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Top 9 Things to Do in Canmore (and Places to Visit)

Top 9 Things to Do in Canmore (and Places to Visit)

One thing we love about Canmore is that it’s such a fantastic place where we never run out of things to do! And if you’re new to the place, we’ve got your back! 

In this article, we’ll delve into some of the best things to do in Canmore so you’ll experience everything that it offers. Read on and understand what got us so hooked on this beautiful town in Alberta!

Hike or Drive by Smith Dorrien Trail 

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Address: Kananaskis, AB T0L 2C0, Canada

Website: N/A

Contact Details: N/A

Opening Hours: 24/7

The Smith Dorrien Trail is a must-see for anyone visiting Canmore. This scenic gravel road takes you high into the mountains, offering stunning views of Canmore, lakes, and wildlife like Bighorn sheep. 

It’s a great drive for accessing hikes in the Banff area or just enjoying the landscape. Driving this trail at night is perfect for stargazing due to the low light pollution. 

Additionally, the trail leads to the Black Shale Creek Suspension Bridge, a highlight for an easy hike with rewarding views.

Pro Tip:

Keep in mind that the road can be rough and dusty, especially in dry weather, making visibility a challenge when other vehicles pass. Make sure you have a suitable vehicle, preferably a 4×4, and be prepared for slower travel due to the road’s condition​​.

Take part in a cave tour at Rats Nest Cave

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Address: 129 Bow Meadows Crescent #101, Canmore, AB T1W 2W8, Canada


Contact Details: +14036788819

Opening Hours: Daily 9 AM–5 PM

Costs: $$

Embarking on a cave tour at Rat’s Nest Cave in Canmore allows you to dive deep into the heart of Grotto Mountain, exploring a realm that remains untouched by the sun. 

Upon arrival, you’ll receive essential gear—helmets, headlamps, and protective suits—from the tour operators, ensuring a safe exploration of the cave’s intricate network.

The adventure begins with a scenic hike, setting the stage for the underground exploration that awaits. Regardless of the season, the cave’s constant 5 degrees Celsius temperature provides a cool yet comfortable environment for adventurers year-round.

Pro Tip:

Embrace the adventure fully by preparing both mentally and physically for the experience. Given the cave’s constant cool temperature, around 5 degrees Celsius, dressing in layers with moisture-wicking clothing will enhance your comfort and allow you to focus on the adventure. 

Footwear is equally important; sturdy, waterproof boots with good grip are recommended to navigate the cave’s uneven and sometimes slippery surfaces confidently.

Get a drink at the Wild Life Distillery

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Address: 105 Bow Meadows Crescent #160, Canmore, AB T1W 2W8, Canada


Contact Details: +14036782800

Opening Hours: Daily 1–9 PM

A visit to Wild Life Distillery unveils a unique facet of the local craft spirit scene. In their welcoming tasting room and cocktail bar, you can savor the creativity and craftsmanship of their handcrafted cocktails. 

Once inside, you’ll discover that their drinks, crafted from their own carefully distilled spirits, embody the distillery’s creative ethos. It’s admirable how they put thought into creating a range of beverages that stand out for their quality and uniqueness.

They’ve also smartly scheduled visiting hours to cater to a variety of preferences, whether you’re looking for a relaxed afternoon outing or an energetic evening experience.

Pro Tip:

Make sure to book a distillery tour in addition to enjoying their cocktail bar. This gives you and your companions a behind-the-scenes look at the craft distillation process, from grain to glass. 

Conquer the vastness of Grotto Canyon

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Address: Bighorn No. 8, AB T0L 2C0, Canada

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Contact Details: N/A

Opening Hours: 24/7

When you set your sights on exploring the Grotto Canyon Trail near Canmore, you’re in for a unique adventure that transforms with the seasons. 

This 4.2-kilometer journey, with a modest elevation gain of about 200 meters, is more than just a hike—it’s a passage through time and nature’s artwork, especially during the winter months. 

As you traverse the trail, a frozen waterfall, the mystic Grotto Canyon. Even a hidden cave awaits those up for a bit of a scramble.

If you prefer a more relaxed pace, the Grotto Canyon trailhead’s proximity to Grotto Mountain Lake presents a tranquil fishing spot during the warmer months. It’s an inviting place to unwind and maybe even catch some trout while surrounded by the stunning vistas of the Canadian Rockies.

Pro Tip:

Equipping yourself with the right gear is crucial. Even if you’re embarking on a guided tour that provides crampons or ice cleats, wearing waterproof, insulated boots will keep your feet warm and dry. 

Layering your clothing allows you to adjust to changing temperatures throughout your hike, ensuring comfort from start to finish.

Go food shopping at the Canmore Mountain Market

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Address: 700 Railway Ave, Canmore, AB T1W 1P4, Canada


Contact Details: +14036781500

Opening Hours: Thursday, 10 AM–6 PM

Discovering the Canmore Mountain Market turns a regular Thursday in Canmore into an extraordinary local experience. 

