A Canadian Rockies Ride

The Route: Banff to Lake Louise
  |  Gorp.com
The distance from Banff to Lake Louise (which will probably be a short first day of pedaling) is only 34 miles through the broad Bow River Valley. But add a few to this number by pedaling the"1 A" instead of the busier Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1), which parallels it to the west.

The first two times I rode this stretch, we stopped to hike to the Johnston Canyon waterfalls and spent the first night at the romantic Baker Creek Chalets. Whether you're with a tour company or doing this tour on your own, a dinner at the excellent restaurant there and an evening with a mate before the fire in your own log chalet is not to be missed. My mate was a book (Wuthering Heights — it seemed appropriate), but I still found it unforgettable.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise is perhaps the premier tourist spot on this route of scenic wonders, and you'll want to spend a couple days here if possible. The magnificently opulent (yet stately) Chateau Lake Louise sits before an emerald-green lake surrounded by high snow- and glacier-capped mountains. If you have a hard time imagining it, rent the movie Shangri-La. Or, if you've just won the lottery, you can stay there and demand a room with a view of the lake.

But before you make the stiff, though short, climb from the valley to Lake Louise, stop at Laggans, the popular "mountain bakery and delicatessen" hangout in the Lake Louise Village group of shops just west of Highway 1. There's not a better cup around and the baked goods are divine.

In Lake Louise, there are plenty of accommodations, as well as nearby campgrounds and the beautiful Post Hotel a five-minute ride away in the valley.

No matter where you spend the night, there are three must-see spots to fill your days. Lock or stash your bike and hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers and Lake Agnes teahouses. If you've ever hiked in Switzerland, you'll think you're there again. The third place to visit (and preferably stay for a couple days of great hiking) is Moraine Lake. The eight-mile ride there from Lake Louise is lovely and ends with a view of Moraine Lake surrounded by the famous Ten Peaks. The whole place looks like a movie set.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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