Canmore and Kananaskis Country

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Canmore and Kananaskis Country - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Highwood Pass

    At 2,227 meters (7,310 ft), this high mountain pass along Highway 40 is the highest paved road pass in Canada. It's a beautiful driving route with stunning mountain scenery and superlative hiking trails and other sites just off the top of the pass. Since the pass is located right at the tree line, this is one of the most accessible high alpine areas in the Rockies. Near the summit, you'll find the Highwood Meadows Trail, a 0.6-km (0.4-mile) accessible interpretive trail that will take you through a fragile alpine meadow. This road over Highwood Pass is closed to motor vehicles from December through mid-June. Early June is a great time for cyclists to enjoy the route without the worry of encountering motor vehicles. Watch for elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep, grizzly and black bears as you traverse this pass.  

    Highwood Pass, Alberta, Canada
  • 2. Ptarmigan Cirque

    Explore the Highwood Meadows Interpretive Trail before you cross Highway 40 to begin the Ptarmigan Cirque trail. The trail leads to a high alpine meadow with incredible views of the surrounding mountains. This hike is popular with wildflower enthusiasts, especially in early to mid-July when glacier lilies blossom shortly after the snow melts. In late July to early August, more than 80 different species of wildflowers might be seen in the meadows. The hike is also popular in autumn when the larch trees turn golden before dropping their needles. The 4.5-km (2.8-mile) trail has 225 meters (700 feet) of elevation gain. Moderate.

    Highwood Meadows Day Use Area, Alberta, Canada
  • 3. Arethusa Cirque

    Just south of Ptarmigan Cirque, this 5-km (3.1-mile) loop trail actually has more larches than its better-known neighbor. The trail begins by passing through a forested area and then opens up into a wide meadow. There's 274 meters (899 feet) of elevation gain, but it's a relatively easy hike. Easy.

    Arethusa Cirque, Alberta, Canada
  • 4. Barrier Lake Day Use Area

    Picnic tables, indoor toilets, a boat launch, a visitor center, free Wi-Fi access, and lovely views are the draws at this day-use area in Kananaskis Country.

    Barrier Lake Visitor Centre, Kananaskis Village, Alberta, Canada
  • 5. Black Prince Cirque Interpretive Trail

    This easy 4.2-km (2.6-mile) interpretive loop trail climbs 90 meters (300 feet) to beautiful Warspite Lake through forested and open areas. The first section of the trail follows an old logging road. Alberta Parks has created a four-page interpretive brochure for this trail, which you can pick up at any of the visitor centers in the park. Numbered posts along the trail correspond to numbers in the booklet. Easy.

    Black Prince Day Use Area, Alberta, Canada
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  • 6. Blackshale Suspension Bridge

    This 1-km (0.6-mile) loop trail leads to a dramatic suspension bridge over Blackshale Creek. This is a section of the High Rockies Trail, which is a part of the Trans-Canada Trail. You can do a longer hike along the trail or just do a short loop and take in the bridge and its wonderful views. The trail is best used from April to October and has an elevation gain of 53 meters (174 feet). Dogs are also able to use this trail if they are kept on a leash. Easy.

    Blackshale Suspension Bridge, Alberta, Canada
  • 7. Bow Valley Paved Trail

    This 4.2-km (2.6-mile) one-way paved trail stretches from the Bow Valley Campground and information center through forest and rolling terrain with good views of meadows along the way. There are short steep hills at either end of the trail making it less accommodating for wheelchairs. Easy.

    Bow Valley Information Centre, Kananaskis Village, Alberta, Canada
  • 8. Burstall Pass

    Winding through the forest, this 7.4-km (4.6-mile) one-way trail leads to two shallow bodies of water known as the Burstall Lakes. From there, you cross what is known as the Willow Flats, an area with many streams, before climbing through forest and then across a picturesque valley to a cirque (an amphitheater-like valley formed by glacial erosion). The views of the remote southern end of Banff National Park at the end of this challenging hike are worth the effort. There's 470 meters (1,550 feet) of elevation gain. Moderate. 

    Burstall Pass Day Use Area, Alberta, Canada
  • 9. Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre

    Browse through the displays at this museum and learn about the history of Canmore and the region from millions of years ago to the present day. Enjoy a fun virtual tour of a coal mine and learn about the geology of the region too.

