Banff National Park offers new and improved cycling opportunities for visitors in the spring

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Staff in Banff National Park are introducing new and improved plans for cyclists to enjoy the warming weather in the mountains on two wheels.

From May 1 to May 20, the national park will test a Monday to Thursday closure to vehicle traffic on the Minnewanka Loop to give cyclists more room, while still allowing motorists to access the area Friday to Sunday.

The closure will happen at the first T intersection on Minnewanka Loop Road, and parking for cyclists will be available at the Cascade Ponds day-use area.

Additionally, along the Bow Valley Parkway — from the Fireside day-use area to the junction with Highway 93 — the closure to vehicles that was in place last summer will resume this year beginning in late May.

Daniella Rubeling, visitor experience manager with Parks Canada, said a few adjustments have been made based on lessons learned last year.

“With that offer this summer, we’re asking visitors and cyclists to start in Banff, so to park either at the town of Banff’s Fenlands Recreation Centre or the train station parking lots, then they can access the 1A by going on the Legacy Trail from Vermilion Lakes,” she said.


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She added that a sorely missed transit route last year to the Johnson Canyon trail, the Roam route 9, will once again operate this year, allowing visitors to park in Banff and take the bus to the popular spot.

“Starting May 21, in time for the long weekend, public transit to the Johnson Canyon day-use area will resume,” she said. “We like to strongly discourage pedestrian access and encourage people to take transit instead from Banff, hike the canyon trail and then take the bus back to Banff.”

The annual Bow Valley Parkway closure to all traffic remains in effect from March 1 until June 25 from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., to give wildlife the space needed to access the valley to feed and birth young.

The positive feedback received after last year’s closures for cyclists inspired the new offerings and is part of an overarching goal to increase sustainability in the park, Rubeling said.

“We’re all gearing up for another busy summer and we recognize that last year, this winter and this summer, getting outside has been a huge source of release for regional visitors,” she said. “We’re ramping back up to include transit as part of the way we’re asking people to experience the national park in order to have that movement throughout be sustainable.”

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