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Best Things to do in Canmore Canada

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Canmore is a resort town located in the Canadian province of Alberta. It is situated about 20 minutes outside of Banff. It is located within the Bow Valley and offers amazing views of the Canadian Rockies from every possible part of the city. If you are looking for the best things to do in Canmore Canada, we got you covered. This article gives you a quick guide to Canmore activities.

Much of the Canmore area has been designated a wildlife corridor that allows animals such as bears, cougar, wolves, and elk to move between habitat patches. Living so close to Canmore allows me to make this place my go-to location for quick weekend getaways.

Canmore is a great alternative to staying in Banff. Amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in the town-site. This article features a quick guide to Canmore, Alberta
Canmore

Canmore is also my favorite as its a pedestrian-friendly town. The town centre or the “Main Street”, which was a residential road before has some of the oldest architecture in town. Now you can find the main street lined with amazing shops, cafes, restaurants, and galleries.

Guide to Canmore Activities: Things to do in Canmore Canada

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Travel Tips Canmore

Nearest Airport: Calgary International Airport is closest to Canmore. From Calgary, Canmore is about 1 hour 10 minutes by car or airport shuttle. It is located 20 minutes from the Banff National Park.

Where to stay: Being a resort town, there is a lot of accommodation options in Canmore. You can book a motel, hotel or hostel. They range from CAD$ 79-350. During peak seasons, its advisable to either plan ahead or plan to stay in Calgary or Kananaskis country.

Best Time to Visit Canmore: The best time to visit Canmore is from June to August and December to March. If you love nature and love to spend time outdoors – camping or by the lakeside, visit Canmore when the weather is warm and welcoming. (Consider the Canmore hotel rates, when booking during peak seasons). If you love to ski and enjoy playing with snow, visit Canmore in winter, when it’s very beautiful too.

Good to Know: You have access to amazing views of the Canadian Rockies, from any part of the town – from a fast-food chain to a hotel balcony to any parking lot and I think this makes Canmore very special.

Also, you don’t pay any park fees to visit through or stay in Canmore (you can thank me later :)).

Popular Canmore activities include horse riding, rafting, hiking, fishing, rock-climbing, canoeing, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, bird- watching, windsurfing, and of course camping.

Places to visit in Canmore Activities List

The Three Sisters

Canmore is a great alternative to staying in Banff. Amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in the town-site. This article features a quick guide to Canmore, Alberta
Three Sister, Canmore

The Three Sisters is the name given to a range of mountain peaks in Canmore, Alberta. The mountain range has 3 peaks and hence the name “three sisters”. The 3 peaks are individually marked for – Faith (Big Sister), Charity (Middle Sister), and Hope (Little Sister). They are stunning to look at and can be viewed from most parts of the town.

Big Head Sculpture

Canmore is a great alternative to staying in Banff. Amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in the town-site. This article features a quick guide to Canmore, Alberta
Big Head – tosomeplacenew

Located on the 8th Street, at the North East side of the bridge over Policeman’s Creek, you will find this striking sculpture of a human head, half-buried and in deep thought. This sculpture is called the Big Head.

The name Bog Head is a variation of the town’s name, Canmore. The Town’s name originated from its namesake town in Scotland (called the Ceannmore, meaning “Big Head” in Celtic).

Grassi Lakes Hike Trail

One of the stunning hikes in Canmore is the Upper Grassi Lakes trail and the Grassi lakes trail loop. It is a 3.2 kilometres trail and is great for hikers of all levels. During summers the waters are turquoise blue and it is stunning. During winters, certain areas of the trail are still accessible and can be used for hiking.

Children can be taken on strollers and dogs are allowed (on lease). The Grassi Lakes is also a popular rock climbing area.

Policeman’s Creek – Easy Hikes Canmore

Canmore is a great alternative to staying in Banff. Amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in the town-site. This article features a quick guide to Canmore, Alberta
Policeman’s Creek

One of my favorite spots in the city!

The Policeman’s Creek is a short hiking trail located very close to the main street of Canmore. There is a wooden boardwalk that runs through the creek, connecting the main road to a residential block. It’s a beautiful spot and you can photograph amazing shots of the Canadian Rockies.

The Policeman’s Creek is located by the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP) Barracks.

The NWMP Barracks was built-in 1893 and was served until 1929 as the lodgings, office, and jail for the police officers of Canmore. The Barracks was declared an Alberta Provincial Historic Resource in 1990. It is the oldest NWMP site in Western Canada to still stand on its original location. This historic resource is open all year round.

Grotto Mountain Winter Hike

If you are visiting Canmore in winters, consider taking a hiking tour with a guide to the Grotto Mountains. These tours are for 4-5 hours and they start from Canmore. A guide takes you, trekking on snow-covered surfaces and you can explore icefalls and rock formations along the way, as you arrive at the Grotto Mountains.

Guide to Canmore activities. Canmore offers amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in town. Perfect for slow travel, easy hikes and relaxation.

