Top 10 Things To Do in Canmore, Alberta

If Canmore, Alberta is on your bucket list then this article is a must-read for you!

Canmore is undoubtedly our favourite Alberta mountainside town! It is a popular destination for locals as well as international tourists thanks to its plethora of fun and exciting attractions.

This destination is a resort town for outdoor enthusiasts because it is close to some of Canada’s highest mountain peaks in Banff National Park.

1. Drive along Icefields Parkway

Have you ever dreamed of or heard of a driveway to paradise? If so, you will experience it along the Icefields Parkway! Icefields Parkway is a 230-kilometer long roadway that connects Lake Louise with Jasper, and it has been rated one of the world’s top 10 scenic drives by National Geographic.

You’ll see towering mountains, waterfalls, and even the Columbia Icefield as you drive along this incredible route!

Lake Louise & Icefields Full-Day Tours

Are you looking for a guided full day tour of the region, book your trip here

Although the drive really should only take around 3 hours, you can stop on the way as much as you like to explore more. On a one-day Icefields Parkway adventure, you can:

  1. Stop by the Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint
  2. Take scenic views of Peyto Lake
  3. Stretch your muscles at Mistaya Canyon

While these are only a few of the many things to see along the Icefields Parkway, you’ll be surprised how much you can see!

2. Experience Cross Country Skiing

Canada’s best cross-country ski trails can be found at Canmore’s Nordic Centre. So, it is a must-visit on your things to do in the Canmore list!

Cross country ski events were held at the Nordic Centre in Canmore for the 1988 Olympics, and the facility has been maintained for recreational and training purposes ever since.

Yes, you can go cross-country skiing here and see some Olympic athletes in practice for the upcoming games!

Canmore’s Nordic Centre can be found just off Three Sisters Parkway at the end of the Three Sisters Trail. A large parking lot is available once you arrive at the location, and the location is easily found on Google maps. This location is open every day of the week during the winter months.

If you have your own gear, cross country skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre is an inexpensive winter activity as well! All you need to pay for is a $18 CAD for a day pass to cross country ski. However, if you need to rent gear, you can do so at the Nordic Centre.

You can ski to your heart’s content in Canmore because it tends to be dry and cold year-round with the best grooming. But, we recommend it’s best to always check the trail conditions before embarking on your ski adventure in Canmore!

3. Go Stargazing

If you love stargazing and enjoy the stars as much as you love them, then lucky for you. Stargazing is one of the best things to do in Canmore!

There’s no better place to see the stars than away from town. Here is a list of some of the best spots to observe the night sky in Canmore;

Best places for stargazing in Canmore

  • Spray Lakes Reservoir
  • Barrier Lakes
  • Lady MacDonald Heli Pad

If you want the best stargazing, make sure it’s a clear night and there are no clouds. In addition, you’ll be able to see more stars when the moon isn’t present or is a tiny one! To get the most out of your stargazing in Canmore, check out the clear-sky chart beforehand.

stargazing in canmore

4. Hike the Heart Mountain Horseshoe Loop Trail

Heart Mountain Horseshoe Hike in Canmore is an incredible experience. However, be warned that this trail is a very challenging hike and not for beginners or those afraid of heights. Well, in other words, it’s one of the best trails to overcome your fear of heights if you have been wanting to! So, let go of your fear and tie your shoelace to embark on this adventure. The trail is very quiet and, if you can handle it, gives you incredible panoramic views (so, why miss it?).

A steep uphill climb of about 3 hours is the first part of the hike (you may have to climb rocks at times). Thus, it’s best to attempt this hike on a clear summer day when there are appealing and varied views.

The trail along the ridgeline will take you two hours more after reaching the summit. Even though it seems difficult now, it will be well worth it when you see the views!

In finality, you will have to travel approximately 2 hours down the mountain. You should be cautious on your way back to avoid any bad experiences on slippery parts of the trail.

Approximately 12 kilometers make up the entire trail. Although some claim that they can complete this hike in 6 hours, it may take about 7 to 8 hours for some to complete it.

5. Wildlife spotting

Wild life can be found in abundance in the Canadian Rockies. So, it surely is one of the best things to do in Canmore! You can see a variety of incredible and rare animals, from Grizzly bears to moose to wild cats like cougars and lynx.

Identifying wildlife can be challenging. The chances of you missing out on something are almost certain if you don’t know where to look. So, here are some of the best places where you can best spot wildlife in Canmore:

  • Canmore Townsite
  • Spray Lakes Road
  • Policeman’s Creek Trail
  • Highway 40
  • Bow Valley Trail

Apart from these spots, it’s always best to book a wildlife tour to get the best out of wildlife in Canmore!

wildlife canmore

6. Encounter Rock Climbing

Rock climbers will find plenty of cliff faces to tackle in Canmore, making it a paradise for them only a few minutes away from the downtown area. For experienced climbers, places like Heart Mountain Gorge or Grassi Lakes are popular. Regardless of the level you’re on, both places have huge walls with lots of permanent bolts.

