One of my personal FAVOURITE places in Canada, this town is surrounded by beautiful scenery, has a cozy feel, and makes my heart happy. With many trails around town, the Canmore Nordic Centre, hikes, biking, and climbing (just to name a few activities) nearby it is the perfect location for someone looking to enjoy mountain activities. Here is a guide to the stunning town of Canmore, Alberta.
WHERE IS CANMORE
Canmore is situated just over an hour away from Calgary, and minutes away from Banff National Park, Kananaskis Country, and Bow Valley Provincial Parks. The location is perfect for someone looking to live, explore, or play in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. What was once a small mining town, has now turned into a home for many and a perfect tourist destination. If you are trying to decide between staying in Banff or Canmore, check out my post here.
You can also check out my detailed guide on DriftFeed: 5 Days in the Rocky Mountains for a detailed trip itinerary!
BEST TIME TO VISIT CANMORE
The best time to visit Canmore really depends on what you are looking for.
Canmore, like all the other towns around, is the busiest during July and August as many tourists come from all over the world to enjoy the Rocky Mountains.
September-early October or June are the ideal months as it is still typically warm, the days are long, the lakes are blue, but the town is quieter. To note, there are times that it will snow in June and October – so you just never really know!
If you are wanting to participate in Winter activities then your best bet is to visit during the winter months, January and February typically have the most snow on the ground.
If you are visiting in the winter months, make sure to pack accordingly – it can get quite cold.
WHERE TO STAY IN CANMORE
Use the following links to check rates and availability.
Hotels | Booking.com
Hostels | Hostelworld.com
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN CANMORE
Ski or Bike in the Nordic Center
The Nordic Centre was built in 1988 for the Calgary Olympic Winter Games. Here you can enjoy many activities including skiing and mountain biking with amazing views of Mount Rundle and Canmore.
You can rent all needed equipment on site. The centre also offers mountain bike, cross country ski, and disc golf lessons. Click here for more details on rentals and lessons.
In the winter, the centre is busy with cross country skiing. There is more than 65km of groomed trails, and 6.5km of lit up trails for night skiing.
In the summer, you can enjoy over 100km of mountain bike trails, and running trails. They have an 18-hole disc golf course that is free to use. They also have a Roller Ski Loop and Biathllon Range.
Always check trail reports before visiting. Either call the Visitor Experience desk at 403-678-2400 or check here.
Explore the mountains through climbing
For outdoor climbing, check here for more information.
If you are looking for guided climbing experiences, check out CanRock Mountain Guides for more information.
Golf the picturesque courses
Canmore has some of the most scenic golf courses. As you play your 18-holes, you can soak in the landscape and enjoy the crisp mountain air.
Silvertip Golf Course
Where | Google Maps.
Cost | 18-holes ranges from $89 – $159, 9-holes $79
Book a Tee Time | Silvertip Golf Course
Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club
Where | Google Maps.
Cost | 18-holes ranges from $120 – $235, 9-holes $95
Book a Tee Time | Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club
Canmore Golf and Curling Club
Where | Google Maps.
Cost | 18-holes $95, 9-holes $48
Book a Tee Time | Canmore Golf and Curling Club
You can also drive about 20 min to Banff and golf the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course or 40min to Kananaskis for the Kananaskis Country Golf Course.
Hike the many peaks
If you’re visiting Canmore – then likely you are looking for some adventure time on the mountains. There are SO many hikes around that span from easy to very difficult.
Make sure to do your research ahead of time and pack accordingly.
The BEST app in my opinion is AllTrails. On AllTrails you can look at the hike difficulty, reviews, pictures, and track your progress while on the hike.
Some of my personal favourite hikes in the area include:
Ha Link Peak (currently CLOSED) | If you want an extra adventure, I would recommend doing this hike for sunrise! The views are so worth the 4am wake up call. Where | Google Maps.
EEOR (currently CLOSED) | A good option if you are more advanced, or looking to scramble. Where | Google Maps.
Grassy Lakes Trail (currently CLOSED) | This is a shorter hike great for families and popular during peak summer months. You can choose between two routes, one that is easier and one that is more challenging. Where | Google Maps.
Make sure to check out 5 Awesome Hikes in Banff National Park for more details on the hikes above and more options around the Canmore region.
Walk along the numerous trails
There are many areas of Canmore to explore by foot. With the Bow River running through town and both Canmore Creek and Spring Creek nestled within the neighbourhoods, there are many trails that can be explored by foot from Canmore’s main 8th St.
You will often spot wildlife including deer, elk, and moose.
You can also do a wilderness and wildlife walking tour provided by Canmore Trails and Tails Inc.
Canmore Creek Trail | This trail begins at Bow River before weaving through the neighbourhood following Canmore Creek. Where | Google Maps.
Policemen Creek Boardwalk Trail | This boardwalk trail is a great way to explore the landscape of Canmore. To note, part of the trail is currently under construction. Where | Google Maps.
Bow River Loop | This is a popular trail for walkers and trail runners. This trail is close to the town centre – about a 10 min walk. As it is a loop, you can really start it at any point, however many people use the engine bridge as their start and finish point. Where | Google Maps.
Quarry Lake Loop | Not only is this trail a loop around Quarry Lake, it also provides outstanding views of the mountains around and is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day. The trail is further out from the town centre, so driving to it is recommended. There is a parking lot, but you do have to pay to park. Where | Google Maps.
Bike from Canmore to Banff
If you are up for a 25km bike ride one way – you can rent a bike in Canmore (or bring your own!) and bike from Canmore to Banff along the Banff Legacy Trail.
Take a break in Banff, enjoy a nice meal or some Cows ice cream.
Stroll down 8th St
Enjoy Canmore’s main strip, 8th St. Here you will find many restaurants, cafes, galleries, and shops.
