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11 Breathtaking Hiking Trails in Canmore, Alberta You Can’t Miss

Embarking on a journey to explore the breathtaking hiking trails in Canmore, Alberta, is an experience you won't forget. This charming mountain town is nestled amidst the magnificent Canadian Rockies and offers a vast array of stunning trails for hikers of all skill levels. In this guide, we'll dive into the top 8 must-hike trails in Canmore, from the serene Grassi Lakes Trail to the challenging Ha Ling Peak Trail. Each trail offers a unique adventure, showcasing the awe-inspiring beauty of Canmore's natural landscapes. So, gather your gear, lace up your hiking boots, and let's venture into the great outdoors of Canmore's incredible hiking trails!


Grassi Lakes Trail

hiking trails in canmore

Located just outside the town of Canmore, the Grassi Lakes Trail is a popular and scenic hike that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the stunning turquoise Grassi Lakes. This trail is perfect for all skill levels, making it an excellent choice for families and novice hikers.

Level of difficulty and distance: The Grassi Lakes Trail is a moderate hike with two route options: the "easy" route and the "more difficult" route. The easy route is a wide gravel path with a gradual incline, while the more difficult route has steeper sections and some stairs. Both routes are approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) round trip and can be completed in 1.5 to 2 hours.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: As you hike along the Grassi Lakes Trail, you'll be treated to stunning views of Canmore, the Bow Valley, and the surrounding mountain ranges. The trail eventually leads to the picturesque Grassi Lakes, which are known for their vibrant turquoise color. In addition to the lakes, you'll also pass by a waterfall and have the opportunity to observe rock climbers scaling the nearby cliffs.

Tips for hikers visiting Grassi Lakes Trail:

  • Wear comfortable, sturdy footwear as some sections of the trail can be slippery or uneven.
  • Bring water and snacks to stay energized during the hike.
  • Remember to practice "Leave No Trace" principles, such as packing out your trash and respecting wildlife.
  • The trail can be quite busy, especially during weekends and peak seasons. To avoid crowds, consider starting your hike early in the morning or on a weekday.
  • Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.

Ha Ling Peak Trail

Ha Ling Peak Trail

Ha Ling Peak Trail is another fantastic hike located near Canmore, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The trail is more challenging than Grassi Lakes, making it suitable for those looking for a bit of a workout while exploring the beauty of Canmore's mountainous terrain.

Level of difficulty and distance: Ha Ling Peak Trail is considered a moderate to difficult hike due to its steep incline and rugged terrain. The trail is approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) round trip and has an elevation gain of 700 meters (2,297 feet). It generally takes about 4 to 6 hours to complete the hike, depending on your fitness level and the time spent at the summit.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: As you ascend Ha Ling Peak, you'll be rewarded with incredible views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and the town of Canmore. Once you reach the summit, you'll enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree view that includes the Spray Lakes Reservoir, the Bow Valley, and the nearby peaks of the Three Sisters and Mount Rundle.

Tips for hikers visiting Ha Ling Peak Trail:

  • Wear appropriate hiking footwear with good grip, as some sections of the trail can be steep and rocky.
  • Bring plenty of water, snacks, and layers of clothing, as the temperature can be significantly colder at the summit.
  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as storms can move in quickly in the mountains.
  • The trail can be quite busy, so consider starting your hike early in the morning to avoid crowds and secure a parking spot at the trailhead.
  • Although dogs are allowed on the trail, it is recommended that they be experienced hiking dogs, as the terrain can be challenging for some pets.

East End of Rundle (EEOR) Trail

The East End of Rundle (EEOR) Trail is an exhilarating hike that offers stunning views of Canmore, the Bow Valley, and the surrounding mountains. This challenging trail is perfect for experienced hikers seeking an adrenaline-pumping adventure with rewarding vistas.

