Tucked away in the heart of the Canadian Rockies is Canmore, an outdoor adventurer’s dream town. With a trailhead seemingly on every doorstep, sweeping vistas and crystal-clear rivers are just a hike away.

Here are 10 of our favourite Canmore-area hiking trails to add to your Alberta summer bucket list:

 

1. Ha Ling Peak

Kananaskis

photoRick McCharles Flickr cc by 2.0

Distance: 5.4 km roundtrip
Time: 3 - 4 hours
Elevation Gain: 741 m

Why it’s awesome: Stunning mountain views right outside Canmore

Follow steep switchbacks over gravel, loose rock and roots to the summit of Ha Ling Peak. This difficult trek will have you gasping for air - both from exertion and the breathtaking views from the top.

How do I get to the trailhead? tourismcanmore.com 

Distance from Canmore: 7.8 km

Bloggers who have lived the adventure: 

hikingwithbarry.com 

hikebiketravel.com 

 

 

2. Grassi Lakes Trail

Kananaskis

photoRaymond Wong Flickr cc by 2.0

Distance: 3.8 km loop
Time: 1 - 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 250 m

Why it’s awesome: Relax in turquoise lakes and watch the climbers and mountain goats vie for superiority.

With two trailheads and two gemstone-coloured lakes to choose from, Grassi Lakes is a hike with options. The lakes are shaded by trees and surrounded by rock faces that are popular with the local climbing population. Watch out for mountain goats that kick rocks down from the tops of the crags.

How do I get to the trailhead? tourismcanmore.com 

Distance from Canmore: 7.5 km

 

3. Heart Mountain Horseshoe

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park

 photokatastrophical13

Distance: 11 km roundtrip
Time: 5 -7 hours
Elevation Gain: 950 m

Why it’s awesome: Epic alpine with endless views

From the Heart Creek Trail, scramble up the side of the mountain. Once you reach the heart-shaped peak, you'll be treated to views of the Bow Valley, Heart Creek Valley, Lac des Arc and Grotto Mountain.

How do I get to the trailhead? 10hikes.com 

Distance from Canmore: 18.7 km

Bloggers who have lived the adventure: 

outdoorescapade.com 

sea2peak.wordpress.com 

4. Bow River Loop

photoRemarksman Flickr cc by 2.0

Distance: 2 km loop
Time: 30 minutes

Why it’s awesome: Grab a smoothie in a town and take a short walk out to a stunning panorama.

This gentle trail along the banks of the Bow River has it all: icy clear waters, panoramic views of the Three Sisters mountain range and easy access from the town centre. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the riverbank. 

How do I get to the trailhead? banffandbeyond.com 

Distance from Canmore: 0 km

 

5. Chester Lake

photoJohn Johnston Flickr cc by 2.0

Distance: 10.2 km return
Time: 4 hours
Elevation Gain: 310 m

Why it’s awesome: Lush subalpine meadows pave the way to this chilly, yet refreshing, lake.

An uphill climb marks the start of this hike, but the reward is worth it. The trail eventually levels off in a tree-lined meadow that offers breathtaking views of nearby peaks. Cool off in Chester lake, if you dare; the glacial temperature is not for the faint of heart.

How do I get to the trailhead? tourismcanmore.com 

Distance from Canmore: 40 km

 

6. Lady MacDonald

photoJMacPherson Flickr cc by 2.0

Distance: 6.6 km out and back
Time: 6 - 7 hours
Elevation Gain: 917 m

Why it’s awesome: Far-reaching views and an epic windswept feel will make you forget all about how hard this hike is.

One of the peaks that watches over Canmore, Lady Mac is a favourite local hike, both for its proximity to town and the challenge it presents. And the views from the top aren’t bad either. It can be tempting to stop at the “Teahouse,” a wooden platform that’s perfect for sunbathing, but the true summit is farther on.

How do I get to the trailhead? tourismcanmore.com 

Distance from Canmore: 0 km

 

7. East End of Rundle (EEOR)

photoKristin Warkentin

Distance: 6.9 km return
Time: 5 - 6 hours
Elevation Gain: 874 m

Why it’s awesome: Instagram-perfect backdrops of the Bow Valley and Whitemans pond

This scramble-class hike climbs up the back of one of Canmore’s many local rock climbing faces, passing through scrappy evergreens and up a loose scree slope to arrive at a peak overlooking another popular local hike: Ha Ling Peak.

How do I get to the trailhead? albertawow.com 

Distance from Canmore: 7 km

Bloggers who have lived the adventure:

stevensong.com 

 

8. Grotto Canyon

 photoWilson Hui Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Distance: 5 km return
Time: 1 - 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 50 m

Why it’s awesome: Three words: pictographs, hoodoos and waterfalls.

Follow a creek bed between tall canyon walls to reach Grotto Falls. Then, take the other trail at the fork in the road to find a cave and hoodoos. Look for ancient Hopi pictographs along the way. Take note of conditions before heading out, as the creek levels vary, and can make for a wet hike. In winter, this is an ice-climbers playground.

How do I get to the trailhead? kananaskis.com

Distance from Canmore: 12 km

Bloggers who have lived the adventure:

hikingwithbarry.com 

 

9. Troll Falls

photoRaj Boora Flickr cc by nd 2.0

Distance: 3.4 km return
Time: 1 - 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 40 m
 
Why it’s awesome: Short hike with a cascading reward
 
Follow a gentle trail through the forest to a hollowed-out canyon wall, where the falls have cut a horseshoe in the rock. Occasional views of Kananaskis and the option to add the Hay Meadows Loop if you’re feeling energetic add to the trail’s charms. 
 
How do I get to the trailhead? tourismcanmore.com
 
Distance from Canmore: 55 km
 

10. Windtower Trail

photoKristin Warkentin 

Distance: 10 km return
Time: 5 - 6 hours
Elevation Gain: approx. 1,000 m

Why it’s awesome: Get that windswept look, the natural way, while being swept away by stunning views.

Like most hikes in the Rockies, Windtower is characterized by gorgeous, sweeping views of rivers, lakes and the surrounding peaks. The trail ascends through tree cover into rocky alpine conditions, with loose scree and stunning views of the Spray Lakes to match. Stop at Windy Pass, which, true to its name is very windy, or continue on to the Windtower summit for even more views - and more wind.

How do I get to the trailhead? trailpeak.com 

Distance from Canmore: 23 km

Bloggers who have lived the adventure:

beautyinthebackcountry.com

bobspirko.ca 

 

 

Have you hiked these trails near Canmore?

Which is your favourite?

Comment below!

 

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