Alberta Archives - Urban Outdoors



Located just a few hours away from the Canadian Rockies, the city of Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, and is considered the “Gateway to the North”. Locals are used to the cold and snow, and the city’s proximity to the mountains means there are tons of amazing options for snowboarding and skiing near Edmonton. If you’re ready to hit the slopes, check out our guide to the most epic ski resorts near Edmonton!

Incredible Ski Resorts Near Edmonton

Marmot Basin

  • Distance from Edmonton: 385km (~4 hours, 15 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Located about four hours from Edmonton, Marmot Basin is a great choice for the whole family! With 91 trails evenly split across easy to expert, there’s something for everyone. Located in Jasper National Park, enjoy incredible mountain views across the resort’s 1720 skiable acres and 3000 feet of vertical. There are 7 lifts across 5 mountain faces to choose from, as well as 2 terrain parks and diverse terrain, including groomed runs, trees, moguls, bowls and chutes. After a long day on the slopes, check out the charming mountain town of Jasper. There are tons of unique places to stay in Jasper, including this adorable suite right downtown!

Lake Louise Ski Resort

  • Distance from Edmonton: 369 km (~4 hours, 40 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Located among some of Canada’s most jaw-dropping mountains and the iconic Lake Louise, the Lake Louise Ski Resort is not to be missed if you’re looking for snowboarding  and skiing near Edmonton. The resort spans 4 mountain faces and 4200 acres, packing in 3250 feet of vertical. There are 143 marked runs to choose from, as well as back bowls and the West Bowl. There is a solid mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert runs accessible from every chair, meaning the whole family can enjoy. Stay at the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, or if you’re on a budget, check out an adorable mountain chalet.

Pro Tip: Lake Louise is part of SkiBig3, a mountain collective for ski resorts in Banff National Park. If you’re hungry for more than Louise has to offer, look at purchasing a SkiBig3 pass, which grants you access to Mt. Norquay and Sunshine Village as well.

Sunshine Village

  • Distance from Edmonton: 430 km (~4 hours, 20 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at Sunshine Mountain Lodge
  • Ability levels: All levels

Just like Lake Louise, Sunshine Village in Banff National Park is a top-quality option for snowboarding and skiing near Edmonton. Just 15 minutes from the town of Banff, Sunshine sits astride the Continental Divide in the Rockies. You can even ski in British Columbia and Alberta in the same run! With a ski season lasting from early November to late May, and 120 runs across 3300 acres, including the 12-acre Great Divide Terrain Park, Sunshine offers some of the best skiing in the Rockies. There are runs for all levels, as well as lessons and rentals. Experts can test their skills in the off-piste Delirium Dive. Stay onsite at Sunshine Mountain Lodge, or cozy up in this apartment in the town of Banff.

Mt. Norquay

  • Distance from Edmonton: 420 km (~4 hours, 15 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Located just outside the town of Banff (you can see the lights from night skiing if you look up from town!), Mt. Norquay is a favourite of Banff locals and is a great spot to hit up from Edmonton. Choose from steep terrain or gentle groomers, with 60 runs spanning 190 acres. Norquay boasts 1650 feet of vertical, 5 lifts, and a terrain park. The hill has 85% snowmaking capacity, even though being located in Banff means plenty of big dumps over the season. Make a weekend of it and book a place to stay in Banff!

Rabbit Hill Snow Resort

  • Location: 20715 57 Ave SW, Edmonton, AB
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Looking for local? Look no further! Located within Edmonton city limits, Rabbit Hill Snow Resort has more than enough winter fun to keep you busy if you want to hit the slopes after work or on the weekend. Featuring 11 runs ranging from green to black diamond, as well as 3 terrain parks, Rabbit Hill is a great ski hill near Edmonton. The resort also has a snow school, so you can get in some practice before you take on the big mountains further south. If you’re coming from out of town, check out this cute downtown condo. 

