Bow River Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2.5-3h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
11.8 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
60 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.8
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama of the Bow River trail hike in Canmore, the Canadian Rockies

Walking along the Bow River is one of the best family-friendly trails in Canmore, and a great way to explore the Bow Valley and Bow River. Start in Downtown Canmore and wander up or down river, with great views and a fine path. Great hike for those with strollers.

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Route Description for Bow River Trail

This is a favorite hike with families, as the path is mostly paved and easy to navigate with a stroller. The pathway system stretches along the Bow River from Three Sisters all the way up to Larch Island in the North.

The distance we show is an out-and back route, though you can do less if that's too far.  Some families do this as a one-way hike, parking a car at either end.

We prefer to park in Three Sisters on Drygas Gate. The Three Sisters pathway initially cuts between houses on the right and a pretty forest on the left. Cross Fitzgerald Rise after 300 m and then continue down to the crossing of the Three Sisters Parkway (1.1 km). From here you can take the easy path to the left or descend to the river and enter the forest for a wonderful walk along the water. Follow this route and eventually come to a stream before rejoining the main trail (2.5 km). Continue along the path, eventually climbing a rise in a series of switchbacks and coming into more open country.

Come down the hill and you’ll notice a milky white lake on your right. Depending on the wind, you may smell it before you see it. You’ll continue on an open meadow path and then come back close to the river (4.3 km) in one of our favorite locations for a portrait in Canmore, with the Bow flowing to the north flanked by mountains on either side of the valley.

The path is evident, though with some branching’s running off. Continue ahead and eventually you come to a large open field with a playground at the far end. Cross this field then walk through a gate down a path and rejoin the Bow River. From here you can see the bridge you will cross to get into downtown Canmore. On the other side of the river, cross the road and walk down River Road.

Turn right on 8th Street and you are on Main Street Canmore.

Looking for more amazing hikes near Canmore? Check out the Grassi Lakes hike, Grotto Canyon hike or the Ha Ling Peak hike.

Insider Hints for Bow River Trail

  • Bring your snacks back to the picnic tables on the park you just passed and enjoy a wonderful view!

Getting to the Bow River Trail Trailhead

Park downtown or in Three Sisters. Wander along the pathway as long as your legs will take you.

Route Information

  • When to do

    All Year

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    Downtown Canmore

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Bow River Trail Elevation Graph

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Bow River Trail Reviews

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