A Once In A Lifetime Bike + Hike

Ride on a car-free Bow Valley Parkway before it’s too late

Between Banff and Lake Louise, there’s a scenic secondary highway that runs parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway. The Bow Valley Parkway (a.k.a. Highway 1A) is known as a slower drive full of wildlife viewing opportunities. It’s also the road that takes you to the Johnston Canyon trail.

This spring, in a move made to limit the spread of coronavirus on the popular trail, the road was quietly closed to motor vehicles and opened to people for a 24-kilometre stretch from the parkway’s East Gate to Castle Junction. 

Oh, and did we mention it’s freshly paved? That means it’s now an AMAZING place for people of all ages and abilities to ride bikes while soaking in the mountain vistas! We’ve seen people out on everything from strider bikes to e-bikes to rollerblades over the past few months. 

Plus, that aforementioned trail — Johnston Canyon, which also connects to the Ink Pots (seven striking, spring-fed pools of water) — is still open, but only if you access the trailhead without a motor vehicle. So, there’s now a dreamy bike + hike combo we highly recommend.    

You can bike on a car-free highway here, to the popular Johnston Canyon trail.

There is one catch though...this pandemic perk might be over soon. 😥 We've long been uncertain about how long this opportunity will last, as Parks Canada has said little about it and avoided promotion (instead the route spread through word of mouth).

The government agency now says they’ll re-evaluate the current vehicle restrictions after the Thanksgiving weekend, meaning you may only have a couple weeks left to bike the parkway! If you don’t want to miss this (potentially) once-in-a-lifetime experience, we highly encourage a visit now. 

How amazing is it that this bike route is a 90-minute car ride from Calgary?

We’ve biked this road multiple times this summer (it’s just that good), and Cailynn has done it as a bike + hike. Here’s what you need to know:

Finally, if you make it out, or if you already have, CPAWS is running a survey

ICYMI, our inaugural Go Outside newsletter one week ago was all about larches. We loved seeing your (snowy!) photos of larch marches. Thank you for all the support, sign-ups and shares in our first week, we truly appreciate it!