hikes in Canmore
Perched on the edge of Banff National Park, Canmore is a Rocky Mountain destination with a difference! This former coal-mining town has reinvented itself in recent years, and is now one of the best destinations in the region for hiking, cycling, rock climbing and cross-country skiing. With all the delights of the national park on the doorstep, and the pleasures of Kananaskis Country to the south, Canmore is the ideal base for exploring the Rocky Mountains.
With craggy, towering summits, epic ridges, turquoise lakes and gushing waterfalls, hiking in Canmore brings everything you’d expect from the Canadian Rockies. The scenery here is truly epic, with jaw-dropping views over the peaks, lush forests and wildflower meadows. From the Canmore Nordic Provincial Park, famous for its cross-country skiing, to the beautiful Bow Valley, with its lush forests and beautiful river, there’s so much to explore in this stunning corner of the Rockies.
Canmore is also the perfect destination if you’re hoping to avoid the crowds of adventurers that flock to the region every summer. The town is quieter and more laid-back than neighboring Banff, and is therefore an excellent option for families or hikers seeking a bit of peace and quiet. With a range of epic trails at your fingertips, this friendly town is the ideal jumping-off point for your next hiking adventure.
Need any more reasons to start exploring this fabulous region? Read on for some of our favorite hiking trails in Canmore! We love this part of the Rockies, and we’re sure you will too.
10 Epic Hikes in Canmore
When it comes to hiking, Canmore offers a little bit of everything, from lush canyon walks to epic mountain trails. If you’re looking for a challenge, Canmore offers easy access to some truly jaw-dropping peaks, with razor-sharp ridge walks and satisfying ascents high above the tree line. You’ll find an incredible diversity of scenery, from sweeping wildflower meadows and lush forest, to boulder fields and glacier-clad mountains.
Canmore is also an ideal family destination, with plenty of activities to keep kids of all ages occupied! It’s also a wonderful place to introduce younger children to the delights of hiking, with lots of exciting and easy trails that pass through some spectacular scenery. Kids will love exploring lush, green gorges, gazing on waterfalls, or swimming in stunning turquoise lakes. Whatever you’re looking for, Canmore has something to please all tastes.
- Quarry Lake Hike: The stunning blue waters of Quarry Lake make this a wonderful area for a swim or an easy hike! This short route passes around the lake and the nearby hill for a figure-of-eight loop that offers some very pretty views. It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular easy hikes in Canmore.
- Bow River Trail Hike: Looking for a fun family-friendly hike in Canmore? The Bow River Trail passes through some wonderful scenery next to the Bow River, and can be lengthened or shorted depending on your needs and the abilities of your children. The path is well maintained and can accommodate strollers if necessary. There’s even a playground at the far end if your kids need to blow off a bit more steam!
- Heart Mountain Horseshoe Hike: Looking for big mountain views and a satisfying scramble up one of Canmore’s most iconic peaks? This route around Heart Mountain ticks all the boxes, and is one of our favorite day hikes in Canmore. You’ll enjoy a ridge walk, sweeping wildflower meadows and some breathtaking views.
- Mt. Yamnuska Circuit Hike: This epic hike is certainly not for the fainthearted! With some steep parts and a challenging section with chains, there’s certainly plenty of variety and you’ll need to be a confident hiker. However, the magnificent views from the summit and all along the upper part of the trail provide ample compensation for your efforts.
- Grotto Canyon Hike: Grotto Canyon is one of our favorite hikes in Canmore. It’s also a firm favorite among older kids, who love to scramble over the boulders and marvel at the streams and waterfalls. You’ll see plenty of rock climbers attempting to scale the walls of the canyon along the way, and there are lots of good places to stop for a break and a picnic!
- Lady MacDonald Tea House Hike: The name of this lovely hike is somewhat misleading, as you won’t find a teahouse at the end of the trail. The teahouse itself was never actually built, although the site is the perfect place for a picnic! You’ll enjoy magnificent views into Banff National Park and down towards Canmore, and although the route is a little steep, it’s a manageable walk for most people.
- Ha Ling Peak, Miners Peak and the Three Humps Hike: The route up to Ha Ling Peak is an exciting challenge for budding mountaineers, and a great route if you’re a beginner hiker looking for a more advanced route. The path rises steeply, first through dense forest and later with some fabulous views over Miners Peak and the Three Humps. This route will take you to all three peaks, and you’ll need to do some scrambling and navigate a scree slope. Nevertheless, it’s a satisfying challenge and one of our favorite hikes in Canmore!
- Main Street, Bow River, and the Rail Bridge Hike: Looking for a family-friendly hike that starts right in the center of Canmore? This easy trail is ideal for families with young kids, taking in the Bow River and the historic Canmore Engine Bridge. The hike culminates at Riverside Park, the perfect place for a pit stop!
- Grassi Lakes Circuit: This easy route to the very pretty Grassi Lakes offers two options, making it the ideal family hike in Canmore. If you’re travelling with a stroller or with people with mobility issues, take the gravel path all the way to the end, where you’ll enjoy stunning views over two beautiful turquoise lakes. The forest trail is much more exciting and passes by the Lawrence Grassi Waterfall – energetic kids are sure to love this option!
- Wind Ridge Hike: This exhilarating ridge walk is one of the best hikes in Canmore! With magnificent views and plenty of variety along the trail, you’re sure to enjoy every moment of the hike, passing through lush forest and wildflower meadows before ascending a wild, rocky ridge. You might need to use your hands in places and some scrambling is required, but this is a thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable hike.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Canmore?
The best time to hike in Canmore is September, when the crowds have dispersed, the weather is still warm and the trees begin to shine in a blaze of autumn colors. Although you may run the risk of catching some early snows, this is a wonderful time to be out on the trail, with fairly warm weather and far fewer people on the busier routes.
The peak season is from June to August, when visitors flock here to enjoy to wonderful summer scenery of the Canadian Rockies, and particularly, to admire the wonderful selection of wildflowers as they bloom in the summer months. Outside this period, the trails are likely to be covered in snow, although you’ll always have some opportunities for low-elevation hikes and snowshoeing, particularly in the valleys. That said, hiking in the Rockies is primarily a summer activity: although the mountains are devastatingly beautiful under a carpet of snow, they can be appreciated from the trail better in the summer.
Other Outdoor Activities In Canmore
Although hiking is one of our favorite activities in this glorious region, there are lots of other outdoor activities in Canmore, which are sure to keep adrenaline junkies happy! Canmore is a brilliant place for backpacking, and there are many multi-day treks and longer routes that can be easily accessed from the town. When your feet get tired, take to two wheels, and explore some of Canmore’s beautiful trails by bike! You’ll find some wonderful road biking routes, as well as some truly epic places for mountain biking. If you enjoy watersports, you could try your hand at canoeing, rafting or paddle boarding, or even go whitewater rafting. There are also opportunities for fishing, horseback riding, climbing, caving and canyoning, not to mention the usual roster of winter sports when the snows hit. What more could you ask for?
How To Plan A Trip To Canmore
If this has got you dreaming of your next hiking adventure, why not start planning a trip to Canmore? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you get the most out of your stay, with accommodation recommendations, seasonal top tips and of course, all our favorite hikes in the region. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly strolls or challenging scrambles, we’ve got a hike for you.Read More
The best hikes in Canmore
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