Keep reading to find out where to eat and shop in Canmore – with many suggestions along 8th St.
Treat yourself to a spa day
There’s nothing better than getting a massage after a long hike. Or just spoiling yourself with a spa day.
Wildflower Massage & Esthetics has everything from a classic relaxation massage to fascial stretch therapy.
If you are wanting the ultimate relaxing day, head 40min into Kananaskis and enjoy a day at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa.
Enjoy a picnic at Quarry Lake
Quarry Lake is a great place to spend the day. With magnificent views of the mountains, picnic tables, and a lake that is perfect for swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking, Quarry Lake has something for everyone.
Quarry Lake can get quite busy on a nice summer day, so plan accordingly and arrive early.
There is also an off leash dog park closer to the big parking lot.
The only con is that you must pay for parking. Regardless, it is still a great option if you are looking for a relaxing way to spend the day outdoors soaking in the fresh mountain air.
Go on a dog sledding adventure
Dog sledding is such a fun and unique experience. A different way to experience the mountains, and surely something that will be remembered forever.
Tour companies in Canmore offer both winter and summer tours. Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours has many different tour options – from 2 hour tours to 2 day tours.
Visit Banff for the day
If you have never visited Banff, this is a must. Only about a 20-minute drive from Canmore, this town is located within Banff National park (so you will need to buy a Park pass!).
Take a stroll down Banff Avenue, explore the Fairmont Banff Springs, and soak in the amazing view of Cascade Mountain.
Where | Banff
Explore the Rat’s Nest Cave
Going on a cave tour is a great unique way to explore the Rocky Mountains (especially on a rainy day!). Canmore is home to Rat’s Nest – one of the largest cave systems in Canada.
Canmore Cave Tour has 2 different tour options and provides all necessary equipment.
The cave is around 5 degrees celsius, so you will definitely want to pack warm clothing.
Paddle the Bow River
Paddle, raft, or just float along the Bow River. Enjoy the glacier blue water, the 360 degree views of mountains, and the wildlife from the river.
Bow Valley Sup offers stand up paddle boards (SUP) and kayaks for rent, plus lessons and tours.
Canmore Raft Tours offers many different rafting tour options from a 1 hour rafting float to a 3 day rafting adventure.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN CANMORE
Reservations are always recommended whenever possible – as many of these places will fill up during peak months!
Rocky Mountain Bagel Co.
A great selection of bagels, sandwiches, bakery items and drinks. There is some outdoor seating and lots of indoor seating, however this place can get quite busy. There can be a long line, but it typically moves fast.
Rocky Mountain Bagel Company is a must when you are in Canmore!
Where | Rocky Mountain Bagel Co.
Opening Hours | 1am – 5pm daily.
Reservations | No reservations.
Rocky Mountain Flatbread
With many unique pizza options, friendly staff, and great beers on tap – where else would you want to go after a day of hiking?
Rocky Mountain Flatbread pride themselves on farm to table pizzas – and it couldn’t be more true. The flatbread pizza’s are fresh and delicious.
Where | Rocky Mountain Flatbread
Opening Hours | 11:30am – 9 or 10pm depending on the day.
Reservations | No reservations. Call directly for large group inquiries.
Canmore has a few different breweries, so you have your pick. They are all great options after a day of hiking and exploring the Rocky Mountains.
Tank310 | Created by The Grizzly Paw Brewing Co, Tank 310 has spectacular views through their windows of the mountains. I would recommend trying out a flight of their beer.
Sheepdog Brewing | a great little brewery with a fun atmosphere and a patio – so dogs are welcome! Their beer selection often changes so check here for their latest selection.
Blake Brewhouse and Distillery | a converted garage brewhouse & distillery housing Three Sisters Vodka, Miner’s Choice Rum, and of course their different beers to compliment their food menu. Check them out here.
Canmore Brewing | a classic stop. Serving up their usual line up of beers, they also have seasonal brews and Beer Cocktails. Check here for more information on the tasting room, food, and to book a tour.
A unique menu with seasonal options – Crazyweed Kitchen is a great option in Canmore. I would 10/10 recommend ordering a bunch of different plates and sharing them.
Where | Crazyweed Kitchen
Opening Hours | 4:30pm – 9:30 or 10pm Wednesday – Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Reservations | Click here for reservations.
A hidden gem in Canmore. Ramen Arashi is a great option on a cold day, or if you are in the mood for some delicious ramen. With vegan options – there is something for everyone.
Where | Ramen Arashi
Opening Hours | 11:30am – 8:30pm daily
Reservations | No reservations. You can order online here.
Healthy, local bites (and great coffee) in a counter-serve cafe. The pad thai is always a great option. Communitea Cafe is a go to for me when I want a healthy meal option.
Where | Communitea Cafe
Opening Hours | 9am – 7pm daily
Reservations | No reservations. You can order online here.
WHERE TO SHOP IN CANMORE
If you are wanting to do some shopping (or window shopping), I would recommend taking a walk along 8th street. Here you will find unique clothing stores, souvenir shops, galleries, and more!
Here are some stores to check out along 8th street:
Rocky Mountain Soap Company | All natural skin care products
Alberta’s Own | Store filled with local vendors and unique creations
Stonewaters | A beautiful store with a bit of everything
Valhalla Pure | Outdoor clothing and gear
Project A | A fine craft store with lots of jewellery and art pieces
Cafe Books Ltd | An adorable bookstore with a hidden used book section at the back
Indigo Bay | A selection of women’s clothing and footwear
Canmore has so much to offer – and is a great location for those who love the outdoors and want to explore the Rocky Mountains. I hope this guide to Canmore has provided you with some ideas for your next adventure. If you’ve been to Canmore, let me know what your favourite things are to do!