This vibrant outdoor pop-up market, held weekly at Elevation Place, offers a delightful showcase of locally sourced produce, handcrafted gifts, and a wide array of homegrown products ranging from food and meats to sauces and soaps. 

There are also food trucks here that provide a tasty way to indulge in local flavors. If your visit to Canmore doesn’t align with a Thursday, the Banff Farmers Market in Banff Central Park is an excellent Wednesday alternative, running from May to the beginning of October. 

Pro Tip:

Consider transportation options wisely, as parking can be limited. Visiting during off-peak times, such as before noon or after 2 PM, or utilizing free local transit, walking, or biking to the market can enhance your experience by avoiding the busiest times. 

Appreciate the beauty of Lake Minnewanka

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Address: Lake Minnewanka Scenic Dr, Improvement District No. 9, AB T1L 1K2, Canada


Contact Details: +14037621550

Opening Hours: 24/7

Lake Minnewanka prides itself as one of the most beautiful lakes in Canada. Its highlight, though, is the variety of experiences it offers, including the highly recommended scenic cruises—which allow you to appreciate its sheer beauty. 

The Classic Cruise and Premium Cruise are among the popular choices, providing a blend of natural beauty and historical insights. Advanced booking is advised due to its popularity. 

Also, Lake Minnewanka’s area is equipped for day use with picnic tables and trails for hiking, like Stewart Canyon. In winter, the frozen lake offers a picturesque setting for skating. 

Pro Tip:

Booking your cruise online in advance is crucial to secure your spot, especially during the summer months when it’s highly sought after. 

Also, exploring nearby attractions like Two Jack Lake can complement your day out, making for a full day of adventure and scenic beauty in the Banff National Park area.

Explore Icefields Parkway

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Address: Alberta, Canada

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Contact Details: N/A

Opening Hours: 24/7

Exploring the Icefields Parkway is an adventure that takes you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Canadian Rockies. 

Stretching from Lake Louise to Jasper, this 230-kilometer journey is peppered with majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and impressive glaciers, making it a must-do for anyone visiting the area.

One of the first stops to consider is Herbert Lake, a tranquil spot perfect for a quick dip or stand-up paddleboarding, offering stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains. 

Not far from there, Hector Lake provides a peaceful escape with its underrated beauty, accessible via a short hike from the viewpoint. Next, Bow Lake, with its clear waters, is ideal for kayaking and is framed by the Wapta Icefield, Bow Glacier, and Crowfoot Glacier. 

You can cap your outdoor escapade with a hike to Bow Glacier Falls, which offers rewarding views and a chance to enjoy a snack at the historic Num-Ti-Jah Lodge.

Pro Tip:

For a comprehensive exploration, consider extending your journey to include other notable stops such as the Weeping Wall at Cirrus Mountain, the dramatic Panther Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls, each offering unique vistas and experiences along this iconic route.

Walk down history lane inside the Canmore Museum 

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Address: 902B 7 Ave, Canmore, AB T1W 2B6, Canada


Contact Details: +14036782462

Opening Hours: Daily 10 AM–4 PM

On those drizzly Canmore days when the mountains are shrouded in mist, the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Center emerges as a beacon of exploration. 

This museum is a treasure trove of tales, telling the vibrant story of Canmore’s journey from a coal mining powerhouse to the community it is today. 

The exhibit ‘From Coal to Community’ is particularly captivating, offering a deep dive into the lives of the area’s original inhabitants, the transformative power of the railway, and coal’s pivotal role in shaping the region.

If you have a thirst for more, the museum offers guided tours to the heart of Canmore’s mining heritage, led by a local historian. 

These tours, lasting about four hours, are a hit among visitors and locals alike, offering a rare glimpse into the mines that once fueled the area’s economy. 

Pro Tip:

Remember, these tours are a hot ticket item, so snagging your spot in advance is wise to ensure you don’t miss out on this unique experience.

Unwind inside Tavern 1883

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Address: 709 9 St, Canmore, AB T1W 2V7, Canada


Contact Details: +14036092000

Opening Hours: Daily 12–11 PM

Craving the ultimate burger in the Canadian Rockies? Tavern 1883 has got you covered. This spot is the local favorite for kicking back with some beers and wings, all served up in a vibe that’s as chill as it gets—plus, their pub grub? Top-notch.

And it’s not just about the food here. Tavern 1883 is the hub for a good time, hosting events that range from Jam Night and Trivia to Bingo. 

To stay in the loop with their latest happenings, a quick peek at their social media will give you all the details on times and dates. Perfect for planning your next night out or a laid-back evening with friends.

Pro Tip:

Keep an eye on their lively events schedule. With favorites like Jam Night, Trivia, and Bingo, there’s always something going on to liven up your evening. They’re known for selling out their comedy nights, so grabbing your tickets early is a smart move. 

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