Categories > Guides and Tips
- Best Time to Go
- Things to Know
- How to Get There
- What to Do
- Hike to the lakes
- Go rock climbing
- Snowshoe in the winter
- Snap photos of the views and wildlife
- Where to Stay
- Ambleside Lodge B&B
- Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge
- Pocaterra Inn and Waterslide
- Northwinds Hotel Canmore
- Where to Eat
- Murrieta's Mountain Bar & Grill
- Communitea Cafe
- Rocky Mountain Bagel Company
- The Grizzly Paw Pub
- Ramen Arashi
- FAQ about Grassi Lakes
Grassi Lakes—a Canmore jewel with stunning turquoise lakes that’s a not-so-secret hiking spot. With breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies and plenty of wildlife, it’s definitely a must-visit while in Alberta!
Want to visit this stunning place but don’t know what to do and where to go? We’ve made a travel guide just for you, so read on to begin your journey!
Best Time to Go
Grassi Lakes is open year-round, but the best time to go is from May to October to get a better hiking experience. During these months, you get a better view of the turquoise lakes and the waterfalls.
Do note that Grassi Lakes is a popular and busy hiking trail, so try to avoid weekends and drive there really early to get a head-start.
It’s best to avoid going there during spring and winter because it can get really dangerous. There’s avalanche activity in the area, so it’s best to visit Avalanche Canada to check the current conditions.
Things to Know
- Grassi Lakes Trail – Canmore, AB T0L 2C0, Canada
- Kananaskis Visitor Information Centre – 1 AB-40, Kananaskis, AB T0L 2H0, Canada
Contact: Kananaskis Visitor Information Centre – 403-678-0760
Admission: Kananaskis Conservation Pass
- Single Day, Personal Vehicle – $15 + tax
- Single Day, Small Commercial Vehicle (15 pax or less) – $135 + tax
- Single Day, Large Comercial Vehicle (Less than 15 pax) – $180 + tax
- Annual – $90 + tax
Multi-day pass available. License plate is required for purchase verification.
How to Get There
By Car: No buses or shuttles go to Grassi Lakes, so driving is the best way to get there, and there are plenty of rental cars in Calgary. While you can take a taxi, returning to the city will be a problem since no taxis frequently stop by Grassi Lakes.
Grassi Lakes is located outside of Canmore. Just minutes from downtown, go to Canmore Nordic Centre, head southeast to Olympic Way and turn right to Three Sisters Parkway-Smith Dorrien Spray Trail (Highway 724).
Keep your eye out for the Grassi Lakes Trail sign, and from there, you can head on to the parking lot. We dropped a handy Google Maps guide to help you get to Grassi Lakes from the Canmore Nordic Centre.
What to Do
This Albertan gem is the perfect spot for solo goers, groups of friends, and families with kids. You can even bring your grandparents and take the easy trail!
Here are some activities you can do in Grassi Lakes:
Hike to the lakes
Hiking is the most popular activity at Grassi Lakes because it’s a pretty moderate loop trail with a bit of elevation gain. Despite a few steep and rocky areas, it remains a short hiking trail, taking just an hour or two, depending on your speed and skill level.
There are two trails: the Grassi Lake Upper and the Grassi Lake Interpretive. The latter is a moderate trail, considered the difficult route because of the steep areas, while the former is an easy one and pretty much maintained since it follows a road in a forest.
Grassi Lake Interpretive has a steep section at the end of the trail but comes with spectacular views of the town of Canmore and the waterfalls. It’s certainly a great hike for the views alone!
Go rock climbing
You can go and enjoy some rock climbing as this area is ideal for beginners and intermediate climbers. The overhanging limestones are a great sports climbing spot since there are plenty of jugs to hold on to.
But be warned! This place tends to attract crowds, and since almost everyone drives to get here, falling rocks aren’t a surprise. Mountain goats also add to the number of flying rocks!
So, make sure you bring your helmet (and a good, sturdy one; don’t skimp out!) and gear to keep yourself safe.
Snowshoe in the winter
Get out of the house in the winter and enjoy some snow-covered scenic views. You can snowshoe in Grassi Lakes using the two trails.
Although this gem has short loop trails that usually take an hour or two, the snow and cold weather can make the experience take longer. Also, wearing show shoes provides better traction since some areas tend to be slippery.
That said, make sure to check the avalanche activity in the area before driving up. Grassi Lakes and Highway 742 are sometimes closed if there’s a risk of rapid snow falling off the mountains.
Snap photos of the views and wildlife
Since Grassi Lakes is a short hike, you can bring your camera gear and snap some cool shots of the gorgeous views of the mountains and the lakes. The emerald-coloured lake, of course, is no doubt the best photography spot!
