Our Top Summer Hikes In Canmore


Our Top Summer Hikes In Canmore
Coming to an outdoor-oriented community like Canmore, the sheer number of hiking options can feel overwhelming. Each hike has its own unique charm, so to help you decide, we've compiled a short list of our favourites. These hikes vary in difficulty—some are perfect for children, while others require a higher fitness level. However, none of them demand advanced scrambling skill or particularly seasoned hikers.

We always advise carrying bear spray with you whilst in and around Canmore and Kananaskis, especially so when hiking. You can buy this in town from UNLTD, or even rent it from Gear Up.

Lady Macdonald - Hard

Affectionately referred to as Lady Mac by locals, this hike is accessible directly from town, with parking available at the trailhead. It's ideal for an early start without needing to drive far. Though challenging and perhaps not the best choice for your season opener, it rewards those who tackle its steep, winding path with stunning panoramic views.

Starting from Cougar Creek, the trail ascends through dense forest, offering occasional glimpses of Canmore's mountain range. As you climb higher, the treeline recedes, revealing breathtaking vistas of the Bow Valley and the town of Canmore below. Navigating some rocky terrain, you can choose to stop at the non-existent 'tea house'—a wooden deck originally built with plans for a tea house that never materialized. This spot is popular for a well-deserved rest, offering expansive views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

For those who wish to continue, the Lady Mac ridge leads to the 'true' summit. However, this section is not recommended for inexperienced hikers due to its exposure, high winds, and narrow ridge, which can make for a sketchy finish.
The Lady Macdonald Hike is a must-do for active and outdoor enthusiasts visiting Canmore, promising a memorable and rewarding experience.

Grassi Lakes - Moderate

Arguably the most popular hike in Canmore (and with good reason), this easy-rated trail is perfect for a family-friendly activity. It’s accessible either directly from downtown (if you don't mind adding a few extra kilometers to your hike) or from a parking lot at the trailhead. During the summer, the town of Canmore also runs a weekend bus service to the trailhead. A Kananaskis Conservation Pass is required if driving.

A few hundred meters up the trail, you'll come to a fork. The left trail is more challenging with uneven footing and a range of terrain, but offers a more scenic route with gorgeous views of Grassi Falls. The right trail is easier to manage terrain-wise, with a steady incline on more stable ground, perhaps the better option if with young children.

Whichever route you choose, the reward at the top is the stunning Grassi Lakes. With their almost otherworldly blue and green hues. You won’t regret this one!

Ha Ling - Hard

One of Canmore's most iconic peaks, this hike falls into the mid-range difficulty category and is a real thigh burner. With a short drive from downtown Canmore (15 minutes) past Spray Lakes and Canmore reservoir, there is a parking lot at the trailhead which is well signposted. The drive is a scenic one and you might even be treated to a glimpse of bighorn sheep or mountain goats on the way.  Beginning in a wooded area and incorporating stairs from around the halfway point, the elevation gain is steep. However, even beginner hikers can conquer it with determination, albeit possibly with gritted teeth.

The rewards at the summit are absolutely worth the effort. You'll be treated to a stunning overview of the town of Canmore and up-close views of the East End of Rundle (EEOR). 

Kananaskis Conservation Pass is required if driving.

Strolls rather than Hikes

For those days when you still want to enjoy nature without the strain of strenuous exercise, Canmore offers some lighter hikes, more akin to strolls. These trails can also be looped together to create a longer walk around Canmore. We've arranged them in order so they can be completed as a whole loop, or you can choose just one to enjoy.

Policeman's Creek - Easy

Our favourite way to kick off the day is with a coffee in hand (we highly recommend Eclipse Coffee Roasters) while strolling along the Policeman's Creek boardwalk, starting at the Opera House in Spring Creek. After crossing the bridge, you'll spot the trail on your left. Take a leisurely walk down the boardwalk, soaking in the stunning views and the gentle stream beside you. Once you cross the road, greet the famous 'Big Head' and continue your stroll for another 10 minutes along the creek. You'll eventually reach a bridge on your left, where you can join the Spur Line Trail.

Spur line trail - Easy

The bridge provides a perfect photo opportunity, offering a beautifully framed view of Ha Ling Peak. Continuing along the path, this walk will take approximately 10 minutes, passing by Canmore Pond, sculpture installations, and tree-lined paths. Eventually, you'll arrive at the Engine Bridge, marking the beginning of the Bow River Loop.

Bow River Loop - Easy

Cross over the famous Engine Bridge, another picturesque spot for capturing the scenery or a memorable moment. Follow this gentle path, enjoying the peace of the Bow River's flow. Soon, you'll reach a pedestrian bridge, offering you the option to cross and loop back to Riverside Park or back into downtown. Alternatively, you can choose to continue your walk along the Three Sisters Pathway, though you will have to walk back the same route if your end destination is not in that direction.

Looking for more activities during your visit? Explore the Canmore Kananaskis website for amazing itineraries and recommendations. Alternatively, if you're up for a short 15-minute drive, consider heading to Banff National Park. Check out the Banff & Lake Louise website for more information and ideas.
Shop our Outdoor Essentials—perfect for your next hike, camping trip, or picnic at your favourite lake.
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