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When we were in Canmore for the Uncorked Food and Drink Festival, we needed to find a way to work off all the delicious calories we were consuming. Lucky for us, in Canmore there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, or simply taking a leisurely, scenic stroll.
We opted for easy hikes and walks to keep us busy in between festival events. Our biggest adventure was the Grassi Lakes hike and the rest of the time we found shorter trails in Canmore to explore.
Here’s a look at some great places to go for a scenic walk in Canmore, Alberta!
Grassi Lakes Hike
The Grassi Lakes hike is perfect for beginner hikers and families. There are two routes you can choose from- an easy route and a more difficult route. Both paths lead to the same beautiful final destination- two small turquoise lakes.
We decided to take the difficult route on the way to Grassi Lakes and the easy path on the way back.
The easy route is more of an access road that takes you up a gentle slope through the forest. The more challenging path is a steeper, more rugged trail, but has far better scenery. This path offers up views of Canmore and the reservoir down below. You’ll even pass by a waterfall off in the distance.
We found the scenic route to be worth the extra effort, but not too difficult. There were some steep stairs at one point on the trail. I had to pass off my heavy camera bag to Mike because I was worried the weight would make me fall backwards down the stairs!
Once we arrived at Grassi Lakes, it was nice to sit near the shore and admire the reflections and turquoise colour of the water. The area around the upper lake is also popular spot for climbers, so you may get to see them scrambling up the rock face.
The Grassi Lakes hike took us just over an hour and a half, roundtrip (including a few photo stops and rest break at the lakes). The total distance is 3.8 kilometers and has an elevation change of 250 metres.
Directions to Grassi Lakes: The trailhead is located 4.7 km south of Canmore on the Smith-Dorrien-Spray Lakes Road (Highway 742). From town, follow the signs for the Canmore Nordic Centre. Continue for about 1 kilometre past the Nordic Centre until you reach the end of the pavement. Turn left at the Grassi Lakes sign and continue to the parking lot. The trailhead is on the right.
Quarry Lake Loop
Quarry Lake is another beautiful place to go for a short walk. The path circles around Quarry Lake, which has some beautiful reflections of the nearby mountains. There also is a small sandy beach, picnic tables and an off-leash dog area just to the west.
Directions to Quarry Lake: From town, follow the signs for the Canmore Nordic Centre. Quarry Lake is not far up Spray Lakes Road (before the Nordic Centre). You’ll see a large parking lot and open field on the left hand side of the road.
Bow River Loop
The Bow River Loop is usually the first place we go when we arrive in Canmore. On this visit, we did a quick bike ride along the river and across the old railroad bridge.
This flat path is easily walked in about 25 minutes. It’s a favourite of ours because of the great views of Mount Rundle and the Three Sisters peaks.
Directions to Bow River Loop: From Main Street, take 8th avenue across the bridge onto Rundle Road. Park in the lot at the end of the bridge. Turn left on the path to begin your walk along Bow River.
The boardwalk is another nice place to go for a stroll in Canmore. It’s a short path that follows along Policeman’s Creek and leads through a grassy area, dotted with trees. At the end of the path is a beautiful wooden bridge.
Directions to the Boardwalk: The boardwalk is at the north end of Main Street, next to the Northwest Mounted Police Barracks.
Benchlands Ridge is across the highway from the main part of Canmore. The path is high up on a hill giving great views of the town and Three Sisters mountain range. There are also some hoodoos down below on the slope.
We didn’t walk around this area too much, instead we just sat and enjoyed the view. We also chatted with some friendly locals who were out walking their dogs.
Directions to Benchland Ridge: From Canmore, cross Highway 1 taking the overpass to Benchlands Trail. Take your first left onto Benchlands Terrace and then go left again onto 100 Benchlands Terrace. You will be in a residential area, so park anywhere along the road.
Final Thoughts About Our Trip to Canmore
So there you have it- five easy hikes and walks in Canmore! On our next visit, I’d like to try out some of the more challenging hikes in the area, like the Ha Ling trail, and do some mountain biking at the Nordic Centre. Another helicopter tour of the Rockies would be fun too (hey, a girl can dream!) There’s so much to do in Canmore that one weekend is never enough!
Accommodations in Canmore
For your convenience, here is a list of hotels in Canmore. Please consider booking your Easter Island accommodations through the included link. It costs nothing extra and helps support this website. Thank you!
Where We Stayed
For our weekend in Canmore, we stayed at the Paintbox Lodge. This is a small boutique hotel with 3 suites and 2 rooms, each of them unique.
We loved the rustic décor and vaulted ceilings of our Studio Room. Having a view of the Three Sisters mountain range was an added bonus!
Every morning, we started our day with an in-house made breakfast of muffins, bread, quiche and granola. Mike was a huge fan of serve-yourself cappuccino bar!
The Paintbox Lodge is conveniently located in downtown Canmore. Even though shops and restaurants were all within walking distance, we still liked taking the hotel’s complimentary bikes out for a ride around town.