Panorama Mountain Resort

  • Distance from Edmonton: 582 km (~6hr, 15 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at many lodges, including Horsethief Lodge
  • Ability levels: All levels

For a perfect weekend getaway from Edmonton, look no further than a ski trip to Panorama Mountain Resort. Located near Invermere, BC, you’ll be rewarded for your journey with 2975 acres of terrain, 4265 feet of vertical, and 133 trails. The terrain feels endless, with plenty of easy wide groomed runs, as well as a stash of black diamond runs in Taynton Bowl, a former heli-skiing area. Choose from a multitude of slopeside lodging options, from Tamarack Condos to the Taynton Lodge, or explore Invermere from this cozy condo.

Fernie Alpine Resort

  • Distance from Edmonton: 580 km (~6hr, 15 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at many lodges, including Lizard Creek Lodge
  • Ability levels: All levels

“As steep as you want it to be”, Fernie Alpine Resort is a great choice for those looking to push their limits. The resort has 142 trails, 30% of which are advanced, as well as 5 alpine bowls and countless chutes. Beginners are more than welcome at Fernie too, with plenty of greens and blues to choose from across the resort’s 3550 feet of vertical and 2500 acres. The resort sees up to 37 feet of snow every year, making it a great spot to find fresh pow. If downhill isn’t your thing, you can also enjoy 14km of groomed cross country skiing runs. Stay slopeside at Fernie Slopeside Lodge or Lizard Creek Lodge, or get your fill of relaxed ski town vibes staying at this cool studio in town.

Sunridge Ski Area

  • Location: 10980 17 St. NW, Edmonton, AB
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

With 12 runs across 72 acres, you wouldn’t expect this Edmonton-area ski resort to have 45% advanced runs, but Sunridge Ski Area packs a punch! This ski hill inside Edmonton city limits also offers tubing, terrain parks, cross country skiing, and night skiing! Even though the ski area doesn’t quite get the same big dumps as the mountain resorts, it has 100% snowmaking capacity, so you can still enjoy going out for a rip to Sunridge over the entire season! 

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

  • Distance from Edmonton: 562 km (~6hr, 15 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at many lodges, including Palliser Lodge
  • Ability levels: All levels, but mostly advanced

The “Champagne Powder Capital of Canada”, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has epic runs and kick-ass views that just don’t quit. With 120 runs, 45% of which are advanced and 15% of which are expert, Kicking Horse is not for the faint of heart. The resort also has options to heli-ski, giving you even more ways to get your heart pounding over its 3400 acres and impressive 4314 feet of vertical. Beginners will find greens and blues to try as well, but adrenaline lovers from Edmonton will flock to this ski hill. Stay slope side at Palliser Lodge, (among other options) or relax in this incredible “eco-cabin” in the woods.

Kimberley Alpine Resort

  • Distance from Edmonton: 680 km (~7hr, 30 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at many lodges, including Timberstone Lodge
  • Ability levels: All levels

Kimberley Alpine Resort is a great option for skiing near Edmonton if you’re looking to get away from it all. The hill itself is nothing to sniff at, with 68 runs, 2465 feet of vertical, and 1800 acres of terrain. The real draw however, is the laidback and genuine feel of the resort, as well as a combination of delicious powder and a penchant towards sunny days. There’s fun for the whole family with a skating rink and night skiing, as well as the Bavarian-style downtown of the town of Kimberley. Stay slopeside or relax and retreat at this authentic cabin in the woods.

Nakiska Ski Area

  • Distance from Edmonton: 385 km (~4hr, 20 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Set in the awe-inspiring mountains of Kananaskis Country, Nakiska Ski Area is a great spot for snowboarding and skiing near Edmonton, with less crowds than bigger players like Sunshine or Louise. The ski area has 4 lifts and 2 magic carpets, with 79 trails to choose from and 2412 feet of vertical. The runs are 60% intermediate, making it a great spot for beginners wanting to improve their skills. Bonus: the ski area is close to the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge where you’ll find the famed Kananaskis Nordic Spa. You can bomb down runs all day, and treat yourself to a relaxing soak in the pools after.

