Canadian Rockies 2020

Trip Summary

9 Days / 8 Nights
Avg miles per day: 35-50
Hill profile: Generally long shallow hills.
Cost: $5,700 per couple

June 12 – 20, 2020


June 20 – 28, 2020

The Canadian Rockies, including the towns of Banff and Lake Louise, have been on our bucket list for ages.

Even though this trip has the word “Rockies” in the name, the climbs are surprisingly not that bad. There are some long climbs, but they tend to be in the 2% grade range. There are no sustained steep climbs in the required riding. However, if you are looking for some challenging climbs, we have them for you on the optional ride days.

The cell phone doesn’t lie…

Take in the mountain peaks, emerald green lakes, waterfalls and lush forests around the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Banff and Lake Louise. The trip starts in Calgary, a beautiful city with over 500 miles of dedicated cycleways. We ride on to the towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Canmore. In addition, the trip includes a guided ride through the city of Calgary and a visit to the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary. You also have time to hike, boat and ride the Banff and/or Lake Louise gondolas to experience the breathtaking expanse of the Canadian Rockies.

The trip is being offered on June 12 – 20 and June 20 – 28, 2020.

Day 1 We begin the tour in the center of Calgary, a short walk from the Peace Bridge and downtown. We will assemble our bikes at the hotel underground parking garage and have a group dinner.
Day 2 We will set off for a 27 mile ride around the city of Calgary. The ride is almost entirely on bike paths! We will also offer an additional ride through Calgary that will take you to Nose Hill Park, a large natural environment park that has some hills, views and quiet bike paths among wildflowers. Calgary is an extremely bike-able city. You will be on your own for dinner at one of the many restaurants within walking distance from the hotel.
Day 3 On Day 3, we will drive the group and bikes to the Grotto Canyon trail head (about an hour from Calgary), where you will begin riding to the town of Banff. At 4537 feet above sea level, Banff is the highest town in Canada. (Lake Louise is at an even higher elevation, but it’s considered a hamlet, not a town.) Riding will be 24 miles with about 1000 feet of climbing – not flat, but not too bad either. We will enjoy a group dinner in Banff.
Day 4 We spend two nights in Banff, so on Day 4, you will have the opportunity to take the Banff Gondola or hike to the top of Sulphur Mountain (7500 feet) where you can explore the network of boardwalks and/or enjoy dinner. Browse the shops of the town, learn about the history of the area, look for wildlife as you ride to Lake Minnewanka, hike, and relax in the Banff Upper Springs hot springs or just the hotel jacuzzi. Dinner is on your own on this second day in Banff.
Day 5

On Day 5, we leave Banff enroute to Lake Louise. This is 36 miles with about xxx feet of ascent. Here we ride past Vermillion Lakes and on the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A). You have the opportunity to stop by Johnston Canyon to hike to the upper or lower falls. It is not a strenuous hike and the views are gorgeous! (And there won’t be any of the white stuff that was there when we visited in April 2017!) We end the day at the Lake Louise Inn near the emerald colored Lake Louise. We will enjoy a group dinner at the Station Restaurant, in a converted train station.

Day 6 On Day 6, you have the opportunity to do what you want up at Lake Louise. This could be more riding – up the Ice Fields Parkway, taking a shuttle to Moraine Lake – or you could hike up to the the Plain of the Six Glaciers to a glacier viewpoint over Lake Louise. Dinner is on your own.
Day 7 On Day 7, we head back over to the Bow Valley Parkway and ride to the former mining town of Canmore where we will enjoy a group dinner together. The ride is 51 miles long with more downs than ups. You will have the opportunity to stop at Johnston Canyon on the way.
Day 8 On Day 8, we leave Canmore and ride 40 miles back towards Calgary. We will have a picnic lunch by the Ghost Lake recreation area. We then stop at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary for a guided tour of their facility where we see the wolfdogs that they have rescued up close. From Yamnuska, we will transport you and your bikes to a hotel near the Calgary airport where we will have your bike cases and a room for you to disassemble the bikes. Perhaps a pizza and beer party too!

On this tour you will have a bit more free time to explore than we typically provide. There are a lot of choices on what you can do each day. While there is plenty of nice riding, there are other things to do as well such as hiking, shopping, photographing nature, and more. We hope that you love this area as much as we do.

Ride Miles Elevation
Calgary City Tour 27 or 41 +/- 800 or +/- 1600
Grotto Lake to Banff 24 +1000 / -730
Banff to Lake Louise 36 +1900 / -1400
Lake Louise to Canmore 51 +1700 / -2500
Canmore to Yamnuska 40 +1000 / -1300

Additional loop rides will be offered in Banff and Lake Louise.

The cost is $5,700 per couple ($2,850/person). A non-refundable, $500 deposit will secure your spot on the tour. We require 50% payment by December 15, 2019 and the remainder is due by March 15, 2020.

What is included?

  • 8 nights lodging
  • 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 5 dinners
  • Canadian National Park Admission for four days
  • Yamnuska Wolfdog Tour
  • Transport from Calgary to the ride start, including bike
  • Transport from Yamnuska to the airport hotel, including bike, on the last day
  • Luggage transport
  • SAG support
  • Tandem bike case storage, if needed

Note that we do not provide any bicycles. We expect that you have a tandem that is in good working order and that you are able to assemble your bike. If you do not have your own tandem, you can rent a coupled tandem from Mel at Tandems East or Mark at Tandem Diversity. If you have a tandem that is not coupled, we recommend that you ship your tandem to Calgary before the tour. BikeFlights is an option. 

What is not included?

  • Airfare
  • Meals, other than those mentioned above
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Admission to some points of interest that we are not entering as a group

What is the average mileage per day?

Mileage is in the 30-50 mile range each day, with two potential rest days in the middle of the week. Many of the days will have optional lengths. Across the week, expect to ride 170 to 250 miles.

So just how much climbing is there in the Canadian Rockies?

We were surprised that the grades weren’t really that bad. Northern New Jersey is much worse! There are no sustained steep climbs on the required riding days; although there will be some steeper climbs on a few optional rides. Also, there are days where there will be ten mile 1% to 2% grade hills. This cycle tour is for intermediate level cyclists.

Where will we be staying?

While this could change, here are some of the hotels that we plan to stay in.