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viewgirl Apr 4th, 2015 10:31 AM

Canmore or Banff for lodging?
Planning a trip to Banff with another couple for this fall. We will be doing a lot of hiking and adventure-in Banff area. We are looking for nice lodging--probably a 2 BR condo with decent amenities--pool, etc. Which is a better place to stay--canmore or banff? i have noticed that there are tons more to choose from in Canmore---but is there an advantage to staying right in Banff? Canmore seems crowded. We have already been to Jasper and Lake Louise and loved it---- just can't get enough of Canada. I've planned many trips using your suggestions---- know that I can always count on you to guide me in the right direction.

ltt Apr 5th, 2015 06:28 AM

this is an ongoing debate and always settles down to personal preference. there are more "condo" type places in canmore which many families or sets of couples prefer. for me, i'd prefer to stay right in banff if that is where most of my activites will be to avoid that extra drive each day. also, with four people, you won't all be reliant upon traveling together all the time. in the evenings, you can walk around town without using the car. there are several hotels that offer 2 bedroom suites. fox, best western, chalets at douglas fur (although a little far from the center of town) come to mind but there are more.

kgsneds Apr 7th, 2015 11:41 AM

There are no formal rentals in Benff due to strict regulations about housing in the national parks. A few hotels have townhouse/condo style accommodation, but otherwise you are looking at a hotel or hostel. Condos may appear on some rental websites, but they are almost always illegal rentals and you run a real risk of losing your deposit/accommodation if you book an illegal place. All legit accomodations are listed here:

If you want a proper condo, Canmore is the best & probably only option. There are a variety of commercial condos and some legal condo rentals in other complexes, plus hotels, nice hostels and B&Bs. The ACC/HI Hostel in Canmore has a couple of two bedroom cabins (two rooms, one shower, one toilet, living area/kitchenette, plus deck & BBQ).

I spend a lot of time in Canmore and find it a LOT less crowded then Banff. In the summer, it's pretty much traffic gridlock in Banff, so you want to walk or take the Roam bus around town. Canmore is a bit more spread out, with more locals and less intensely touristy feeling. It's not swamped with bus tours and tourist only stores.

Both have good hiking, though I think there's as much, if not, better hiking around Canmore. They are about 20 minutes apart, so it really depends on what you want to see and where you will be doing your hiking. But if it's a condo you want, Canmore is probably the only realistic option.

viewgirl Apr 7th, 2015 04:38 PM

thank you ltt & kgsneds for your help. i think we will go with Canmore then. Now it all makes sense why there are so many choices in Canmore and hardly any in Banff. It's good to know there are lots of hikes out of canmore as well. We also plan on going down to Kananaskis for a day---and Canmore is closer to that as well. On our way up to Jasper last summer, we found the town of Canmore to be terribly crowded, and not so much in Banff---but it must have been the time of our visits--This is why I love seeking information on this site---from those who know!

panecott Jun 24th, 2015 07:02 PM

Just saw this thread. I think you made a good choice with Canmore.

I stayed there last year and really enjoyed it, and also found it to be a lot less crowded than Banff, with a much less touristy atmosphere.

I also spent a day in Kananaskis Country, which was beautiful and very worthwhile visiting.

kgsneds Jun 25th, 2015 07:58 AM

Interesting that Canmore was so crowded as compared to Banff. Certainly, none of the mountain townsites would be classified as quiet during the summer. But Canmore usually has more breathing space than Banff - probably had to do either with time of day or a special event.

Canmore also is a little spread out - sometimes just passing through, you may only see part of Canmore. Many people just go through the gas/hotel 'drag' on Bow Valley Trail; there's also the downtown area by the river, plus other neighborhoods on both sides of the TransCanada.

If you stay in Canmore, you can escape even those crowds but venturing away from the downtown. There are nice trails up on the Benchlands, near Grotto Mountain and along the river. Up in the Cougar Creek area, you can escape much of the rush by having breakfast at Fergie's or a meal at the terrace at the Iron Goat. Or getting your coffee at the Beamers on Bow Valley Trail.

As a note, if you are renting a car, be sure to check the contract to see whether you are allowed to go off paved/numbered roads. Many only permit driving on paved roads - if you go on an unpaved road, insurance is void if there is any damage.

Around Canmore, some of the more popular hikes are accessed via the Smith Dorrien Trail. The section from Canmore part way into K Country is unpaved with lots of dust, grit and loose rock on the road. I certainly see plenty of rental cars on the road, but if you do so, make sure to leave plenty of space between vehicles for visibility/avoid rocks kicked up by tires. You can access most of K-Country on paved roads via the TransCanada to Hwy 40.

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