Canmore is one of Alberta’s most charming little mountain towns, and while it’s a delight year-round, it truly begins to sparkle once the snow begins to fall. Canmore winters are all about having fun, and there’s so much to do! There are few places as dedicated to celebrating the outdoors.
There’s dog sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and of course, lots of hiking! Experience the beauty of a Rocky Mountain winter up close and personal by exploring on foot.
Winter Hiking in Canmore
Winter hikes might sound like an acquired taste to those who haven’t yet experienced them, but winter in Canmore has a lot to offer to the new hiker and experienced hiker alike. The air is crisp and clear, the trails are less crowded, and the sights are enhanced by beautiful, untouched snow.
If you find the idea of winter hiking intimidating still, let us reassure you that there are plenty of opportunities to get fresh air on trails with easy and moderate difficulty levels. Canmore has about 70km of walking and hiking trails, with many easily accessible trailheads. Because hiking and walking are such a beloved activity in the area, these trails are clearly marked and carefully maintained. There’s even an easy colour coding system to make finding your way simple. There are also plenty of downloadable maps of the trail systems online.
Easy Winter Hikes Canmore
Here are a few of our favourite easy winter walks and hiking Canmore has to offer.
Bow River Loop
The Bow River Loop is a very relaxed 2 km loop that’s accessible from downtown, with the trailhead located by the bridge on Rundle Drive. There are no hills (in fact, no elevation change at all), and if 2 km is a bit more than you’d like, it’s simple to do just a portion of the loop and then walk back.
Three Sisters Pathway
You can access the Three Sisters Pathway from the same trailhead as the Bow River Loop, by the bridge on Rundle Drive. This is a longer hike (about 7 km one way) but with relatively little elevation gain and plenty of scenic opportunities! It’s named for the Three Sisters Mountains, which you will be able to see on the trail, as well as some wooded areas, meadows, and even an old mine. The first portion of the trail (5 km) is paved, while the remainder is gravel.
Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk
This pretty little walking path is an enjoyable trail in its own right, and you can access it directly from downtown. It takes you through the town of Canmore, and then onto a short wooden boardwalk, which follows Policeman’s Creek. You’ll also see ponds that are popular with local wildlife, and experience some of Canmore’s lovely forested areas. Plus, if you’re looking for more to explore, the Policeman’s Creek path connects to the larger system of Canmore’s trails very conveniently. Experience it on its own or as part of a longer hike.
Moderate Winter Hikes Canmore
Grassi Lakes Hiking Trail
This moderately difficult hike is approximately 4 km (including the return). It has an elevation gain of 250m. The parking lot for the trail is located off of Spray Lakes Road, about a kilometre past the Nordic Center. Along this trail, you’ll see twin frozen lakes which are near the remains of an ancient coral reef. You may even get to see some native pictographs, although doing so requires a short climb. There are also two options for this trail, with an easier pathway following an unused gravel access road. The more challenging route offers some scenic views of Canmore. Both options lead you to the lakes
Troll Falls and Hay Meadows
Located right below Kananaskis Village, this conveniently located 4 km loop is a multi-purpose trail. So if you’d like to combine your hiking with snowshoeing or even cross-country skiing, you can! You can access this trail from either the Stoney Parking lot or the Ribbon Creek Parking lot.
Safety Tips for Winter Hikes
- Dress in layers! Remember that elevation changes, or other changes in the environment, can have a drastic effect on the temperature even over the course of a short hike.
- Be realistic about the length and time of day. A shorter winter trail may take longer than you expect. Also, recognize that the sun sets very early in the winter. Be generous when estimating your time.
- Be aware of the weather forecast. Winter is beautiful in Canmore, but you should always be prepared for the elements.
- Bring along a bag with helpful information and safety items, including water, trail maps, snacks, and first aid supplies.
- Remember that just because the snow has fallen does not mean the bears, and other large carnivores, have hibernated or left for the winter. Travel in groups, carry bear spray and stay on designated trails.
If you’re a mountain lover, Canmore is one of the best destinations to visit. These are just a few of the impressive hikes you’ll have access to from your front door at The Courtyard at Stewart Creek.
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