An Introduction to Canmore, Alberta: In the Heart of the Canadian Rockies

I fell in love with the Canadian Rockies upon my first visit in the early 1980’s.  In 2012, my husband and I moved to Canmore from Ajax, Ontario. We love everything about our mountain home in this friendly, welcoming community of around 15,000 people.   It goes without saying that the mountain scenery is absolutely spectacular.  Along with that is an amazing variety of outdoor adventure opportunities, great accommodations, fantastic food, great shopping, three jaw-dropping golf courses, extensive indoor recreation facilities and a vibrant arts and culture scene.  Canmore is a hub for health and wellness with lots of massage, yoga, meditation, physiotherapy, spas and holistic health services.

Canmore is ideally situated just one hour and fifteen minutes from Calgary International Airport. It is the ideal base for exploring Banff National Park.  The park border is just 7.0 km away and the Town of Banff is merely 26 km away via the Trans Canada Highway. Popular Lake Louise is 80 km away, which is just about an hour’s drive.  Canmore is also an ideal base from which to visit the other mountain national parks:  Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho and Glacier/Mt. Revelstoke. But the best-kept secret is the incredibly scenic drive from Canmore through Kananaskis Country by either the Spray Lakes/Smith-Dorrien Rd or the Trans Canada Highway and Highway 40.  Along the way are endless photo stops, picnic stops hiking, camping, caving, horseback riding, biking, kayaking/canoeing and skiing opportunities, wildlife and wildflower viewing opportunities.  Indeed, the scenery and outdoor adventure opportunities rival that of Banff National Park, but with a fraction of the visitors.

Active by Nature offers walking, Nordic walking and photography tours in Canmore.  These activities take place year round on the extensive network of over 160 km of paved trails, gravel trails and hiking or biking trails.  You can find more information about Canmore’s trail network here:  https://canmore.ca/recreation-facility/trails.  It is an absolute paradise for people who enjoy walking and Nordic walking!  The benefits of investing in a guided walking or Nordic walking tour upon your arrival in Canmore are:

  • Get an informative orientation to Canmore
  • Discover all that the town of Canmore and surrounding areas have to offer, tailored to your needs
  • Learn about Canmore’s past, present and future
  • Visit some super scenic, not-to-be-missed spots
  • Feel comfortable knowing your guide carries bear spray and is well versed in dealing with the wildlife that frequents the trail network
  • Learn or improve your Nordic walking skills, if that is of interest

Surrounding the town is an extensive network of hiking trails, most which require a good level of fitness as they involve significant elevation changes.  Some of the more popular trails being: the Legacy Trail which connects Canmore to Banff (a pleasant & mainly flat 1.5 hours by bike) the trails to the summits of Ha Ling and the East End of Rundle, the Lady MacDonald Trail, West Wind Pass and the High Rockies trail which forms part of the Trans Canada Trail (The Great Trail).  Canmore itself sits at an elevation of 1,375 metres (4,511 ft) above sea level.

Active by Nature can also arrange Kananaskis Country hikes and snowshoe tours (in winter) to Chester Lake, Watridge Lake, Lillian Lake, Rummel Lake, the High Rockies Trail, Troll Falls, Cougar Creek (winter only) and Hogarth Lakes (winter only).

Here are some additional resources to help you plan a trip to Canmore:

A sampling of the many excellent accommodation options:

For Active by Nature’s insights into Canmore, month-by-month, visit this webpage.