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Top 10 Canmore Hiking Trails

Top 10 Canmore Hiking Trails

Isn’t it lovely to sometimes go out and explore the highest peaks in the world carefree? Well, today, we’re diving into the heart of Canmore, a hidden gem nestled in the majestic Canadian Rockies. 

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, these trails promise unforgettable experiences, stunning vistas, and a chance to connect with nature like never before. Ready? Let’s go and discover the trails that make Canmore a hiker’s paradise!

Jura Creek 

Address: Bighorn No. 8, AB T0L 2H0, Canada

Distance: 2 km round trip

Duration: 1 hour

Elevation: 60m

Opening Hours: 24/7

This trail, often overlooked as a simple walk, is a treasure trove of natural beauty. Imagine spending hours meandering along paths that weave through lush forests and run alongside the serene Bow River. 

What makes Larch Island Loop so appealing is its accessibility. This flat trail unfolds right from the town, offering a hassle-free nature escape without the need for a car. 

And if you’re on the hunt for that perfect photo, head to the northern end near the golf course. The views there? Simply picture-perfect.

Pro Tip:
For a truly immersive experience, local hikers suggest visiting the trail during early morning or late afternoon. This is when wildlife is most active, and the lighting is just right for those magical photos. 

Plus, it’s a great way to experience the tranquility of nature without the crowds. Remember, the best adventures are often found in the quiet moments of exploration.

Larch Island

From @curbsidemuseum

Address: 1313 17 St, Canmore, AB T1W 1T6, Canada

Distance: 2-7 km round trip

Duration: 1-3 hours

Elevation: 0m

Opening Hours: 24/7 

Tucked away within the town, this trail is a delightful surprise for many. It’s a place where you can leisurely wander for hours, especially if you venture down to the Bow River Pathway. 

As you meander through the forest and riverside paths, keep your eyes peeled for elk, osprey, and the elusive pileated woodpeckers.

This trail is as convenient as it is beautiful. Being completely flat and accessible from various parts of the town, it’s the perfect spontaneous outing. 

No need for a long drive; nature’s beauty is just a few steps away. And for those of you who love capturing memories, the northern end near the golf course offers some truly Instagram-worthy spots.

Pro Tip:
The early morning light near the golf course area casts a magical glow, perfect for photography enthusiasts. It’s also a quieter time, so you can enjoy the peace of the trail and maybe even have a wildlife encounter or two.

Bow Valley Provincial Park

From @sunshine.sparrows

Address: 800 Railway Ave #201, Canmore, AB T1W 1P1, Canada

Contact Details: +14036732163


Distance: 1-3 km round trip

Duration: 1-2.5 hours

Elevation: 0m

Opening Hours: Daily 8 AM to 11 PM

Next up on our Canmore trail adventure is the serene Bow Valley Provincial Park near Seebe, a haven for nature lovers. 

Here, you’ll find the Middle Lake and Many Springs trails, two delightful loops that become a riot of color with wildflower blooms from late June through July. As you wander, keep an eye out for the interpretive signs that offer fascinating insights into the local flora and fauna.

Getting to these trails is a breeze. Just hop on Highway 1X and follow the signs pointing towards the Bow Valley Campground. And here’s a little heads-up: the area is a favorite spot for black bears, so carrying bear spray is a smart move.

Pro Tip:
If you’re planning to explore both lakes, set aside about 2.5 hours. And don’t rush! At Middle Lake, there are picnic tables where you can relax and soak in the beauty of your surroundings. 

Local hikers recommend packing a lunch to enjoy here, turning your hike into a delightful picnic amidst nature. Remember, it’s not just about the journey, but also the peaceful moments you find along the way.

Heart Creek Bunker

From @hikebiketravel

Address: Bow Corridor Link Trail, Bighorn No. 8, AB T0L, Canada

Distance: 4 km round trip

Duration: 2 hours

Elevation: 120m

Opening Hours: 24/7

Are you in the mood for something a bit different, maybe even a tad eerie? Right off the Trans Canada Highway, there’s a hidden tunnel carved into Mount McGillivray. 

Stretching 150 feet into the mountain, this tunnel was meant to be a vault for precious documents but now stands abandoned, a silent witness to history.

To reach this intriguing spot, start at the Heart Creek trailhead and take the Trans Canada Trail westward, opposite the Heart Creek Trail. 

Don’t forget to bring a headlamp—the tunnel’s dark and watch your step for broken glass. While the hike might be a bit mundane with the buzz of the highway, the tunnel itself is an explorer’s delight.

Pro Tip:
Seasoned hikers advise against attempting this hike in winter due to avalanche risks. And if this little adventure leaves you craving more underground exploration, consider joining a tour of Rat’s Nest Cave with Canmore Cave Tours. 

Grassi Lakes

From @pirsing

Address: Ken Richie Way, Canmore, AB T0L 2C0, Canada


Distance: 4 km round trip

Duration: 1-2 hours

Elevation: 175m

Opening Hours: 24/7

If you’re venturing to Canmore, the Grassi Lakes trail is a must-visit, despite its popularity among hikers and climbers. 

This trail leads you to two stunning lakes, cradled in a canyon (johnston canyon) at the foot of Ha Ling Peak. It’s a sight that’s absolutely worth the trek. And if you’re up for a bit of exploration, scramble over the rocks above the lakes to discover ancient pictographs.

Yes, this trail can get busy, but there’s a trick to finding some solitude. Aim for sunrise or sunset—not only will you dodge the crowds, but you’ll also be in for a chance to spot the great horned owls that call the rocky crags home. 

