"Mount Rundle is one of the most iconic mountains in Canada's Banff National Park and overlooks the towns of Banff and Canmore, Alberta. Mt. Rundle actually extends for over 12 kilometers on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway eastward from Banff to Canmore with seven distinct peaks along the way.
The idea behind 'Round Rundle is to have the fastest time circumnavigating Mt. Rundle (the entire mountain "range"). Start anywhere and end at the same spot you started (no going over the mountain). The GPX file details one possible route (the shortest known route) around Mt. Rundle however there is more than one way of getting around the mountain. Pick your path and go!" FastestKnownTime.com
Here's a detailed description of the route if you start at the Canmore Nordic Centre:
- From the nordic centre day lodge or flag, run out of the parking lot and back to the Three Sisters Parkway towards Grassi Lakes. When the road turns from pavement to gravel, do not take left towards Grassi Lakes but follow the road for approx. 3 km until you reach Whitemans Pond. From there, follow the flat/downhill road until you reach Goat Creek Trailhead. Turn right into the parking lot and head West. You'll reach the start of Goat Creek Trail.
- Once on Goat Creek, you'll be following a broad double-track almost all the way to Banff. Around 1.5 km from the trailhead, stay right at the junction with the High Rockies Trail to stay on Goat Creek. There aren't any other junctions until just around 11 km into the loop. After crossing a wide wooden bridge, there will be a junction with the Spray River Fire Road. Stay Right on Goat Creek Trail.
- A few kilometres later, you'll reach an open flat area where a metal foot bridge crosses the Spray River. Cross the bridge and follow the narrower trail on the opposite side of the river. From there, run all the way to the Banff Springs Golf Course.
- You'll reach the Golf Course just past the bridge near Bow Falls. Turn Right on Golf Course Road (paved road) towards the golf club and once you reach the buildings, keep following the golf course road until you reach a "Y" junction. At this point, stay right and follow the road for another 1.5 km or so.
- Pay attention to a small trailhead on your right just before a left hand corner. That is the start of the Rundle Riverside Trail. A broad trail sign indicates the start of the trail and what to expect. Once you start on this trail, you'll immediately be on a relatively technical single track and there are no junctions of interest until you reach the West boundary of the Canmore Nordic Centre. When you reach a pretty long climb, you're getting close. You'll be back at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Banff Trail 36-37 km into the loop.
- From the West end of the Nordic Centre, follow the broad and mellow Banff Trail all the way to the Chandra Crawford Hut. From there stay on Banff Trail eastbound until you reach the paved roller ski trail and keep going until you are back at the Day Lodge. Congrats!
- Distance: 41.5 km for the entire loop if you do the shortest way
- Time: 3 to 6 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Total Elevation Gain: 750 m
- Where to park: Canmore Nordic Centre or start of the Rundle Riverside Trail on at the end of the Banff Springs Golf Course
- Surface: Wide double-track on the Goat Creek section from Canmore to Banff, technical and Rooty single track on Rundle Riverside along the Bow River, wide double-track on Banff Trail at the Canmore Nordic Centre.