The hike is not difficult. You will have to come prepared with warm clothing and sturdy shoes. Book here for your Winter Hike tour for the Grotto Mountains

More Canmore Hiking Trails

Canmore maintains over 70 kilometers of the trail network. It is really a paradise for trail lovers – with easy to difficult levels, all accessible within the town’s boundaries.

Some of the popular trails include

  • Canmore Trail Network.
  • Benchlands Ridge Trail And Hoodoos.
  • Three Sisters Pathway.
  • Bow River Loop.
  • Larch Islands Interpretative Trail.
  • Benchlands Ridge Trail And Hoodoos.
  • Three Sisters Pathway.
  • Grassi Lakes Hiking Trail.
  • Grotto Canyon Hiking Trail.
  • Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk (easy & one of my favorites)

Read More Canmore Trails

Camping at Bow Valley Provincial Park

Just 30 kilometres east of the town-site of Canmore, is the largest campground of the Bow Valley Provincial Park. The park was established in 1959 in the arch of Bow River, at the confluence with Kananaskis River.

Canmore is a great alternative to staying in Banff. Amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in the town-site. This article features a quick guide to Canmore, Alberta
Enroute to Bow Valley

Canmore Cave Tours

A great way to spend time in Canmore is by taking a cave tour in Rat’s Nest Cave. Rat’s Nest Cave is a wild undeveloped cave near Canmore. It is located under the Grotto Mountain.

The Canmore Cave tours are unique as these are natural history tours. You will be provided with equipment and guidance to explore, crawl, embrace, and slide your way throughout the cave. Although it is not for everybody, the cave tours are dark, dirty, small, but it is definitely an experience for a lifetime.

Find out more about Canmore Cave Tours and book them here. These tours can be taken all year round. Equipment rentals are provided.

Skiing & Snowboarding at Canmore Nordic Centre

Canmore is a great alternative to staying in Banff. Amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in the town-site. This article features a quick guide to Canmore, Alberta
Nordic Centre – Canmore

If you love to ski, the Nordic Centre is the place for you. Located immediately west of Canmore – the Nordic Centre was the host of the 1988 Winter Olympic games. Currently, the park offers a wide variety of recreational activities including cross country skiing, biking, hiking, disk golf, and orienteering.

It also hosts regional, national, and international events all year round.

Other Canmore Activities

Elevation Place

Elevation Place is an indoor activity centre. The centre has swimming pools, gym, steam room, climbing area, and many learning activities for kids.

Canmore Civic Centre

Located in the heart of Canmore, on 7th avenue, the Canmore Civic Centre is a two-story facility that houses the town Municipal offices and the Canmore Museum and Geo-Science Centre. The Canmore visitor centre is also located nearby.

Wild Life Distillery

A visit to this distillery is a must in Canmore Alberta. The owners craft amazing spirits and offer great client service. Learn more about WildLife Distillery here. 

Canmore is a great alternative to staying in Banff. Amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in the town-site. This article features a quick guide to Canmore, Alberta
End of the Trail, Policeman’s Creek

Food & Restaurants in Canmore AB

Canmore promises you amazing food and beautiful views. That’s why it’s one of my favorite weekend getaways. The downtown area has tons of restaurants, bars, and cafes. Let me start with my favorites:

  • Spice Hut – Located in the Ramada Hotel complex, Spice Hut is an East -Indian restaurant. I love their delicious Chicken Masala and rice. Give it a try!
  • JK Bakery Cafe – Started by a German man and now locally owned by 3 operators, they serve the best-baked items – cakes, pastries, samosas, sweet pies, and also artisan bread. I love their creamy earl grey (black) tea. If you sit outside the café, you can see amazing views of the Rockies. That is why this is my go-to Canmore Breakfast place.
  • The Rocky Mountain Bagel Co – The RM Bagel Co is located on 1306 Bow Valley Trail. If you love bagels, they can find a lot of varieties here.
  • Good Earth Café – Another coffee joint – but it deserves a mention because of its lattes and sandwiches!
  • Aroma Mexican Café – The interior of this café, takes you to the beaches to Tulum. Well, at least their shack does. Authentic Mexican food and Jarritos to go, you can also try-on their hats and blankets and click some interesting photos!
  • The Wood Lounge – The Wood Lounge and Restaurant offers great draft selection, beef, and beautiful patio views.
  • Grizzly Paw Restaurant –  A pub, restaurant, and a micro-brewery

Lodging in Canmore Alberta

Canmore has incredible accommodation options and they come with incredible views. You can find budget hotel options like Ramada hotel (CAD $79 average/night) or luxury stay like Falcon Crest Lodge & Solara Resort & Spa (CAD$155-390+)

Canmore is a great alternative to staying in Banff. Amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in the town-site. This article features a quick guide to Canmore, Alberta
Canmore Staycation – tosomeplacenew

This picture was taken during my stay at the Falcon Crest Lodge. You can indulge in a hot tub or book a spa with amazing mountain backdrops. 

There are motels and resorts located by the Bow Valley Trail area as well as the Kananaskis Way.  Of course, look for balcony views, if possible. Most resorts have a fireplace, pool, and/or hot tub. 