Pro Tip:
We recommend taking a moment to just sit and absorb the tranquility of the lakes at these quieter times. It’s not just about the hike; it’s about connecting with nature and finding a moment of peace amidst the stunning scenery. 

Grotto Canyon

From @rbrandfass

Address: Bighorn No. 8, AB T0L 0C8, Canada

Distance: 4 km round trip

Duration: 2 hours

Elevation: 100m 

Opening Hours: 24/7

Grotto Canyon, a favorite among locals and visitors alike (especially for us too), is a must-see for anyone exploring the Canmore area. 

Keep your eyes peeled for ancient pictographs on the left as you near the waterfalls—they’re a silent testament to the canyon’s long history.

This trail is a year-round delight, but if you prefer to keep your feet dry, autumn is your best bet. The path is driest then, though summer offers its own charm with the gentle flow of the creek accompanying your hike.

Pro Tip:
For a truly unique experience, consider visiting Grotto Canyon in the winter. The frozen waterfalls and icy creek bed create a magical, almost otherworldly landscape. 

Just be sure to wear proper winter hiking boots for traction, as the icy conditions can be tricky. It’s a winter wonderland hike that you won’t forget!

Stoneworks Canyon

Stoneworks Canyon
Image credits: Grand Canyon Nat. Park Trail Crew Inner Canyon_7327

Address: G Marble Canyon, East Kootenay, BC V0A 1M0, Canada

Distance: 6 km round trip

Duration: 2 hours

Elevation: 400m

Opening Hours: 24/7 

Nestled between Mount Lady MacDonald and Mount Charles Stewart, there’s a spectacular slot canyon that’s a hidden treasure for avid hikers—Stoneworks. It’s a bit more of a challenge than Jura Creek Canyon, offering a sense of seclusion and adventure. 

Just a heads-up: navigating the trails can be tricky, so make sure to bring a map to avoid getting turned around. 

The hike here is mostly peaceful, with the occasional mountain biker whizzing by on the Montane Traverse Trail. 

Along the way, you’ll find spots where the trees part, revealing breathtaking views of the town below and the imposing Three Sisters peaks. The slot canyon itself is a short journey, but it’s absolutely stunning, with its narrow passage set between smooth limestone walls.

Pro Tip:
There’s a unique aspect of the Mount Lady MacDonald hike—the exhilarating ‘knife-edge ridge’ near the summit. It’s a thrilling part of the trail that’s definitely worth the effort for those who love a bit of adventure. 

Engagement Mountain

From @Stoneworks Canyon

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

Distance: 3.5 km round trip

Duration: 2 hours

Elevation: 450m

Opening Hours: 24/7

For those of you seeking a quick summit adventure near Canmore, Engagement Mountain, affectionately known as Biffy Peak or Bear’s Bum, is your go-to. 

It’s a hidden gem without an official trail, so keep your eyes peeled for tree markers about 200 meters from the trailhead to guide you.

The climb up this giant hill is steep, sprinkled with a few light scrambles over rock slabs, offering just the right amount of challenge. To stay on track, especially when heading back down, it’s wise to use the offline AllTrails map—a real lifesaver in these parts.

Pro Tip:
Pack your essentials, including a good map, water, and maybe a snack or two. This way, you’re all set to enjoy the climb and the stunning views that await at the top!

Lady MacDonald Teahouse

From @thenames_gray

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

Distance: 8 km round trip

Duration: 4-6 hours

Elevation: 870m

Opening Hours: 24/7

If you’re up for a challenging hike with rewarding views, Mount Lady MacDonald near Canmore is calling your name. 

It’s a relentless climb, but the payoff is spectacular views of the surrounding mountains (Affordable mountain wedding venues Albert). Just so you know, there’s no cozy teahouse to rest at, but there is a wooden platform about three-quarters of the way up, offering a stunning overlook of Bow Valley.

This platform is where most hikers choose to turn back, but if you’re feeling extra adventurous, the true summit is just 300 meters higher. 

It involves some exposed scrambling, so it’s not for the faint-hearted. Keep in mind, this trail can often be closed for various reasons, including construction, so it’s always best to check before you set out.

Pro Tip:
The final scramble to the true summit of Mount Lady MacDonald is not just a physical challenge but also a mental one. It’s known for its ‘knife-edge ridge’—a thrilling and narrow path that’s sure to get your adrenaline pumping. 

If you’re up for it, this part of the hike offers an unforgettable experience, but always prioritize safety and know your limits. 

Mount Yamnuska Traverse

– From @yamnuskamtnadv

Address: Bighorn No. 8, AB T0L 0C8, Canada

Distance: 14 km loop

Duration: 5-6 hours

Elevation: 900m

Opening Hours: 24.7

The Yamnuska Traverse is a hit among hikers, but it’s not the first trail we’d recommend for everyone. Why? Well, Yamnuska is a serious undertaking, complete with scramble sections, scree slopes that pose a rockfall hazard, and a nail-biting chains section with a steep drop-off. 

It’s important to remember that this mountain has seen its share of accidents and search and rescue operations. Plus, keep an eye on your car in the parking lot—it’s known for break-ins.

If you’re new to the hiking game and itching to conquer a summit, maybe hold off on Yamnuska for now. We’ve got a guide to beginner-friendly summits that are less intimidating. 

Start with something like Door Jamb for a taste of easy scrambling and to gauge your comfort with heights.

Pro Tip:
We recommend starting early in the morning to avoid the afternoon rush and potential rockfall from hikers above. Also, an early start means cooler temperatures for the strenuous parts of the hike. 

And always, safety first—wear a helmet to protect against falling rocks, a common hazard on this trail. 
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