With it’s majestic natural terrain, it’s no wonder why mountain biking in Alberta is such a popular activity. Whether you want to brave the Canadian Rocky Mountains or take it a bit easier on the rolling prairies there’s a trail for everyone. Alberta is home to over 1 million lakes and has more kilometers of rivers than any other Canadian province. Mountain biking enthusiasts are drawn to its diverse landscape which offers some exciting trails for winter mountain biking as well as summer fun. Here are our picks for the Best Places To Go Mountain Biking In Alberta.
1. Mount Yamnuska – Canmore, Alberta
This mountain peak has been the hub of activity since the 1980’s. Canmore real estate is popular, located just west of Calgary it’s easy to access from most parts of town. As one of the most popular places to mountain bike in Alberta it’s not hard to see why. There are over 32 kilometers of trails winding through the rocky mountainside with options for all levels of expertise.
For the beginner, you can take an easy ride on the Catamount Trail, which runs along the base or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll through some spectacular scenery. For those who are more experienced, you can try the climbs up to Mt. Yamnuska or tackle some of the steeper side trails such as Rock And Roll.
2. Nose Hill – Calgary, Alberta
Coupled with the Tsuu T’ina First Nation near Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, Nose Hill is a great place for a day of biking. With a wide range of terrain and plenty to explore it’s easy to see why this was one of the best places to go mountain biking in Alberta.
This park has over 85 kilometers of trails suited for all levels of biking expertise. With gently rolling hills and beautiful scenery, this is a great place for beginner riders to practice before moving on to more difficult trails. There are even shorter trails that children can enjoy without having to worry about the steep drop-offs that you might find along some of the steeper slopes.
3. Killarney Lake Trails – Killarney Provincial Park, Alberta
Located in front of Emerald Lake this park has over 70 kilometers of mountain bike trails winding through lush forests and along peaceful lakeside paths. Although many people prefer to ride their bikes in the area around Emerald Lake there are also opportunities for challenging single track near the summit if you’re looking for the best places to go mountain biking In Alberta.
The trails range from beginner-friendly to expert level and take you past many picturesque views of the lakes, waterfalls and glacial fountains.
4. Sylvan Lake Provincial Park – Sylvan Lake, Alberta
This is one of the most popular biking destinations in western Canada. It’s not hard to see why either when you look at the networks of trails that have been created here over the years. There are well over 110 kilometers of trails to explore with several different areas within the park itself including Stoney Drifter Mine Site, Rotary Blue Tier and Spruce Woods Trails.
This is one of the best places to go mountain biking in Alberta with something for every skill level. With options for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders there’s no reason not to come here with your friends or family.
5. Bragg Creek – Bragg Creek, Alberta
One of the most popular recreational trails in western Canada is located near Calgary. It’s also one of the best places to go mountain biking in Alberta with over 50 kilometers of beautiful terrain to explore. This destination is home to many famous residents including Kiefer Sutherland who lives nearby on a sprawling 300-acre ranch along Westridge Road.
Located just outside the town of Bragg Creek this trail runs through some canyons that are sure to take your breath away with their towering cliffs and abundance of wildlife.
6. Elbow Loop Recreation Area – Longview, Alberta
This park is known for its exhilarating mountain bike trails that are located just south of the town of Longview. The trail has over 15 kilometers of beginner to advanced single-track paths. There’s also an area where you can enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the designated areas around the trail system after you’re done riding.
Elbow Loop Recreation Area is home to some amazing views. You can expect to see some beautiful landscapes as well as exciting climbs and descents if you make your way up Mount Trochu which is adjacent to Elbow Loop.
7. West Bragg Creek – Bragg Creek, Alberta
Located west of Calgary, West Bragg Creek is another popular mountain bike destination. There are a number of trails available to riders who wish to explore the area. Among the most popular destinations in the area are Elbow Falls Recreation Site, West Bragg Creek Recreation Site and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Best known for its 18-kilometer long Ridgeback Trail this destination is one of the best places to go mountain biking in Alberta due to its variety of terrain and locations like this one.
The trail system also connects to Elbow Loop Recreation Area (see below) if you’re looking for more opportunities to ride on some of the best trails in western Canada. It’s important to make sure you pick up an access permit before riding here because it’s part of an environmentally sensitive area that was once used as farmland by pioneers back in the early 20th century.
8. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park – Kananaskis Country, Alberta
One of the best places to go mountain biking in Alberta is just west of Bragg Creek in the town of Kananaskis. With over 50 kilometers of trails that range from beginner to advanced levels, this destination provides incredible opportunities for both beginners and professional riders alike. Best known for the 42-kilometer long Tom Snow Trail that takes you through densely forested areas this system has been designed specifically to accommodate everyone from families looking for a day out with their kids to professionals who are training for an upcoming race.
In addition to well-maintained bike trails, there’s also a dedicated area for hikers and horseback as well as two types of terrain for ATV use. Best of all this destination is free to access and has amenities like washrooms, picnic areas, and more throughout the park.
9. Elbow Falls – Bragg Creek, Alberta
As one of the best places to go mountain biking in Alberta you’ll find that Elbow Falls provides riders with something special. This destination is located adjacent to West Bragg Creek Recreation Site which also makes it an ideal location to visit if you’re looking for somewhere new to take your bike out for a spin. Best known for its technical single-track trails this park has attracted professional bikers from all over Canada. Visitors are drawn to places like this due to their challenging climbs and fast descents through loose gravel or rocky terrain that will test even the most experienced riders. It’s highly recommended that you get the best bike saddles before attempting this one.
10. Minnewanka Loop – Banff National Park, Alberta
Best known for its 4,300 hectares of terrain this park has become one of the most popular summer destinations for bikers in recent years. From challenging single-track trails to family friendly paved routes is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for beautiful scenery while taking advantage of some of the best mountain biking in North America.
11. Lake Beauvert Trail – Best Place To Ride A Bike For The First Time
Lake Beauvert trail offers an opportunity that not many people get to experience on their first ride out. Riders get to see part of Banff National Park from above and take in the surrounding mountain views. The First Time will only take about an hour to complete and is suitable for almost all riders.
The best time to visit Lake Beauvert trail is during the early summer when the wild flowers are blooming on either side of this trail . Make sure you pick a clear day so that you can see the mountains surrounding Banff National Park as well as Three Sisters Mountain which towers over Moraine Lake below.