Arrival in Canmore. This picturesque and authentic mountain town is enveloped by the majesty of the Canadian Rockies. The Paintbox Lodge is located in the center, close to superb restaurants and eclectic shopping.
Just recently completed, the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail links the town of Canmore with Banff. This paved pathway is a great introduction to Banff National Park. Arriving to Banff, additional options include riding up Tunnel Mountain and the oddly shaped Hoodoos or an easy loop up to Lake Minnewanka, one of the largest and deepest lakes in the Rockies. Once known as Devil's Lake or Cannibal Lake, Minnewanka is the site of many ghostly occurrences in native legends. (24 or 68 km)
Before departing Banff, you may wish to ride out to The Cave and Basin - the location of the first hot mineral springs discovered in 1883. Then, begin your journey north along the Bow Valley Parkway to the staggeringly beautiful scenery of Lake Louise - the gem of Banff National Park. As you twist and climb along the Parkway take in the magnificent views of the Sawback, Sundance and the Massive mountain ranges. Upon arrival in Lake Louise, soak up the natural splendour, take a canoe onto the lake, or enjoy a short walk into the mountains. (58km)
Cycle up to Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks (considered by many to be even more beautiful than Lake Louise) and then opt for a ride along the Great Divide Road. No longer accessible to cars, this bike route will take you over the continental divide where you can check out the monument that marks this watershed divide on the summit of the Kicking Horse Pass. Continue your journey north to the splendid Num-Ti-Jah Lodge on the shores of Bow Lake. (60km)
Cycle along the splendid Icefields Parkway, cresting Bow Summit, the second highest point reached by a public highway in Canada, shortly. Take in the Peyto Lake viewpoint, or stop for a short hike into the Mistaya Canyon. Tonight will be spent at the Crossing Resort. (40km)
Pedal past the braided streams of the North Saskatchewan River on your way to the Athabaska Glacier. Look out for moose grazing on the succulent water-plants in the Rampart Pond area. Relax beside the Weeping Wall of the Cirrus Mountain before you head up the challenging Big Bend and over the Sunwapta Pass. Coast down to the foot of the glacier at the Columbia Icefield, where you will spend the night. If you arrive early enough, take the time to explore the glacier on one of the guided glacier walks or 'Snocoach' buggy tours. (50km)
Today you will encounter a variety of ecological niches on your way to Sunwapta Falls Resort. Cycle past an ancient forest (more than 700 years old) along the lower slopes of Mount Wilcox. Watch for mountain goats grazing on the precarious slopes of the Sunwapta Canyon gorge. Enjoy some time off your bike as you walk a short distance to the impressive Stanley Falls. (50km)
Take a short stroll around the grounds of the Sunwapta Falls Resort before heading out on the last leg of your journey. In keeping with the rest of this tour, many magnificent viewpoints await your discovery - Mount Christie, Athabasca River and Whirlpool Valley. A short detour will take you to the thundering Athabasca Falls, set against the pink-purple cliffs of Mt. Kerkeslin. Arrive in Jasper - a burgeoning little town and the site of the earliest fur trade outpost in the central Rockies. Shopping opportunities abound. (60km)
Today is your day of departure. Take a little time to explore the town before beginning your voyage home or onward to your next adventure.
"The scenery was magical. Just when we thought we had seen the most beautiful lakes, we saw lakes just as beautiful, but with a glacier and waterfall added! We liked the difficulty of the tour. The rivers and mountains made all the uphills a pleasure."
- S. Simon & P. Knop