Day in Canmore

Escape the City: How to Spend A Day In Canmore

The beautiful town of Canmore, Alberta is in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and is often referred to as the gateway to Banff National Park. If you are looking to get away and spend a day in Canmore, this mountain town is a great place to spend a day.

I live in Calgary, so I have spent a lot of time in the mountains and I love spending a day in Canmore or a day in Banff, exploring the trails or walking around town. The best thing about Canmore is that most of the places are dog friendly which makes it even more appealing.

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Getting To Canmore

Located only an hour west of Calgary, Alberta, makes it easily accessible for a day trip to Canmore or a weekend getaway. Hop onto the Trans Canada Highway (Highway 1) and follow the signs towards Banff. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself in the Canadian Rockies.

Canmore View

Breakfast in Canmore

There are many things to do in Canmore, so you might need some sustenance before you head out into your day. I highly recommend you visit Fournil Bakery. A visit to Canmore is never complete without a stop here. My favorite is the almond croissant.

Fournils Bakery

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, now it’s time to head into the mountains. There are many things that you can do to enjoy the mountains. I always like to start my day exploring somewhere outside to take in the amazing views and breath in some fresh mountain air.

Hiking Trails Near Canmore

There are many easy hikes near Canmore where you can spend a few hours exploring the mountains. One of my favorite hikes to do near Canmore is Grassi Lakes. If you are a beginner hiker, this is definitely a trail you can do. It is 4.3 kms round trip and can take anywhere from 1.5 to 3.0 hours to complete. The lakes are made up of blue and green algae, with water fed from the Spray Lakes Reservoir. 

Grassi Lakes

If you are up for something else, you can venture into Banff National Park and do one of the hikes in Banff that can be done in the summer or the winter. Tunnel Mountain is one of my favorites to do in Banff.

view from tunnel mountain

TIP: A Kananaskis Conversation Pass is required if you are planning to visit any outdoor areas outside the town of Canmore in Kananaskis Country and the Bow Valley. A pass is not required if you will be spending the day in the town of Canmore only. If you are going to Banff National Park, then you will need to get a park pass to enter that area.

Canmore Nordic Centre

At the Canmore Nordic Centre, it’s not just about skiing or fat biking. In the summer, there’s loads to do. You can rent a mountain bike and explore over 100 kilometres of trails in the park. Depending on the season you are visiting, there are many other activities like disc golf, cross country skiing, hiking, and trail running. Remember you are in bear country, so make sure you follow the bear safety tips and carry bear spray.

You can venture just across the road from the Nordic Centre to Quarry Lake for a hike, swimming in the lake, or take your dog to the off leash park.

Quarry Lake Park

Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail

If you are into biking, then you can bring your bikes, or rent them in Canmore and take the 26 kilometre (one way) trail from Canmore to Banff on the Legacy Trail.Take a pit stop in Banff for an ice cream cone before heading back to Canmore.

Legacy Trail

Lunch on Main Street

The Wood Restaurant is a great place to sit on the dog friendly patio and enjoy a beautiful day and amazing views. They have a great variety to their menu, lots of local beers on tap and the desserts are amazing.

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company is a local favorite amongst everyone. You can try one of their many locally brewed beers and soda and pair it with an amazing menu. You can venture to their second location and enjoy local food and a tour of the brewery there.

Grizzly Paw Pub

On my last visit to Canmore, we found Tavern 1883 just off Main Street. It was a treat! It was less crowded and we thoroughly enjoyed the food. I recommend the Butter Chicken Pizza or Montreal Smoked Meat & Truffle Oil Poutine.

Tavern 1883

Explore Main Street

Spend the afternoon exploring Main Street, where you’ll find many shops selling local merchandise and art galleries from local artists. My favorite gallery to visit is All In The Wild where you can find beautiful wildlife photography taken by Jason Leo Bantle. I admit I own many of his photos.

Canmore Main Street

Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk Trail

Follow the 4.0 km (2.5 miles) pathway that starts downtown and winds its way through Canmore, partially along the Bow River. The boardwalk can be very busy but provides some great views of the iconic Three Sisters mountains and nearby streams. If you are lucky, you may encounter some local wildlife like birds and deer.

Boardwalk Trail

What to Do In Canmore on a Rainy Day

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, don’t let it dampen your spirits. Head to one of the spas in Canmore to relax and unwind. I recommend Bodhi Wellness & Spa.

Dinner in Canmore

There are a few options, but one of the ways we enjoys is to head to Iron Goat Pub & Grill for a nice meal and a glass of wine before you head home or back to your accommodations.

Iron Goat

Is it Cheaper to Stay in Canmore or Banff?

If you decide to extend your stay, there are many great options of places to stay in Canmore. While Banff may be more well-known as a tourist destination, staying in Canmore can often be a more affordable option. With a wide range of accommodations to choose from, you’re sure to find something that fits your budget. My favorite place to stay in Canmore is The Malcolm Hotel.

The Malcolm

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re seeking adventure in the great outdoors or simply looking to unwind amidst the Canadian Rockies, a day in Canmore is sure to be a day well spent. Whether it is hiking, relaxing at a spa, or enjoying the shops and restaurants, a visit to Canmore will always be a good day.

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