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7 Best Hikes in Canmore with Naturistic Lakes

Every trek doesn’t need to be strenuous to have stunning vistas. Canmore, Alberta, is home to several simple and quick tours that can be completed in a couple of hours.

Some of the best hikes in Canmore can be finished in less than an hour and are, therefore, appropriate for the entirety of the family.

1.1. Grotto Canyon Hike

Grotto Canyon is about ten minutes from downtown Canmore and can only be reached on foot. Here’s one of the best hikes in Canmore. From the Grotto Mountain day-use parking area, you can follow the trail to the stream bed, which has tiny walls and twists and turns for another kilometer. After descending a short distance, you’ll reach a fork in the stream bed, marked by a change in level despite the steadily increasing incline of the smooth limestone walls.

If you turn right, you’ll find a beautiful waterfall. Hopi pictographs, painted between 500 and 1,000 years ago, can be seen on the left wall of a building immediately before the falls if one takes the time to look closely.

Trail tips.

  • Trekking Poles – Trekking poles are often used on hikes with much elevation gain or loss. They help reduce the pressure on your joints and help you keep your balance on more difficult parts of the trail.
  • Microspikes – You should pack microspikes if you want to hike through Grotto Canyon after it has snowed (late fall, winter, or early spring). They are a must because loose, icy rocks are so easy to trip over.

1.2. Heart Mountain Horseshoe Hike

Heart Mountain Hike/Horseshoe Trail is a rewarding and challenging trail on the list of best hikes in Canmore in the Canadian Rockies. 

The trail is suitable for beginner scramblers and starts 1 hour from Calgary and 15 minutes from Canmore.

The trail is “challenging” compared to Ha Ling Peak! Without prior knowledge, it’s simple to lose track and markings. This journey to the peak features steep granite walls and short vertical climbs.

Hike the loop or out-and-back trail. The 2.8-kilometer out-and-back trail ascends and descends counter-clockwise. 

 Trail tips

  • About 10.3 kilometers long, with a climb of 935 meters, is the Heart Mountain Horseshoe. It’s possible to hike here at any time of year, though freezing conditions and gusty winds at the summit should be avoided. Walking counter-clockwise around the circle is more efficient, as this will have you ascending the hardest section.
  • No trees provide any relief from the sun, making this hike unpleasant during the warmer months. (Bear poop was seen on the trail’s lower end.) bring along lots of food and drink, some hiking sticks, and bear spray, just in case.
  • The trailhead is located off the Lac Des Arcs exit, 18 kilometers east of Canmore. The Heart Creek parking area is located off the Trans-Canada Highway’s southern shoulder, so follow the signage.

1.3. Three sisters Viewpoints

One of the area’s most well-known groups of mountains is Canmore’s Three Sisters. When you think of Canmore, you think of these mountains. It’s one of Canmore’s easiest trails. Here’s one of the best hikes in Canmore. 

If you’ve ever been to Canmore or the nearby town of Banff, chances are you’ve heard about, if not seen, the Three Sisters. These mountains are some of the most distinctive in the Canadian Rockies, instantly visible from the town.

Check out this Alberta circle trail that’s only a kilometer long. The trip is short and easy, with 15 minutes trial at most. You should expect to run into other hikers here because of the region’s popularity. The track is accessible all year and is lovely at any time.

There is a fantastic vantage point at which you can see the Three Sisters peaks after only a short stroll.

Trail tips

It would help if you carried these things with you

  • Quality walking footwear
  • Snacks and lunch to go
  • A refreshing drink
  • A hat and sunscreen 
  • A camera A genuine spirit of exploration
  • Adequate physical fitness
best hikes in Canmore
Photo by Lisa Bourgeault on pexels

1.4. Benchlands Ridge Trail

Close to Canmore, Alberta, Benchlands Ridge is a 733-meter long, moderately traveled white gravel road suitable for families. The main trail for mountain bikes can be ridden in either direction. This path usually takes about 6 minutes to hike.

One of the best simple treks in Canmore, Benchlands Ridge Trail, features an impressive outlook without the strenuous ascent.

The trail ascends to a ridge with stunning views of Canmore and the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Considering you didn’t even have to climb a mountain to get here, the view is stunning. A few interesting hoodoos (steep, slender rock spires) can be found at the peak.

Parking at Cougar Creek or the Benchlands Trail Bike Park will allow you to avoid the highway segment of the trail and begin your ride closer to the trailhead in downtown Canmore. Here’s one of the best hikes in Canmore. 

 Trail tips

The section of the Bow River Trail you are currently on is often used by bicycles. Always keep safety in mind.

1.5. Grassi lakes Trail

Due to its blue lake peak, Grassi Lakes is a popular trek in Canmore. The turquoise water of the twin lakes comes from an ancient coral reef. If you want simple hiking in Canmore, start on the right! So from here, a beautiful trail begins.

This trail goes through the forest on an old gravel path with a slow 250-meter rise to get to the lakes. Thus, it suits all fitness and walking levels.

