photo: Nicole Gaboury/Parks Canada

Awesome Alberta Cycling Day Trips

By Cailynn Klingbeil

Embarking on a road trip is a great way to create lasting family memories—especially if you do it on two wheels. Throughout the province, numerous routes feature varied length and terrain, ensuring there are options for all abilities. And if you hit a bump in the trail, remember that AMA rescues bikes, too. You don’t need a car to use your membership!

This multi-use trail loops around the town of Jasper and can be accessed nearly anywhere along the town’s borders. Pick it up in front of Parks Canada’s Jasper Information Centre on Connaught Drive, then follow the trail markers with a bear head. The 8.3-kilometre path, rated easy to moderate, is split into three sections. Bike one part or explore the entire loop, plus the path links to a handful of other nearby trails, such as the popular Mina-Riley Lakes Loop or the Wapiti Trail, which leads to two nearby campgrounds. End your ride with a sweet treat at the Bear’s Paw Bakery or its sister The Other Paw Bakery Café, both located conveniently close to the trail.

In Waterton Lakes National Park, rent a ride from local gas station Pat’s Waterton (their fleet includes tandem bicycles) and head out on this gorgeous trail. The multi-use paved pathway, named after John George Kootenai Brown, the park’s first superintendent, links the Waterton town site with the park gates 6.9 kilometres away. Here, you’ll experience stunning views of Waterton Lakes and nearby mountains. This trail is separated from vehicles, making it perfect for riders of all ages and abilities.

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Explore Central Alberta by bike, along the historical Calgary and Edmonton Trail. Also known as the C&E Trail, the route once linked The Confluence Historic Site & Parkland (formerly Fort Calgary) and Fort Edmonton. Start at the Lacombe Research Centre, home to a dedicated weed garden, then ride through quiet rural countryside and past Lacombe Lake. Continue to the town of Blackfalds for the only indoor section of the Trans Canada Trail, at the Abbey Centre. Carefully cross a highway outside Blackfalds, then just before Red Deer you’ll reach the Blindman River crossing. An out-and-back trip along this route will take around three to four hours and cover nearly 40 kilometres.

Alberta cycling day trips cypress hills park
Riding the boardwalk in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (photo: Doran Clark/Travel Alberta)

There are more than 75 kilometres of trails to ride in this park, which straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. Multiple routes of varied difficulty wind through Cypress Hills’ diverse landscape, including grasslands, marshes and forests. If it’s views you’re after, try mountain biking the 4.1-kilometre (one way) Horseshoe Canyon Trail, located at the western end of the park’s Alberta side. After 190 metres of elevation gain, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of the Horseshoe Canyon landslide.

Keeping your eyes on the trail might be the hardest part of this scenic trail between Canmore and Banff, which guides riders on a paved pathway beside the Trans Canada Highway. The nearly 27-kilometre (one way) cycle is estimated to take two to three hours to complete as a round trip, though you’ll likely want to plan for a stop at the Valley View Day Use Area, a pretty halfway point with a picnic area.

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Explore northeast Alberta on this abandoned rail line, which has been converted into 300 kilometres of continuous multi-use trails that pass through numerous communities and towns. Abilene Junction, near Ashmont (northeast of Edmonton) is considered “mile zero.” From there the trail branches southeast, west and northeast. While some parts of the path are too rocky or soft for cycling, ambitious riders are encouraged to try the nearly 70-kilometre trip from St. Paul to Heinsburg, parts of which parallel the Carlton Trail, a historic fur trade route.

AMA Bike Assist lets you use any of your annual service calls to get help if your bicycle breaks down while you’re riding. We’ll deliver air for flats, adjust chains and tighten loose handlebars. If we can’t fix it on the spot, we’ll transport your bike back home or to a repair shop.