Canmore, Alberta is a beautiful, scenic mountain town located west of Calgary in the Rocky Mountains. The town is in the Bow Valley at an elevation of around 1,400 m. This small town has become a tourist hub for those who love outdoor fun and small-town activities. Its amazing location paired with the town’s famous hospitality makes it a perfect place to visit and live. The town catapulted to international popularity after its charms were discovered by the world during the 1988 Olympics, and it has remained an enticing destination to this day.
An important part of Canmore’s charm is, of course, the mountains around it. This beautiful little town is nestled amongst some of the Rockies’ most impressive peaks. If you want to get to know Canmore, its mountains are a great place to begin!
Ha Ling Peak
Immediately to the south of Canmore, you’ll find Ha Ling Peak. It’s named for the intrepid Chinese cook that first scaled its intimidating summit in 1896, who climbed it on a bet. This prominent peak is situated between Mt. Rundle and the Three Sisters and is over 2408 meters. Its trails are currently closed for maintenance, but once they reopen, you can experience the beauty of this impressive mountain by hiking up its south side. If you prefer climbing, the north face of the peak has several climbing routes. There is also a route up Canmore Couloir, for those who enjoy a challenge!
Grotto Mountain is located in the Bow River valley and is one of the area’s most popular hiking spots. It takes its name from a grotto-esque cave.
There are two “scrambling” routes for those who want to experience its heights and views. Scrambling refers to a combination of hiking and climbing, required for steep terrain that requires the use of one’s hands to traverse. The two preferred routes are the Northwest Variation and the direct route.
The Northwest Variation begins on a traditional hiking trail, with the scrambling route beginning at the tree line.
The majority of the path is hiking, with some scrambling required. It leads hikers first to the false summit, and then gradually up to the true summit. The direct route is far shorter, but much more challenging, and takes hikers directly to the true summit.
Mount Lady Macdonald
Mount Lady Macdonald was named for Susan Agnes Macdonald, in 1886. She was the wife of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. The mountain peaks at 2,606 m, and is one of the regions most aesthetically impressive and physically challenging hikes. Her steep trails will leave hikers with tired muscles and full hearts, and her knife’s edge ridges offer sweeping views of the valley that are worth every bit of the effort it takes to scale this gorgeous mountain.
In fact, even if you don’t want to reach the summit, Lady Macdonald’s trails will reward you with incredible views very early on. Not quite sure you’re ready for the full climb? That’s okay, you’ll still have epic overlooks at the halfway point.
Mount Lawrence Grassi
Mount Lawrence Grassi is named for an Italian miner, who emigrated to the country in 1912. In addition to his career as a miner, he was an avid climber and became well-known and well-respected as a climbing guide at the time. There are several trails he was known to favour, including one which leads to another namesake of his, the Grassi Lakes.
Today’s trails take hikers up a challenging scramble that starts from a trailhead only 15 minutes from downtown Canmore. The entire trail is known for its amazing scenic views, so you’ll see beginner and veteran hikers alike on the way.
If you plan to reach the summit, it’s a 4 to 6 hour round trip, but don’t be discouraged if you’d just like to get some beautiful photos—you don’t have to go all the way!
It’s no mystery how these Canmore mountains got their name. Their proximity and similar heights have inspired people since the first climber to reach their summits, in 1887. Today, the “Big Sister,” at 2,963m, is known as Faith. The “Middle Sister” is Charity, and reaches 2,769 m. The Little Sister, Hope, really isn’t that little—she’s 2,694 m. As a matter of fact, Hope is the most difficult of the peaks to climb, since she requires some technical climbing, not just scrambling.
If you’re a mountain lover, Canmore is one of the best destinations to visit. These are just a few of the impressive peaks you’ll have access to from your front door at The Courtyard at Stewart Creek.
If you’re looking for a new home, we invite you to take a look at the newest community being built in the Three Sisters Mountain Village. Click here to download more information.