With thousands of kilometres of trails within the city limits and even more in Calgary’s backyard, adventure lovers don’t have to go far to get an epic mountain bike ride. Whether you’re looking for some sweet single track or easy-breezy cross-country, there are plenty of ways to find your flow in and around Calgary. Here’s a look at the top mountain bike trails in Calgary, Canmore, Kananaskis, and beyond.
Best Mountain Biking Trails In and Around Calgary
Best Mountain Biking Trails In and Around Calgary
Mountain Biking Trails in Calgary
The slope between the community of Silver Springs and the Bow River has formed a natural singletrack trail thanks to decades of walkers exploring this embankment. Bowmont Park features two dozen primarily cross-country trails covering a distance of 27 kilometres. Notable trails within this 164 hectare natural area include Sideshow Bob, an intermediate technical singletrack with plenty of exposure and Bowmont Singletrack, which is also popular with fat tire snow bikers when snow is still on the ground.
Fish Creek Provincial Park
Gear up on over 60 kilometres of dedicated mountain biking trails within Fish Creek Provincial Park, a true urban oasis situated in south Calgary. You'll need several visits to cover off all 141 trails, and you can extend your ride upon the Park’s gravel and paved paths if you’d like a change of pace from the thinner trails. Yet it’s the Fish Creek Mountain Bike Skills Park that draws many mountain bikers to this provincial park. With a beginner and intermediate pump track, plus a singletrack skills loop, you’ll discover plenty of ways to refine your skills.
Trailhead: Just off 153 Ave. and Bow Bottom Trail SE
Nose Hill Park
As you’d expect from one of the one of the largest urban parks in North America, Nose Hill Park sports a robust trail system filled with several beginner to moderate-rated loops and spectacular city views. Many cyclists appreciate whizzing past native grasslands brimming with prairie crocuses and fragrant wild sage, but because endangered vegetation is found within the park, you'll need to stick to its trail system.
It’s easy to figure out the trail difficulty level at WinSport. Its downhill network focuses on rider progression and has colour-coded signage just like on the ski slopes. Flowy cross-country trails offer a good mix of jumps, rolling terrain, climbs and descents. The bike park offers 9 acres of terrain, plus a skills loop for riders to hone their abilities. Conserve your energy by taking advantage of the chairlift for you and your bike.
Trailhead: 88 Canada Olympic Road SW
Mountain Biking Trails in Kananaskis and Canmore
If you’re headed to Kananaskis Country, a Kananaskis Conservation Pass, available for purchase by day or year, is required to park your vehicle in its provincial parks.
High Rockies Trail
Sweeping through three provincial parks (Bow Valley Wildland, Spray Valley and Peter Lougheed), the High Rockies Trail is part of the Trans-Canada Trail (TCT) and is punctuated with numerous day use areas and campgrounds along the way. That’s convenient because this 80 kilometre trail is best tackled in sections via access points along the Smith Dorrien Trail (Highway 742).
At edge of Canmore, just off the TransCanada Highway, lies one of the newest mountain bike trails outside of Calgary. Guy Lafleur is a 10 kilometre out and back singletrack trail which present riders with several short, steep climbs and descents, plus all the technical aspects (riding roots, anyone?) to keep you engaged. It isn't well trafficked so definitely bring the bear spray!
Trailhead: Park roadside by the intersection of Stewart Creek Close and Three Sisters Parkway in Canmore’s Stewart Creek developments.
One of the most classic downhill routes outside Calgary, the Highline Trail is best tackled by intermediate and advanced riders as its steep switchbacks are a bit of a grind. You’ll be rewarded with a few easy creek crossings and one of the province’s longest descents. Budget an hour and half to complete this iconic ride.
Trailhead: The corner of Three Sisters Blvd and Hubman Landing, Canmore
Canmore Nordic Center
Developed for the 1988 Winter Olympics, Canmore Nordic Centre boasts a network of beginner and intermediate trails with moderate elevation gain spread out over 100 kilometres. Trails range from wide dirt roads to narrow single track on rolling terrain. Check out the Mountain Bike Skills Park with its dirt jumps, bridges, and a wall ride. Guided tours, lessons, repairs, and rentals are offered on-site at Trail Sports.
Trailhead: 1988 Olympic Way, Canmore
Mountain Biking Trails Beyond Calgary
If you’re looking for more trails to explore beyond Calgary, you won't have to go far. Within an hour's drive of city limits, an abundance of routes beckon thrill seekers of all levels.
Say good-bye to the busy trails of the Rockies and hello to the same technical terrain and spectacular mountain vistas when biking in Sundre, only an hour’s drive from Calgary. Head to the Red Deer River Valley for single and double track cross-country trails. Meanwhile Snake Hill Recreation Area offers all the feels of mountain biking without the exposure. Over 9 kilometres of singletrack trails are never more than 40 feet away from multi-use trails.
Merlin View in Bragg Creek is a popular, intermediate 6 kilometre loop ride that can be ridden in either direction, although going counter-clockwise nets a slightly shorter climb and longer descent. This ride’s progression of rollers, table-tops, bumps and bermed corners just might pull your concentration away from the fairytale forest setting.
Trailhead: West Bragg Creek Day Use Area
A combination of cross-country and downhills trails of varying levels of difficulty and distance are what’s in store for riders at Moose Mountain, west of Bragg Creek. Throughout these backcountry routes lie over 60 kilometres of singletrack and some beautiful cross-country cruisers. What’s great about this extensive trail network is that it’s easily accessed from one parking lot.
Trailhead: After May 15th, take a shuttle from the Ing Mine parking lot to access the trails.
Mountain Bike Rentals in Calgary
Mountain bike rentals in Calgary can be obtained through Bow Cycle, Sports Rent, the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre and WinSport. The 22X location of Calgary Cycle is a convenient rental spot for those heading to Bragg Creek. If you’re cycling in Canmore, you can score rentals from Rebound Cycle, Rundle Mountain Bike Rental, Gear Up and Trail Sports at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Mountain Bike Lessons
Building confidence is as fundamental to mountain biking as developing your skill and progressing to more challenging terrain. Women can advance from riding over roots to steeper terrain with Tri It Multisport's inspiring female-led classes. Classes for kids, teens and adults can be taken at the University of Calgary’s Outdoor Centre, WinSport, and YYCMTB. Check out Flow Mountain Bike Adventures for coaching and guiding in Calgary, Bragg Creek, Canmore and Kananaskis. Specific skills such as riding steeps, cornering, drops, and jumps are offered in single session courses through Alberta 55 Mountain Biking.