Panorama of the Grotto Canyon hike in Canmore, the Canadian Rockies
Panorama of the Grotto Canyon hike in Canmore, the Canadian Rockies

Grotto Canyon Hike

Canmore
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Coming to the creek bed on the Grotto Canyon hike in Canmore, AlbertaViews on the Grotto Canyon Hike in Canmore, AlbertaWalking in Grotto Canyon, Canmore, AlbertaViews of the Grotto Canyon walk in Canmore, AlbertaLooking down Grotto Canyon trail in Canmore, Alberta, CanadaGrotto Canyon in Canmore is a great place for rock-climbers

Grotto Canyon Hike

Distance: 2.7mi
Elevation: 377ft
Time: 1.5-2.5h

Difficulty Rating:

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8.8 Overall Rating
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The Grotto Canyon hike is a local favourite. Expect to see families and rock climbers as they hike along the pretty Grotto Canyon near Canmore.

Grotto Canyon Trail Map

Getting there

To get to the Grotto Canyon, head east from Canmore on the Trans-Canada Hwy for roughly 15.2mi. Take the Seebe turn-off that takes you to the 1A (this turn-off is 2.5mi before the Stoney Nakoda Resort and Casino). When you come to a T-junction with the 1A highway, turn left and follow this road for 6.8mi and take a right after “Grotto Pond”. Park in the parking lot.

I’ve done this 66 people have done this
I want to do this 179 want to do this route

About

When to do

May - October

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

At trailhead

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Poor

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Grotto Canyon Hike
Elevation Graph


Grotto Canyon Trail Description

To start the Grotto Canyon hike, exit the Grotto Creek parking lot past the Grotto Creek Trail sign, and begin the hike on a path that roughly parallels the 1A highway.

Follow this trail for roughly 0.7mi, before you reach Grotto Creek, where you have some nice views. Head right (north) at Grotto Creek.

This is a somewhat challenging hike up Grotto Canyon, with several slick boulders that are especially difficult for young children. However, it is also a lot of fun, especially for older children, as the views change with every turn and the atmospheric canyon provides an immensely satisfying hike.

As you head up the canyon you will often see rock climbers scaling the walls of the gorge. As you ascend further into the canyon, the Grotto Canyon hike crosses and re-crosses the small stream. This is a wonderful spot for a paddle on a hot day, and kids will love jumping over the stream.

Eventually you come to a rock-face, with a waterfall on your right. This is a great place to stop and people-watch and have a snack. Hiking up the side of the waterfall is quite slick, and while some people do it, we prefer to watch them go!

Return the way you came.

Hiking Trail Highlights

Grotto Canyon

Grotto Canyon is located just a short distance from the town of Canmore and can only be accessed on foot. This beautiful, narrow-walled creek bed provides the route for a satisfying and accessible hike, offering plenty of fun for the whole family. As you ascend the canyon the limestone walls get steeper and narrower, leading eventually to a beautiful cascade, spilling down over the rock face and glistening in the summer sun.

Just before the falls, if you look at eye level to the left, you should be able to see the remains of ancient wall paintings, dating back between 500 and 1300 years ago. These are Hopi pictographs, produced by visitors from a native American tribe based in what is now Arizona. Their full native name is Hopitu, meaning ‘peaceful people’. The images on the walls of Grotto Canyon represent animals and humans, including an iconic flute player, the symbol of the tribe.

Grotto Canyon makes for a wonderful hike in summer, but it’s also a good option for a winter hike. when the stream and falls freeze over, creating a sparkling white winter playground. If you’re visiting in winter, join a guided ice walk and see another side of this beautiful canyon.

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

Insider Hints

  • The Grotto Canyon hike is a popular family-friendly hike, but with some slick bits getting over some rocks in places.

  • The Grotto Canyon hike can be done in winter if you have appropriate gear and training.

  • There are some picnic tables overlooking the pond at the parking lot. This is a great place for a picnic.

Comments

coreyg23 11 months ago

Great short hike in the Canmore area. Most of the hike is through a dry river bed so as you an imagine it is very rocky with a slight incline the whole way. From the parking lot you go up from the marked trailhead until you reach the river where you go up river. While travelling up you may get a view of climbers testing their skills, you reach an opening where two rivers seem to meet, quite a view! To the right and up there is a small waterfall, this is a good place to munch a sandwich. To the right theres a sign saying not maintained past this point, not much different then the not so maintained river bed before. Follow the river tis way to find hundreds of Inukshuk. turn around when you feel like it and follow the same path back to return to your car.

7.0 Overall Rating
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2h 30m Time Taken
DesireeD. 12 months ago

This hike seems perfect for family bonding since most hikers who visit here are family.

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2h 00m Time Taken
Allanhoward 12 months ago

It is a nice place to munch your sandwich. The view makes it much tastier!

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2h 00m Time Taken
Grant Ko. 1 year ago

Nice trail but very rocky. Hiking shoes/good running shoes are a must!

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wenzelhd 1 year ago

It was a straightforward moderate hike. The Hopi pictographs looks very sacred. Lots of great spots for picnics!

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kelsih_99 1 year ago

super rocky trail but really easy! don't do this if you want a HIKE hike, but it's great for a casual walk

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JMC 1 year ago

Neat views. The waterfall is amazing, I suggest wear appropriate footwear. Bit rocky but pretty and simple.

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Theodore R. 1 year ago

The path is easy to follow and there are pleasant views to see. Dont miss the fun!

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mmm_arla 1 year ago

A fun easy hike that can be done with the family and dogs. Quite a few spots that can be used to have a famiy picnic with. Would recommend to wear shoes with good ankle support since there are ton of rocks on the trail.

7.0 Overall Rating
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Luna M. 2 years ago

It was a peceful and quiet hike. There are lots of amazing things to see. It really took me by surprise.

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20 Comments Show all

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