7 Activities to Try in Canmore, Alberta
The Canadian Rockies just might be Canada’s worst kept secret.
Everyone and their uncle knows that these jagged monoliths are the perfect backdrop for a pillowy ski day, a walk around an impossibly turquoise lake or an epic alpine hike.
When people think of the Canadian Rockies, most people think of Banff, a National Park that is extraordinarily beautiful, but it’s not the only mountain town nestled in the Rockies worth visiting.
Think of Canmore as Banff’s laid-back brother: cool, relaxed and unassuming. If the chill mountain vibe is what you’re after, then you need to get yourself to Canmore to try these awesome activities.
Bike to Banff
Rent a bike from a local outfitter and pedal your way along the paved Banff Legacy Trail. This 16-mile trail is relatively mellow and safe from any vehicular traffic, making it perfectly suitable for the whole family. Anticipate a two to three hour round trip or more if you want to stop and get lost in the panoramic mountain views.
If you’re craving adventure, a visit to Rats Nest Cave is definitely in order. This isn’t Disneyland: the cave is left entirely in its natural wilderness state, meaning no handrails, lights or general babying. The possibilities for exploring are endless, from a shorter half-day tour to a multi-day grotto expedition. It’s like discovering a whole new side of the Rockies.
Eat Your Heart Out
Foodies, you’ll be happy to know that one of the biggest challenges you’ll face in Canmore is deciding where to enjoy your meals. The local restaurants and cafes cover a broad range of cuisine, ranging from a romantic dinner at Tapas, mouthwatering fire-cooked pizza at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, healthy and vibrant meals at Communitea, and scrumptious poutine at La Belle Patate. Come hungry, there is a lot to try.
Take a Hike
Looking around at the towering mountains surrounding the town, it’s nearly impossible to resist the urge to climb them all. Luckily, there are a number of easily accessible hikes to give you your mountain fix. Check out the stunning Ha Ling Peak for an advanced full-day hike, or start off with something a little tamer, like the Bow River Loop right in town. Packing your hiking boots is a definite must.
Get Your Craft Soda On
Canmore’s Grizzly Paw Brewing Company makes some delicious craft beer that is served at just about every pub around town, but that’s not all they make. Their brewery also whips up some delectable craft sodas, including tantalizing flavors like Black Cherry Soda, Ginger Beer, and, my favorite, Grapefruit Soda.
Take a brewery tour and sample the sodas on tap, then pick up a 6-pack to enjoy at home. Of course, if sweet stuff isn’t up your alley, you could always take a traditional brewery tour. In fact, why not do both?
Channel Your Inner Cowboy
Situated in Canada’s own Wild West, it only makes sense to check out a horseback riding tour while in Canmore. There are a number of outfits to choose from, each offering scenic tours on horseback through Canmore’s winding network of trails. Exploring Canmore on horseback lets you experience the scenery in a whole new way, and it’s an adventure that’s not to be missed. Don’t worry, no experience is needed for this activity.
Hit the Town
After a day spent exploring Canmore, don’t even think about retreating early to your hotel, there’s a whole other side you of the town that need to check out. Canmore’s nightlife scene is positively buzzing, and it’s the furthest thing from stuffy that you can possibly imagine. In other words, don’t be afraid to rock your plaid to The Drake, Rose & Crown, or The Canmore Hotel while you knock back a few well-deserved pints or cocktails to cap off an awesome day in the mountains.
Magee Walker was a late bloomer to the snowboard scene, but thankfully discovered the joys of the sport after moving to Vancouver and spending weekends in Whistler. She’s now lucky enough to call Whistler her full-time home and spends her days conquering the mountain, by foot in the summer and by snowboard boot in the winter.