged backcountry ride would be really cool... with a guide(?). Like many areas I've traveled, perhaps there's more of a lesser known "secret" trails that should be considered? (PM for discretion)

    That said, any recommendations for trails? How is navigation/signage? Top notch and star wars came up in a quick search for quality trails as does Canmore area.

    I think I'll just rent rather then pack my bike for a couple rides. Are there ample choices for shops that rent solid AM type bikes in the general area?

    Appreciate any guidance!

  2. #2
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    Late May is hit or miss at elevation (Canmore Nordic Centre is at 1450m), there's always a fair chance that you can get a spring dump of snow in May, or it can be fine at the trail head and when you climb 500m you're into deep snow or even being snowed on. Mid-August is a better window if riding is the goal. Bear bells and bear spray are definitely useful if you're going into the backcountry trails. Canmore is outside Banff National Park, so there are more options and less restrictions on trails outside the Park. They do still close trails for grizzly activity. Canmore is the better bet for bike rentals, Banff bike rentals are more suited to tourist riding. Rentals -Â*Cross Country Skis & Mountain Bikes

    May is shoulder season between high cost accommodation for skiing and high cost accommodation for summer activities. There's a big spread in the cost of hotels through the year.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatsDirt View Post

    That said, any recommendations for trails? How is navigation/signage? Top notch and star wars came up in a quick search for quality trails as does Canmore area.
    Star Wars and Top Notch are fun and unique. Lots of little features and jumps, etc. they’re not steep and don’t have much elevation though. Worth hitting because they’re right in town and super fun, but look elsewhere for big backcountry rides.


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  4. #4
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    Trailforks has some good info on Canmore and Banff Trails.

    https://www.trailforks.com/region/banff/
    https://www.trailforks.com/region/canmore/

    Kananaskis Country is a fairly short drive back toward Calgary and has a variety of back country trails.

    https://www.trailforks.com/region/kananaskis-country/

    Bikepirate also has searchable trail info
    https://www.bikepirate.com/trails/
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  5. #5
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    Appreciate the input!

    I'm not opposed to lapping fun stuff so sounds like a day of tooling in Banff proper is a good call.

    We'd rather have weather on the pleasant side for all activities involved so August it is...

    Outside of the Canmore area, are there any trails within an hour or so drive from Banff I should consider?

    Any areas we should consider staying aside from Lake Louise/Banff for sightseeing and/or riding? I'd push for Revelstoke but I think the longer drive plus my desire to ride might be pushing it.

    EDIT: I'll check on Kananaskis area as well as trailforks. Thanks!

  6. #6
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    I'm no expert on that area but heard good things about rides in Golden

  7. #7
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    I'm planning a trip to the same area. We're planning to ride Moraine High Lake trail and the area around Cox Hill. BOth of those might be a bit far from Banff though. Also, if you have any chance to ride Revelstoke you should do it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatsDirt View Post
    Appreciate the input!

    I'm not opposed to lapping fun stuff so sounds like a day of tooling in Banff proper is a good call.

    We'd rather have weather on the pleasant side for all activities involved so August it is...

    Outside of the Canmore area, are there any trails within an hour or so drive from Banff I should consider?

    Any areas we should consider staying aside from Lake Louise/Banff for sightseeing and/or riding? I'd push for Revelstoke but I think the longer drive plus my desire to ride might be pushing it.

    EDIT: I'll check on Kananaskis area as well as trailforks. Thanks!
    We locals usually ride the Bragg Creek area and not around Banff. If you live here you usually stay away from the park in general and hiking activities Kananaskis is the area we go.

  9. #9
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    Lake Minnwanka is usually good to go mid may. I love that trail. Not rad or steep or worthy of a red bull even, just fun flowy singletrack. First 4-6km is busy but after that its usually pretty quiet. I did 40ish km return last spring. Fairly easy km but worth it if you are in banff.

  10. #10
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    Since we have some locals chiming in, any comments on our plan to ride Cox Hill ? We like to ride the most alpine/mountain/epic stuff we can find and smirk at multi hour hike a bikes. Like I said above I've targeted Moraine Lake and Cox Hill, and will also do a session on Razor's Edge (all of this near Exshaw).
    Any other suggestions ?

    Also, is it worth going home via Fernie ? It might add as much as 6-8 hours of driving to do so.

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