If you find a hard time booking accommodation during the peak seasons, you can always stay in Calgary, another popular Canadian city, and its located just an hour or so away from Canmore/Banff. The extra drive is worth it because sometimes you might sight some wildlife or Northern lights greeting you!

Here are some of the Hotel Recommendations for the town of Canmore –

  • Falcon Crest Lodge – This is our absolute favorite. We have stayed here 3 times already because the views from their balconies are just amazing!
    • Also, rated the #1 hotel to stay in Canmore
    • Their rooms are spacious and very clean
    • Hot tub/pool available in the hotel property
    • The VIEWS are amazing as you can see. Three Sisters in all its glory can be seen from their bedroom windows – imaging waking up to this every morning! (Oh, can I just move here?)
    • Book your hotel stay here
Canmore is a great alternative to staying in Banff. Amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in the town-site. This article features a quick guide to Canmore, Alberta
Canmore Staycation – Falcon Crest
  • Canmore Inn and Suites – Located in the heart of Canmore, this hotel is a great budget option.
    • Close to the restaurants and convenience stores.
    • You can see amazing views of the mountains from the hotel as well. Canmore is that awesome!
    • Book your stay here 
  • Quality Resort Chateau – The interiors of this hotel are very fascinating!
    • Clean and spacious room, some with fireplaces
    • Love their bar and restaurant
    • Lots of activities nearby including golf, skiing, etc
    • Book your stay here
  • Coast Canmore Hotel & Conference – One of my favorite hotels in Canmore – Coast Canmore takes you into a different place like an oasis
    • Love their patio and garden. They have a bar and restaurant in the hotel property.
    • Their rooms are “state of the art” kind, with modern paintings. AND their washrooms gorgeous with beautiful bathtubs for that relaxing weekend!
    • Only 6 km to the Nordic Provincial Centre
    • Book your night here

We recommend using  Booking.com  to find accommodation. It is our favorite hotel website for quickly comparing the prices of multiple hotel booking sites at once.

Search for Hotels in Canmore Canada


Booking.com

Additional Information

Due to its amazing views, a pedestrian-friendly place, and its laid-back environment, Canmore is one of my favorite places on earth. If you are in town, next time, look for their events calendar Canmore Events and Activities

Here are some helpful posts for planning your trip to the Canadian Rockies.

Pin for Later – Guide to the town of Canmore – Things to do in Canmore Canada

Canmore Alberta Pin. Guide to Canmore activities. Canmore offers amazing views of Canadian Rockies from anywhere in town. Perfect for slow travel, easy hikes and relaxation.
Guide to Canmore Alberta activities

 

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48 Comments

  1. You weren’t kidding about it being surrounded by the Rockies. There’s a beautiful view at every turn it seems. Australia has a Three Sisters rock formation as well. I don’t know why I thought it was the only one in the world. Turns out it was the only one that I knew of 😉

    1. Right? I have been to so many towns within the National Park area and even to their sister towns, but you cant beat Canmore
      Even views from a fast food chain or Grocery store on Main Street are gorgeous!
      Canada has a “3 sisters” too, just like Australia. I heard about the Australia’s one, but never visited.

  2. So pretty! I never make it to snowy places like this, it looks like a winter wonderland with all that snow. I’ve always been a desert girl but I’ve been dying to explore Canada lately! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    1. You are welcome Erin. So glad that you found inspiration for winter exploration from this post. I am sure you will enjoy a snow capped scenery, with a hot cocoa in hand and/or engage in winter sports 🙂

    1. Thank you! Yea the Big Head is scultpure is actually very unique. The history of the town’s name and its connection to a Scottish town is also fascinating!

  3. Thanks for this! On our Canada Trip we are planning to see this place right before we go to Glacier National Park! Love all of your pictures and it is getting me so excited for this summer!!!!! 😀

  4. Ahh as a BC girl, I can’t believe I’ve never been to Canmore! Your photos are gorgeous and I’m dying to do some of those hikes. Amazing post 🙂

  5. Very interesting landscapes in here. I love all your shots, you are so good at this. Congrats 🙂 The tips in your post could be very helpful in planning a trip there.

  6. Oh, how lovely! Your photos are great. Love the fact that Canmore is not that far from the airport and that is pedestrian friendly. I’d enjoy all the walks. And would probably fall in love with the view of that Policeman Creek. 🙂
    It must be great to live close by, so that it can get to be a weekend getaway. Thanks for the info, this was the first time I’ve heard about the place. 🙂

    1. Road trips are a great way to explore Canada – eastern side just as pretty as the western side. But Canadian Rockies will melt your heart – a must visit!

  7. Wow bowled over with the beauty of canmore.feels like visiting it now only. I will surely plan a visit to cannada soon.thanks for sharing

  8. I’d absolutely love to go to Alberta one day. This looks like such a cute town and so much to do in the area. Great photos too – mountains are my favourite things to photograph.

  9. i’m trying to convince my friend to go on our annual road trip to Banff. Fingers crossed this convinces her!

  10. Wow! So gorgeous! I want to go to Banff and I think this would be a great trip to add to it. JK Bakery Cafe sounds like a perfect place for lunch. I can’t get over the photos. I’m sure it’s even better in person.

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