Level of difficulty and distance: The EEOR Trail is classified as a difficult hike due to its steep inclines, rocky terrain, and occasional scrambling sections. The trail is approximately 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles) one way, with an elevation gain of 900 meters (2,952 feet). Most hikers complete the round trip in about 4 to 7 hours, depending on their pace and time spent at the summit.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: As you make your way up the EEOR Trail, you'll be treated to impressive views of the Bow Valley, Canmore, and nearby Ha Ling Peak. Once at the summit, take in the sweeping panoramas of the Spray Lakes Reservoir and the surrounding peaks, including Mount Lawrence Grassi and the Three Sisters.

Tips for hikers visiting the EEOR Trail:

  • Ensure you wear sturdy hiking boots with good traction, as the trail can be slippery and steep in sections.
  • Pack adequate water, snacks, and layers of clothing to prepare for the variable weather conditions and cooler temperatures at higher elevations.
  • Start your hike early in the morning to avoid afternoon thunderstorms and secure a parking spot at the trailhead.
  • Be aware that the trail can be quite busy, especially during weekends and holidays.
  • Due to the challenging nature of the hike, it is not recommended for inexperienced hikers or dogs.

Grotto Canyon Trail

Grotto Canyon Trail

Grotto Canyon Trail is a scenic and relatively easy hike that takes you through a beautiful canyon, featuring unique rock formations, ancient pictographs, and a picturesque waterfall. This family-friendly trail is an excellent choice for hikers of all ages and skill levels looking to explore the natural beauty of Canmore.

Level of difficulty and distance: Grotto Canyon Trail is classified as an easy to moderate hike, with a distance of approximately 4.2 kilometers (2.6 miles) round trip. The elevation gain is minimal, at around 150 meters (492 feet). Most hikers can complete this hike within 2 to 3 hours, depending on their pace and time spent exploring the canyon.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: The trail takes you through a narrow canyon with fascinating rock formations and walls adorned with ancient pictographs. The main attraction of the hike is the picturesque Grotto Falls, a beautiful waterfall tucked away within the canyon. In the winter months, the canyon becomes a popular spot for ice climbers, and the frozen falls create a magical sight.

Tips for hikers visiting the Grotto Canyon Trail:

  • Wear appropriate footwear with good grip, as the trail can be slippery, especially when walking on the smooth limestone creek bed.
  • Bring a camera to capture the beauty of the canyon, the pictographs, and Grotto Falls.
  • Be respectful of the ancient pictographs and refrain from touching or vandalizing them.
  • Grotto Canyon Trail can be busy during peak hours, so consider starting your hike early in the day or on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

Lady MacDonald Trail

Lady MacDonald Trail

Lady MacDonald Trail is a challenging and rewarding hike that takes you through dense forests and rocky terrain up to the ridgeline of Mount Lady MacDonald. This strenuous trail offers awe-inspiring vistas of Canmore and the Bow Valley below, perfect for experienced hikers seeking a thrilling adventure.

Level of difficulty and distance: Lady MacDonald Trail is classified as a difficult hike, with a distance of approximately 9.8 kilometers (6.1 miles) round trip. The elevation gain is significant, at around 1,200 meters (3,937 feet). Most hikers can complete this hike within 5 to 7 hours, depending on their pace and time spent enjoying the views.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: The trail takes you through dense forests, over rocky terrain, and up to the ridgeline of Mount Lady MacDonald. Once you reach the summit, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, making for an unforgettable experience.

Tips for hikers visiting the Lady MacDonald Trail:

  1. Wear appropriate footwear with good grip, as the trail can be steep and slippery at times. Trekking poles are recommended to provide additional stability.
  2. Bring layers of clothing to accommodate for weather changes, as temperatures can vary greatly throughout the hike.
  3. Be aware of the weather conditions and avoid hiking during storms or high winds, as the ridgeline can become dangerous.
  4. Carry plenty of water and snacks to keep yourself fueled during this demanding hike.
  5. Start early in the morning to give yourself enough time to complete the hike and enjoy the views at the summit.