If you’re lucky, you can catch some wildlife, such as bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Remember to stay on the trail for safety since these are wild animals that may attack if threatened.
It’s also best to bring bear spray since we’re in Alberta. Ask the visitor centre about the bear activity in the area, and if the number of sightings gets too dangerous, it’s a good idea to return next time—there are still plenty of scenic spots in Canmore (canmore hikes) to visit.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of places to stay near Grassi Lakes in Canmore and Banff. We’ve rounded up the best places to stay for a relaxing stay!
Ambleside Lodge B&B
Starting Rate: $179/night
This rustic bed and breakfast chalet in Canmore is the place to stay if you want to wake up with gorgeous views of the Rocky Mountains in the morning. The space feels cozy and inviting, complete with stone wall accents and horn chandeliers.
With three types of rooms, there’s a choice for every family. There’s even Netflix to watch your favourite shows after your Canmore adventure.
It’s an accessible vacation spot from Grassi Lakes, only a 10-minute drive. It’s also so close to Canmore’s main street, just a 10-minute walk.
Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge
Starting Rate: $99/night
A highly accessible place to stay, this ski lodge is close to both Kananaskis Country and Banff National Park. This is perfect for families, even those with furry companions!
This lodge has many rooms with kitchens, including a standalone cottage, making it ideal for a long vacation. Complete with a BBQ and picnic area, this place feels like a home away from home.
Pocaterra Inn and Waterslide
Starting Rate: $129/night
A 15-minute drive from Grassi Lakes, this inn is the best vacation spot for families with kids. It’s a non-smoking facility and has an indoor pool with a tall waterslide for kids and a hot tub and sauna for adults.
This inn with mountain views has affordably priced rooms. You can also bring your pet with you, which is pretty neat since dogs are allowed at Grassi Lakes.
Northwinds Hotel Canmore
Northwinds Hotel Canmore is a convenient hotel. Think: airport shuttle, virtual check-in, communal patio, in-house restaurant, and pet-friendly rooms.
There’s easy access to plenty of restaurants nearby, and there’s also a huge parking space. To top it off, you can see the Rocky Mountains from the hotel.
Where to Eat
A trip to Canmore isn’t complete without trying some of the delicious restaurants. Here are our top choices to satisfy your cravings:
Murrieta’s Mountain Bar & Grill
- Monday – Thursday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
- Friday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Sunday: 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Right in the heart of Canmore, this place offers great drinks and great food, complete with scenic mountain views of Canmore. This restaurant uses locally sourced seasonal ingredients, keeping customers surprised with new dishes on the menu.
A must-try dish is the Alberta Lamb Meatballs showered with peperonata sauce and grana padano cheese or the lamb meatball spaghetti with roasted garlic tomato sauce and grana padano cheese.
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:30 AM – 6:30 PM (subject to change)
It’s one of our go-to places for healthy meals in Canmore. This cafe serves vegan and dairy-free meals, complete with organic ingredients.
The Buddha bowl is certainly a favourite of ours, which has sesame soy tofu, spinach and brown rice, shredded beets and carrots, topped with tahini dressing—we highly suggest adding in avocado!
Another dish our team loves is the quesadilla with chicken, avocado, and chipotle sauce. It’s ideal for a light lunch!
Rocky Mountain Bagel Company
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM (subject to change)
This Albertan spot is a quick breakfast spot for mountain-style bagels. The team makes over 150 bagels each night, all from scratch!
Our team, who had tasted the famous Montreal bagels, was impressed by this place! The breakfast lox is a particular favourite, with egg, salmon, mozzarella, and cream cheese. Yum!
The Grizzly Paw Pub
- The Paw – 622 8 St, Canmore, AB T1W 2B5, Canada
- Taproom – 310 Old Canmore Rd, Canmore, AB T1W 0J7, Canada
- The Paw
- 403-678-2487 ext. 3
- The Paw
- Monday – Friday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Monday – Wednesday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
- Thursday – Sunday: 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Visiting Canmore isn’t complete without chilling at the pub with a beer in hand. This downtown pub is a must-visit before you leave town.
It has such a nice atmosphere, especially on the patio, for the stunning mountain views. There are plenty of Canadian craft beer choices that are best paired with fish and chips.
Try to squeeze in an interactive brewery tour in your schedule. You even get to take home a can of beer or soda!
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:30 AM – 8:30 PM
It’s always a good idea to eat Asian food. We love going to Ramen Arashi for authentic Japanese dishes, with plenty of ramen choices perfect for Canmore’s cold days—tan tan ramen is our top choice with pork belly, marinated egg, and nori.
But if you visit during the summer and you’re not into slurping hot noodles, the ramen salad is a perfect choice. It comes with all the ingredients found in ramen except the soup!