Bow River Trail

View Photos

Bow River Trail

Distance: 11.8km
Elevation: 60m
Time: 1 - 4h

Difficulty Rating:

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.

Getting there

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


When to do

All Year

Backcountry Campsites



Downtown Canmore

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type



Detailed Description

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 300m and then continue down to the crossing of the Three Sisters Parkway (1.2km). 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 (2.5km). 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 (4.3km) 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.

Insider Hints

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

Similar adventures

Grotto Canyon


A hike through Grotto Canyon is a local’s favourite. Expect to see families and rock climbers as they hike along…

Main Street, Bow River and the Rail Bridge


This is one of Canmore’s best family-friendly walks, and a great hike to introduce somebody to Canmore! Starting along Main…

Quarry Lake


A hike around Quarry Lake is one of Canmore’s hidden gems. Not only is Quarry Lake a great place to…