Snow Valley Edmonton

  • Location: 13204 Rainbow Valley Road NW, Edmonton, AB
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

If you’re itching to get out on the hill during the week, check out Snow Valley Edmonton. The hill has 4 lifts as well as a terrain park and a halfpipe where you can practice your backside 360, and it’s close to home if you don’t have the budget for a big weekend trip to the mountains. With tons of options for lessons, including junior programs and 65+, Snow Valley is perfect for the whole family, even grandma and grandpa!

Edmonton Ski Club

  • Location: 9613 96 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: Beginner

The price is right at Edmonton Ski Club, with lift tickets for only $10! The facility has five runs: one green, three blues, and one black diamond. There is also a terrain park, tubing and lessons. The Edmonton Ski Club has partnered with Marmot Basin to offer lesson packages that include two days at the club and a full day at the hill in Jasper! The club is a perfect stepping-stone from skiing near Edmonton proper to tackling those big mountain runs, so what are you waiting for? Get shredding!

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Ski Area

  • Distance from Edmonton: 584 km (~6hr, 25 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
  • Ability levels: All levels

If the thought of spending hours on end at the hill doesn’t appeal to you, but you still want to put that ski or snowbaord gear to good use, check out the ski area at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. The hill features 12 runs, ranging from green to black diamond, as well as 2 terrain parks and a tubing park. The big draw of the ski area is that a lift ticket doubles as entry to the resort’s famed natural hot springs. Book a weekend at the resort and get the best of both worlds, a fun day on the hill and a soothing soak in the hot springs!

What You Need to Know Before Snowboarding or Skiing Near Edmonton

What to Pack:

  • Waterproof outerwear – Possibly the most critical pieces of clothing for your ski trip packing list is durable, waterproof outerwear. Burton and Helly Hansen are famous ski brands for having best-in-class clothing that will keep you warm in the coldest, snowiest conditions. Click here to shop ski jackets and compare prices.
  • Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
  • Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommend these ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list of things to pack, read our guide on What to Wear Skiing & Snowboarding and our Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List to view our full packing list and gear recommendations for the slopes!

Related Links:

There’s a reason why we strongly recommend hiking in Canmore — it’s easily one of the most overlooked places to visit in the Canadian Rockies. Out of all of the dozens of outdoor adventures in the Canadian Rockies, the Canmore and Kananaskis hikes are some of the most incredible ones in the area.

At just an hour’s drive from Calgary, Canmore and the Kananaskis Valley are some of the most beautiful and underrated areas of the Canadian Rockies. They often get overshadowed by nearby Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper National Parks. But in just 10 minutes of driving through Canmore, you’ll find similar jagged rocky peaks, stunning alpine lakes, and breezy evergreen forests.

But don’t be intimidated by the stark peaks in the area. In addition to tough summit trails, there are plenty of hikes in Canmore & the Kananaskis Valley that are suitable for people who have never set foot on a trail before, too!

To help you choose the best Kananaskis & Canmore hiking trails for your own skills and preferences, we’ve created this guide to 15 of the most beloved Canmore hikes, organized by difficulty and length. 

Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite hiker? Here’s a comprehensive list of our
35 favorite (practical) gifts for hikers, updated for 2020!

The Bow River Loop crosses through this picturesque bridge, which used to be part of the railway that ran through the Canadian Rockies.

12 Incredible Canmore & Kananaskis Hikes for All Levels

Easy Hikes in Canmore & Kananaskis

Bow River Loop

  • Distance: 2-3 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Loop
  • Estimated time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

For beginner hikers, families, or a nice, easy walk around the Canmore town area, the Bow River Loop is the perfect hike. For most hikers, this 2-3 kilometer loop can be done in less than one hour.

The Bow River Loop is a nice little trail that starts in Canmore town center, crosses the scenic Bow River Bridge and loops around along the Bow River. On the trail, you’ll catch scenic views of the town of Canmore, Mount Rundle, and the glimmering river itself.

If you’d like more information on the Bow River Loop hike, read this information page.