High Rockies Trail

High Rockies Trail

High Rockies Trail is an expansive and diverse hiking route that stretches across the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies, providing hikers with a wide variety of terrain and scenic viewpoints. With numerous trailheads and sections to choose from, High Rockies Trail offers something for hikers of all skill levels and interests looking to experience the breathtaking beauty of Canmore and its surroundings.

Level of difficulty and distance: High Rockies Trail is a versatile hiking route with varying levels of difficulty, depending on the chosen section. The entire trail covers a distance of approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles), but hikers can choose to tackle shorter segments based on their preferences and abilities. Elevation gain and hiking time will vary depending on the selected section.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: The trail takes you through lush forests, alpine meadows, and along the shores of stunning mountain lakes, offering spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies. Along the way, you'll encounter picturesque viewpoints, tranquil picnic spots, and an abundance of local wildlife.

Tips for hikers visiting the High Rockies Trail:

  1. Plan your route ahead of time and choose a section of the trail that matches your skill level and desired hiking time.
  2. Wear appropriate footwear with good grip, as the trail can be rocky and uneven in some sections.
  3. Bring layers of clothing to accommodate for weather changes and pack rain gear, as mountain weather can be unpredictable.
  4. Carry plenty of water and snacks, as well as a map and compass for navigation purposes.
  5. Practice Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the pristine beauty of the trail for future generations.

Spray Lakes Reservoir Trail

Spray Lakes Reservoir Trail

Spray Lakes Reservoir Trail is a popular and picturesque hiking route that takes you along the shores of the stunning Spray Lakes Reservoir, offering hikers the opportunity to experience the breathtaking beauty of Canmore's mountain landscape. This trail is an excellent choice for hikers who enjoy lakeside strolls, serene picnic spots, and the chance to spot local wildlife.

Level of difficulty and distance: Spray Lakes Reservoir Trail is classified as an easy to moderate hike, with a distance of approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) round trip. The elevation gain is minimal, at around 150 meters (492 feet). Most hikers can complete this hike within 3 to 4 hours, depending on their pace and time spent enjoying the lakeside views.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: The trail takes you along the shores of the beautiful Spray Lakes Reservoir, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and crystal-clear waters. Along the way, you'll find peaceful picnic spots, access points for fishing, and the chance to spot local wildlife, such as deer, elk, and even the occasional moose.

Tips for hikers visiting the Spray Lakes Reservoir Trail:

  1. Wear appropriate footwear with good grip, as the trail can be muddy and slippery, especially after rainfall.
  2. Bring a camera to capture the stunning lakeside views and surrounding mountain landscape.
  3. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the many picturesque spots along the trail.
  4. Keep an eye out for wildlife, but maintain a safe distance and never approach or feed animals.
  5. The trail can be busy during peak hours, so consider starting your hike early in the day or on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

canmore creek trail

canmore creek trail

Canmore Creek Trail is a lesser-known yet enchanting trail located close to the town of Canmore. This trail takes hikers through lush forests, alongside the peaceful Canmore Creek, and offers glimpses of the surrounding mountain peaks. It's an excellent choice for those seeking a quieter, more serene hiking experience in the Canmore area.

Level of difficulty and distance: Canmore Creek Trail is classified as an easy to moderate hike, with a distance of approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) round trip. The elevation gain is around 170 meters (558 feet). Most hikers can complete this hike within 2 to 3 hours, depending on their pace and time spent enjoying the creek-side scenery.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: The trail takes you through dense forests, following the meandering Canmore Creek. The soothing sounds of the creek and the serene atmosphere make this trail a perfect choice for a peaceful hike. Along the way, you'll find opportunities for photography and the chance to spot local wildlife, such as deer and various bird species.

Tips for hikers visiting the Canmore Creek Trail:

Wear appropriate footwear with good grip, as the trail can be muddy and slippery, especially after rainfall. Bring a camera to capture the picturesque scenery and any wildlife you might encounter. Pack a light snack or picnic to enjoy at one of the scenic spots along the trail. Keep an eye out for wildlife, but maintain a safe distance and never approach or feed animals. As Canmore Creek Trail is less frequented, it's a great option for those seeking a quieter, more peaceful hiking experience.