If you’ve never rock climbed before, you should book an organized tour with a knowledgeable guide to teach you how. These easy-to-do tours are available in Canmore on easy walls accompanied by an expert guide.

For those of you looking to climb during the winter or on rainy days in Canmore, there is an indoor rock-climbing gym at Elevation Place. Also, you can take lessons here, or just try it out on your own for a low price.

rock climbing in canmore

7. Go Horseback Riding

Canmore is overflowing with activities to keep even the most restless satisfied. However, one of the best ways to experience the surroundings in a very different way is to go horseback riding. Canmore-based Cross Zee Ranch offers the best horse riding experiences in the area.

There are tons of kid-friendly things to do in Canmore, so this is one of your must-do things! On the back of a friendly horse, you can ride through pine-scented montane forests complete with breathtaking mountain views, flowers, birds, and wildlife.

Through the ancient trails of the Nakoda, your horseback tour guide will offer you a variety of trails to choose from. Your guide will also choose from a wide variety of trails depending on your level of riding ability, and also the trail conditions. Not to worry, horses that are calm and surefooted are sure to be paired with riders who are appropriately experienced. So, horseback riding in Canmore is surely as safe as it is entertaining for the entire family!

8. Enjoy a Soak in the Hot Springs at Banff

A visit to the Banff Hot Springs is one of the must-do things to do in Canmore. You can do them to chill out after hiking or skiing in Banff or after a long day of exploring. Apart from the hot springs, there’s also a lot of interesting history that you may love to learn about from here!

According to legend, Banff Hot Springs were discovered at the base of Sulphur Mountain. It is known as one of the nine sulfurous hot springs on the mountain. It’s interesting to note that people of Banff, Canmore have flocked to this hot spring with the belief that it has healing properties!

As a result, the mineral-rich hot springs became known as Banff Hot Springs. The top hot springs are still open to the public today.

Their elevated location makes them the highest hot springs in Canada at 1,585 meters above sea level. Water in the Banff Upper Hot Springs is geothermal, originating three kilometers beneath the surface of the planet.

If you do not want to miss out on the best thing to do in Canmore, you should take public transport. That is the best recommended way to enjoy the hot springs to the fullest, during the peak season!

9. Ride the Mountain Bike Trails

With the melt of the snow in May and June, the trails become available, and there are many options for mountain biking that can accommodate any skill level.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can go on a mellow bike ride through a field with beautiful views, or rip down a ridgeline on a white-knuckle ride. Summers at the Canmore Nordic Center transform into a network of trails for mountain bikers of varying levels of difficulty.

The popularity of mountain biking has swept North America, and the opportunities and trails are growing every year. You can get up-to-date information about trails in the area by visiting a local shop or visiting the tourism board’s website. However, here’s a quick list of some of the best mountain bike trails in Canmore filtered out for you!

Mountain bike trails Canmore

Best Mountain Bike Trails in Canmore

  • Highline Trail
  • Odyssey
  • Prospector
  • EKG
  • Horseshoe Loop

Bonus: Looking for a more laid back biking experience? Why not rent an e-bike and tour around Canmore!

10: Canmore Cave Tours

Among our favourite activities in Canmore is Canmore Cave Tours. This is among the most unique experiences you can have in the area. Accompanied by a professional guide who will take you up Grotto Mountain to the entry of Rats Nest Cave (despite the name there are no rats in the cave). At the entry you will get on your safety gear and coveralls to start your venture deep into the mountain.

There are two tours: the 4.5 hour explorer tour and the 6 hour adventurer tour.

We can’t recommend this experience enough. It is a thrilling and eerily beautiful adventure that is sure to be a story you share with others for the rest of your life.

Bonus: Explore Radium and Kootney National Parks

Lastly, let’s not limit ourselves to the internal Canmore only. There’s so much more to Canmore than you think. It is not only Canmore that is fantastic, but the entire surrounding region is as well!

If you are a first-time visitor, we highly recommend taking a little road trip to Kootney National Park and Radium Hot Springs. This national park lies about 60 kilometers north of Canmore, and the park is very large. The scenic drive through the park is approximately an hour long, so put on some good music and take it all in. For the Instagrammers and bloggers out there, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get out and take photos, walk around, or go on a short hike. So, don’t miss out!

For pure relaxation and rejuvenation, stop by Radium Hot Springs after a long day of driving. There’s a lot to do in Radium Hot Springs, so make sure you check out the quaint shops, cafes, and beautiful natural scenery as well!

The list of things to do in Canmore cannot be achieved to its fullest without a lengthy visit. So, enjoy Canmore at its best with an affordable stay!