    902B 7th Ave., Canmore, Alberta, Canada
    403-678--2462

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$5, Closed Tues.--Wed.
  • 10. Canoe Meadows

    You get great views of the Kananaskis River from this day-use site along Highway 40 and if you're lucky, you can watch kayakers navigating artificial rapids. There are toilets, a picnic shelter, and a water pump.  

    Canoe Meadows Campground, Kananaskis Village, Alberta, Canada
  • 11. Cox Hill Ridge

    This moderate/difficult 13-km (8-mile) hike takes hikers to the top of Cox Hill and features beautiful wildflowers and fantastic panoramic views. This trail is not highly traveled, fairly steep at the start, and you may have the summit all to yourself---make sure you don't stop at the false summit. By continuing along the trail through a treed section, you will arrive at the true summit. The best time to hike this trail is June through October. Difficult

    Dawson Day Use Area, Alberta, Canada
  • 12. Elbow Lake

    This pretty lake is a good spot for a picnic hike. The 1.4-km (0.9-mile) one-way trail begins at the Elbow Pass Day Use Area and follows a wide road. If you're hiking, keep an eye out for mountain bikers and horses, as both are allowed to use the trail. There is a 120-meter (400-foot) elevation gain. Easy.

    Elbow Pass Day Use Area, Alberta, Canada
  • 13. Elevation Place

    Elevation Place is a great place to spend a rainy day in Canmore. There's an aquatics center, a fitness center, a huge climbing gym, and a library. 

    #100, 700 Railway Ave, Canmore, Alberta, T1W 1P4, Canada
    403-678-8920

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$8 Swim C$15 Full Facility Pass
  • 14. Flowing Water Interpretive Trail

    This 2.0-km (1.2-mile) round-trip trail passes through the montane forest above the Kananaskis River and has nice views of the mountains, the Kananaskis River, and a beaver pond. Interpretive signs describe the water cycle. Easy.

    Willow Rock Campground, Kananaskis Village, Alberta, Canada
  • 15. Fullerton Loop Trail

    This moderate 6.9-km (4.3-mile) heavily trafficked loop provides some great views. Once you're on the loop, go clockwise to enjoy a gradual incline and a slightly steeper descent. Stop frequently on the descent---elevation gain is 239 meters (784 feet)---to notice some of the amazing views. The trail does pass through some alpine farming pastures and cattle may be seen, but the wildflowers can be stunning if you're there at the right time. Moderate

    Allen Bill Day Use Area, Alberta, Canada
  • 16. Goat Creek Trail

    You'll need to pre-arrange transportation for this 19.3-km (12-mile) hike, but it gives you the unique opportunity to hike or mountain bike from Kananaskis to the Banff townsite. The trail, which begins at the north end of Spray Valley Provincial Park and follows Goat Creek for the first 9 km (5.6 miles) to its confluence with the Spray River, is relatively easy with just 150 meters (500 feet) of elevation gain. From there it follows the Spray River all the way to the grounds of the beautiful Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. Moderate.

    Goat Creek Day Use Area, Kananaskis Village, Alberta, Canada
  • 17. Grassi Lakes

    A 4.3-km (2.7-mile) round-trip trek leads to these two small blue-green lakes, above which is a popular rock-climbing area. You can choose between an easy route through the forest or a more difficult route, which passes a waterfall and has nice views of Canmore and the Bow Valley. The trailhead is about 9 km (5.6 miles) southwest of Canmore.

    Grassi Lakes Trailhead, Canmore, Alberta, Canada
  • 18. Grotto Canyon

    Situated southeast of downtown Canmore, Grotto Canyon is accessible only on foot. A waterfall and ancient pictographs are among the highlights of the popular 4.2-km (2.6-mile) round-trip hike to reach the steep canyon. Wear microspikes if you do the hike in winter.

    Grotto Canyon Trailhead, Canmore, Alberta, Canada
  • 19. Ha Ling Peak

    This peak was named in honor of a Chinese cook who won a bet that he couldn't hike to the top and make it back to town in under six hours. To this day, some people still run the steep 7.4-km (4.6-mile) trail with 748 meter (2,454-foot) elevation gain. Whether you walk or run, the views from the top are outstanding.

    Ha Ling Trailhead, Canmore, Alberta, Canada
  • 20. Heart Creek

    This easy 4-km (2.5-mile) round-trip hike is a nice walk through a gorgeous canyon along a creek with a waterfall at the end.

    Heart Creek Trailhead, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

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