The trailhead is 1km past the Spray Lakes Road Nordic Center turnoff on Ken Richie Way. On the left is a parking lot.

Grassi Lakes is one of Canmore’s easier hikes at 5 kilometers (back) and 125 meters elevation gain. It’s kid- and fitness-friendly. Many families had young children and dogs when we hiked the Grassi Lakes trek.

Grassi Lakes Trail begins in a huge parking lot outside Canmore. 

Two routes lead to Grassi Lakes. One trail departs from the parking area at Grassi Lakes. Stay right for the gentler trail, left for the “harder” one. After two minutes, you’ll reach a sign-marked trail fork. Here’s one of the best hikes in Canmore. 

 Trail tips

You should bring the following on any hike:

  • A paper map of the area and an electronic version of the hike (the Grassi Lakes trail is fairly easy to follow and doesn’t require a paper map).
  • In the event of a summer blizzard, a fleece or down jacket is a necessity.
  • Bear Mace
  • Micro-spikes in the cold season.
best hikes in canmore
Photo by Steph Smith on Unsplash

1.6. Bow River loop Trail

Canmore’s easiest trek is Bow River Loop Trail. Crossing Bow River steel bridges are a feature of the Bow Valley Trail. Here, the Three Sisters look amazing. Here’s one of the best hikes in Canmore. 

The 2-kilometer circular course barely climbs 50 meters, making it comfortable and family-friendly. Trail seats line the river. They’re excellent for lunch or relaxing. You can come here to read in the sun while living in Canmore.

Outside Canmore, this 2km loop around the Bow River is easy. Two pedestrian bridges cross the flat, accessible dirt track. It’s one of Canmore’s shortest hikes at 20 minutes.

The Three Sisters are visible from Rundle Bridge. Another cool bridge is Engine Bridge. If you want to explore, this restored railway bridge has side pathways.

To get to the trailhead from downtown, take the Rundle Drive bridge and the riverfront walk. Cross the old railway bridge and go back along the river. The trail has many benches for resting and enjoying the tranquillity.

Trail tips

Your hiking essentials should include the following:

  • You won’t need much more than a camera to get started.
  • Although it is a frequent path, you should still bring bear spray with you.

1.7. Policeman’s creek boardwalk

The Policeman’s Creek Trail is one of the best hikes in Canmore of the bunch regarding short and simple walks in Canmore. To begin, this walk passes right through the center of Canmore town, which means you can access it directly from your accommodation.

Second, because it is a boardwalk, there will be no changes in height, rocks, or mud; instead, there will be a pleasant artificial boardwalk.

Right smack amid Canmore is where you’ll find the Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk, which follows the water’s edge along the creek. The total length of the boardwalk, from one end to the other, is 3.9 kilometers; however, most people do not walk the entire distance.

 Trail tips

Hiking, biking, and fishing are the best things to do near the Policeman Creek Trail in Alberta.

  • Riding a horse: The trail is great for horseback riding because it has a lot of space to explore.
  • Seeing animals: The trail is home to many kinds of animals, like deer, elk, and bears, so keep your eyes open!

2. Beautiful lakes in Canmore

It’s common knowledge that Alberta is home to several beautiful lakes worth exploring. It’s likely that with the best hikes in Canmore, “see lovely lake” is on the to-do list for everyone who comes to Alberta.

One thing is certain: Alberta has a lake ideal for you, whether your ideal activity is to swim in the lake, paddle around the lake, enjoy the lake from the lakeshore while taking photographs, or enjoy skating on the lake during the winter. After experiencing the enchantment of these stunning bodies of water, it’s unlikely that you’ll leave the region untouched.

Here is a list of the finest lakes in Alberta:

2.1. Quarry Lake Loop

Hikers in the Canmore area adore the Quarry Lake Loop. Many people frequented this lovely spot due to the off-leash dog park, the picnic area, and the swimming holes.

The Quarry Lake Loop trail is an easy stroll, and finding a parking spot is the most difficult portion of the trip. This quick and easy stroll goes around Quarry Lake starting from the parking lot.

When parking, the hike around this circle is more difficult. During the summer, parking lots are typically full very quickly. Visit either early or late in the day to catch the sunset. 

 Amenities

The lake has two public restrooms near the vehicle park. They’re tidy. At the time of writing, the loop track has at least four trash bins. No excuse for littering!

Five public picnic benches are located opposite the vehicle park. Summer family reunions happen here.

Even if the path isn’t tiring, it’s nice to know you can stop and sit down if needed. When the weather is pleasant, there are various grassy spots and benches for reading.

2.2. Moraine Lake

It is the quintessential representation of the Canadian Rockies and, by extension, Canada. The glacial runoff that feeds the alpine lake makes it a vivid turquoise color, and it looks stunning against the backdrop of the Ten Peaks. Millions of people visit this untouched wilderness each year, and it was even featured on the Canadian $20 currency at one point.

Switchbacking along the moraine’s back, the Rockpile Trail leads quickly and easily to the dam’s summit. Here’s one of the best hikes in Canmore. 