Bow River Loop, Canmore

Bow River Loop, Canmore

The Bow River Loop in Canmore is a scenic and easy trail that offers hikers a chance to enjoy the beauty of the Bow River and the surrounding mountain vistas. This well-maintained trail is perfect for families, casual hikers, and those seeking a relaxing stroll in nature while exploring the hiking trails in Canmore.

Level of difficulty and distance: The Bow River Loop is classified as an easy hike, with a distance of approximately 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) round trip. The elevation gain is minimal, making it accessible to hikers of all ages and skill levels. Most hikers can complete this hike within 1 to 2 hours, depending on their pace and time spent enjoying the river views.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: The trail takes you along the banks of the stunning Bow River, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Canmore's famous Three Sisters peaks. Along the way, you'll find peaceful picnic spots, access points for fishing, and the chance to spot local wildlife, such as deer and various bird species.

Tips for hikers visiting the Bow River Loop:

Wear comfortable footwear with good grip, as the trail is well-maintained but may have some uneven sections. Bring a camera to capture the beautiful river views and surrounding mountain landscape. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the many picturesque spots along the trail. Keep an eye out for wildlife, but maintain a safe distance and never approach or feed animals. The Bow River Loop can be enjoyed year-round, but the trail may be snow-covered or icy during the winter months, so exercise caution and wear appropriate footwear.


Cougar Creek Trail

Cougar Creek Trail is a picturesque hiking route in Canmore that takes you along the banks of Cougar Creek, a beautiful mountain stream that flows through the heart of the town. This trail is a great option for hikers who want to experience the serene beauty of the creek and surrounding forest while exploring the hiking trails in Canmore.

Level of difficulty and distance: Cougar Creek Trail is classified as an easy hike, with a distance of approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) round trip. The elevation gain is minimal, making it suitable for hikers of all ages and skill levels. Most hikers can complete this hike within 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on their pace and time spent enjoying the creek views.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: The trail takes you along the banks of the charming Cougar Creek, offering lovely views of the water, surrounding trees, and impressive rock formations. As you hike, you'll also have the opportunity to spot local wildlife, such as deer, squirrels, and various bird species.

Tips for hikers visiting the Cougar Creek Trail:

Wear appropriate footwear with good grip, as the trail can be muddy and slippery, especially after rainfall. Bring a camera to capture the beauty of the creek, surrounding forest, and interesting rock formations. Keep an eye out for wildlife, but maintain a safe distance and never approach or feed animals. Cougar Creek Trail is a popular spot for local dog walkers, so be prepared to share the trail with furry friends. The trail can be busy during peak hours, so consider starting your hike early in the day or on a weekday to avoid the crowds.


Benchlands Ridge Trail

Benchlands Ridge Trail is a scenic hiking route in Canmore that offers panoramic views of the Bow Valley, the town of Canmore, and the surrounding mountains. This trail is perfect for hikers who want to enjoy a moderate hike with rewarding vistas while exploring the hiking trails in Canmore.

Level of difficulty and distance: Benchlands Ridge Trail is classified as a moderate hike, with a distance of approximately 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) round trip. The elevation gain is around 300 meters (984 feet), providing a moderate challenge for hikers. Most hikers can complete this hike within 2 to 3 hours, depending on their pace and time spent taking in the views.

Highlights and attractions along the trail: The trail takes you along the ridge, offering sweeping views of the Bow Valley, Canmore, and the surrounding mountains, including the iconic Three Sisters. As you hike, you'll also have the opportunity to spot local wildlife, such as deer, elk, and various bird species.

