E-Bike Expansion in Banff National Park

Bow Valley e-bikers were thrilled this week when Banff National Park announced they would be revising a restricted activity to allow pedal assist bikes to be used on a greater number of trails within the Park. With the announced revision, pedal-assist bikes are now allowed on:

  • Tunnel Mountain technical trails such as Topp Notch, Star Wars and Return of the Jedi.
  • In the Lake Louise area, pedal-assist bikes are allowed on the Bow River loop, the Tramline and Great Divide Route.
  • Healy Creek and Brewster Creek trail from the trailhead at the base of Sunshine Village to Sundance Lodge, which is operated by Banff Trail Riders; however, they are not allowed on the Healy Creek trail east beyond the junction with Brewster Creek trail.

Although mountain bikes and horses have been allowed on these trails for years, local environmental groups are calling on Parks to rescind this expansion. They say pedal-assist bikes go too fast and enable more people to reach the backcountry.

AMPPE however strongly supports Parks Canada’s decision to enable e-bikes on a wider variety of trails within Banff National Park. Encouraging the use of e-bikes will help Banff National Parks to reduce traffic congestion, reduce demand for parking spaces and-importantly-reduce GhGs.

E-bikes appeal to a wide range of users, from recreational riders to people with disabilities who would not otherwise be able to access trails due to difficult uphill approaches. 

Due to the tremendous popularity of e-biking, Parks Canada began an assessment of e-bikes in 2019 to determine where e-bikes would be permitted in Banff National Park.

Officials say the assessment analyzed each proposed location, taking into account ecological integrity if traditional bikes were already allowed, and conformance with the agency’s mandate, policies and regulations.

Parks Canada has been studying the suitability of e-bikes on various trails throughout the Park since 2019.

Alberta Environment and Parks has just concluded a study of e-bikes and expects results to be announced in early 2022.

Quick Facts:

-The trails where e-bikes are now allowed have already been available for mountain biking and horse riding for years. Pedal-assist bikes perform similarly to a fit person on a mountain bike. 

-Only class 1 pedal-assist e-bikes are allowed on permitted trails in Banff National Park. That means power assistance is only provided when the e-bike is being pedaled, the power assistance must stop when the speed reaches 32km/h.

-In its Draft 2020 Parks Management Plan, Parks Canada strongly supports accessibility.