Moraine Lake Lakeshore Trail, Constellation Lakes Trail, Larch Valley Trail, Sentinel Pass Trail, and more are all excellent options for hikers in the area.

Amenities

There are rooms, a gift shop, and a café at Moraine Lake Lodge. They don’t have many snacks, so bringing your food and picnic by the lake is best.

Moraine Lake doesn’t have cell service or WiFi.

best hikes in canmore
Photo by Jaime Reimer on pexels

2.3. Upper Kananaskis lake

The hike that makes a loop around Upper Kananaskis Lake is a moderate one that offers walking along the lakeside and great views of the surrounding mountains. If it weren’t for how far it went, I’d say that the hike of 15.8 kilometers wasn’t difficult at all.

The trail never requires you to ascend more than sixty meters higher than it, but it is undulating, and there is a surprising amount of vertical throughout its duration. Any time of the year other than winter is ideal for going on this hike because it is so enjoyable.

You can take a hike around this Lake that is 15.8 kilometers long, but if you don’t want to hike that far, you can start at one of the trailheads and undertake a trip that goes out and then return. It makes no difference in whatever way you hike around the loop.

Take a walk around this lake, going against the direction of the clock. You will arrive at The Point Backcountry Campground once you have passed the rockfall. Undoubtedly, this is one of the gorgeous campgrounds I have ever visited in Alberta.

On this peninsula, you’ll find a variety of campsites, some of which look out over the water. Each one is secluded and comes equipped with a tent mat. Make your reservations early for summer weekends.

Amenities

  • Fireplaces
  • Water – Pump
  • Boat Launch

2.4. Lake Athabasca

It is located close to Wood Buffalo National Park. When you look at a map, you’ll notice that Wood Buffalo National Park is located rather high up there, close to the boundary with the Northwest Territories. Lake Athabasca is located close by.

It is a remote part of the world that is not so easy to go there, as there are only roads suitable for less frequent travelers that can bring you there.

The vast rural countryside that will take your breath away will halt you in your tracks, and it is just as stunning as the lakes seen in the Athabasca Region. It is the lake with the greatest surface area and depth in both Saskatchewan and Alberta, and it is the seventh-largest lake in all of Canada. That was the result for Cockney as a result of it.

Lake Athabasca has the greatest depth and the most surface area in Saskatchewan. Its total area is 7,936 square kilometers. It is a site of untouched natural beauty, a distinct ecology home to rare flora, and a well-known expansive expanse of dunes.

 Amenities

Bird watching, fishing, water skiing, camping, power boating, windsurfing, canoeing/kayaking, sailing, and more are some available activities.

best hikes in canmore
Photo by Kyra Beaty on Unsplash

2.5. Chester lake

One of the top trails in Kananaskis, the Chester Lake trek is renowned for its breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. It is undoubtedly one of the Kananaskis hikes we have completed the greatest number of times.

You can travel the trail each season on foot and snowshoes, and we continue to do so because of its pristine natural beauty. Said, the hike around Chester is one we never grow tired of doing.

Unlike most single-track mountain hiking trails, this lake climb has a fantastic wide path that allows groups of people to chat easily while climbing. Because the hiking track is so large, this is an ideal Kananaskis trek for group outings of all kinds, including family hikes, stag party hikes, hikes for team building, and other similar activities.

It’s one of those best hikes in Canmore, where you get the height increase out of the way early on, and the Chester Trail is one of those hikes. After 3.5 kilometers, you will arrive at the trail’s highest point, and the remaining 6.2 kilometers will either be level or descend.

Amenities

  • Backcountry hiking
  • Front Country Hiking
  • Cycling/Mountain Biking
  • Skiing in the cross-country
  • Shoe-dashing

3. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1. Why is Canmore famous?

For 30 years, Canmore’s beauty, outdoor sports, and wildlife have captivated travelers. Calgary’s international airport and proximity benefit. Visit the city and mountain life. Canmore has all. Golf, skiing, and sightseeing. Kananaskis Country and Banff National Park are scenic. Canmore has all you need for Rocky Mountain fun.

Q.2. Is Canmore expensive?

Canmore has lower hotel rates than most cities. Housing, transit, consumables, and entertainment affect this average. Canmore housing is scarce and pricey.

Q.3. What can you do on a day trip to Canmore?

Canmore is a great place to go mountain biking, and once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can refuel with some tacos or baked goods before checking out the local art galleries.

Q.4. How far is Canmore from the airport?

Canmore is located around 74 kilometers away from Calgary International Airport (YYC). The distance through the road is 114.8 kilometers.

Q.5. How big is Canmore?

Canmore, Alberta, Canada, lies around 81 kilometers (50 miles) west of Calgary, close to the park’s southeast boundary.

4. Conclusion

Because there are so many quick and simple trails with the best hikes in the Canmore area, there is no reason to avoid getting outside and taking in the stunning scenery of Alberta if you want to spend some time in the great outdoors. At the same time, on your trip, consider pitching a tent in one of Alberta’s many beautiful campgrounds.

You will experience an amazing trip in Canmore with these beautiful places.

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