Tips for hikers visiting the Benchlands Ridge Trail:

Wear appropriate footwear with good grip, as the trail can be rocky and steep in some sections. Bring a camera to capture the stunning panoramic views of the valley and surrounding mountains. Pack water and snacks to stay fueled during your hike. Keep an eye out for wildlife, but maintain a safe distance and never approach or feed animals. The trail can be less crowded than some other popular Canmore hikes, but it's still a good idea to start early in the day or on a weekday to enjoy a quieter experience.

Preparing for Your Canmore Hiking Adventure

Preparing for Your Canmore Hiking Adventure

Essential Hiking Gear and Tips

To fully enjoy the hiking trails in Canmore, it's important to be well-prepared with the right gear and supplies. Essentials include a comfortable backpack, sturdy hiking boots or shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, plenty of water, snacks, and a basic first aid kit. A detailed map or GPS device, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat are also important items to bring along. For a comprehensive list of supplies to consider, visit REI's day hiking checklist.

Best Time to Visit Canmore for Hiking

The best time to hike the trails in Canmore depends on your preferences and the specific trail conditions. Generally, the prime hiking season in Canmore runs from late May to early October. During this time, the weather is pleasant, and most trails are free of snow. To stay updated on the latest trail conditions and reports, check the Alberta Parks website.

Trail Etiquette and Leave No Trace Principles

When exploring the hiking trails in Canmore, it's important to follow the Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment. Some key guidelines include staying on designated trails, disposing of waste properly, leaving natural and cultural features undisturbed, and respecting wildlife. Additionally, be considerate of other hikers by yielding the trail to those going uphill, keeping noise levels down, and following any posted trail rules.

Canmore Hiking Safety and Emergency Contacts

Safety should always be a top priority when hiking in Canmore. Before setting out, make sure you have a clear understanding of the trail difficulty, distance, and elevation gain. Always inform someone of your planned route and expected return time. Carry a fully charged cell phone and be aware of the emergency contact numbers for the area. In case of emergency, dial 911 for assistance. For non-emergency situations, the Canmore Visitor Information Centre can be reached at +1 (403) 678-5277. Stay safe and enjoy the stunning beauty of Canmore's hiking trails!


Frequently Asked Questions about Hiking in Canmore

Can you hike in Canmore?

Absolutely! Canmore is home to a wide variety of hiking trails suitable for all levels of experience. From easy walks to challenging mountain climbs, there's something for everyone in Canmore's stunning natural landscape.

What is the easiest mountain to climb in Canmore?

Grassi Lakes Trail is one of the easiest and most popular hikes in Canmore. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and takes you to the beautiful Grassi Lakes, making it a great choice for beginners and families.

What trails are between Canmore and Banff?

There are several trails between Canmore and Banff, including the Goat Creek Trail, which connects the two towns, and the High Rockies Trail, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.

What are the different types of hiking trails in Canmore?

Canmore offers a variety of hiking trails, including easy strolls, moderate day hikes, and challenging mountain climbs. Some trails take you through forests, while others lead to alpine meadows or along picturesque lakeshores. With such a diverse range of options, there's a trail for every type of hiker in Canmore.

Which experiences are best for hiking trails in Canmore?

The best experiences for hiking trails in Canmore depend on your personal preferences and abilities. Some popular options include exploring the unique rock formations and pictographs at Grotto Canyon Trail, tackling the challenging ascent of Ha Ling Peak Trail for stunning panoramic views, or enjoying the serene atmosphere of the Benchlands Ridge Trail.

More Guides from Roadless Wonders

conclusion

In conclusion, Canmore offers an incredible array of hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels. With its stunning mountain landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and breathtaking views, hiking in Canmore is truly an unforgettable experience. As you set out to explore the hiking trails in Canmore, remember to be well-prepared, follow trail etiquette, and prioritize safety to ensure an enjoyable and memorable adventure. If you're interested in exploring more hiking destinations, be sure to check out our guides on backpacking Nicaragua and hiking the Amalfi Coast. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your essentials, and embark on a journey through the majestic beauty of Canmore's great outdoors. Happy hiking!

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