Grotto Canyon

  • Distance: 4.4 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Estimated time: 1.5 to 3 hours

One of the most unique hikes in Canmore, the Grotto Canyon trail is a short, easy hike that takes you through huge rock structures and canyon areas. Here, local rock climbers can often be found scaling the vertical rock faces.

After you’ve wandered past the rock climbers, you’ll hike through a boulder-filled trail and end at a waterfall, which makes for a really nice picnic spot or a scenic place to take a rest.

For more information on the specifics of the Grotto Canyon trail, read this guide.

One of the many lovely views from the Grassi Lakes trail.

Grassi Lakes

  • Distance: 4 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Estimated time: 1-2 hours

Grassi Lakes is one of Canmore’s iconic hikes and is a local favorite that’s perfect for hikers of all levels. It really brings out the best in Canmore hiking, as a family-friendly trail that offers both easy and more challenging ascents.

The trail takes you to two deep turquoise alpine lakes and a waterfall surrounded by evergreen trees. It’s a very tranquil place to go for a short morning hike.

For more information on the Grassi Lakes trail, read this short guide.

Quarry Lake

  • Distance: 3 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Loop
  • Estimated time: Less than 1 hour

This family-friendly loop trail winds around the banks of Quarry Lake, offering beautiful views across the water toward the mountains. The entire lake is surrounded by mountains and evergreen trees. In the summer, after your hike, you can also swim in the lake if the weather is warm enough!

If you’d like to read more on this hike, head to this resource page.

Yours truly on the summit of Ha Ling Peak.

Moderate Hikes in Kananaskis & Canmore

Ha Ling Peak

  • Distance: 5.3 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Estimated time: 3-4 hours

Open year-round, Ha Ling Peak is arguably one of the shortest, coolest, and most picturesque Canmore hikes. It’s on the shorter end of the hikes in Canmore, at less than 6 kilometers out and back.

But don’t let Ha Ling Peak’s short trail distance fool you: the hike is actually quite difficult, as you’ll ascend well over 800 meters in less than 3 kilometers. The peak itself rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views of the Bow Valley below.

Lady MacDonald

  • Distance: 9 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Estimated time: 4-6 hours

This hike, named after a tea house that was never actually built, is a gorgeous trail that has beautiful views start to finish. One of the more popular hikes in Canmore, this moderately difficult hike is a perfect half-day adventure for hikers looking for a bit of a challenge and the reward of stunning photogenic viewpoints.

For more information about the Lady MacDonald hike, read the full guide on 10Adventures.

Chester Lake

  • Distance: 10 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Estimated time: 1.5-3 hours

For a challenging but accessible hike for beginners, Chester Lake is a fantastic trail that leads out to a picturesque evergreen-rimmed lake. The trail is largely through forests and trees, until you arrive at the lake, which has turquoise water and is surrounded by snowy mountains.

This guide can help you find the trailhead and learn more about what to expect on the hike.

Galatea Creek to Lillian Lake

  • Distance: 14 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Estimated time: 4 to 6 hours

A nice, challenging but doable hike for beginners, this trail takes you from Galatea Creek to the gorgeous Lillian Lake. On the way, you’ll pass through stunning valleys and over a picturesque wooden bridge. Lillian Lake is a tranquil, deep turquoise lake surrounded by a rocky shore, pine forests, and vertical rock faces.

Difficult Kananaskis & Canmore Hikes

Mount Yamnuska

  • Distance: 11 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Loop
  • Estimated time: 6+ hours

By far, Mount Yamnuska is one of my favorite adrenaline-pumping, muscle-throbbing hikes in ALL of Canada! This 11-kilometer trail takes you through an evergreen forest, up a steep rocky scramble, around a chain cliffhanger (seriously), and up to the summit of this iconic Canmore peak.

It’s a whopping 900+ meters of elevation gain, so be ready for some SERIOUS uphills and downhills if you choose to tackle this one.

Heart Mountain Horseshoe

  • Distance: 11 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Loop
  • Estimated time: 6+ hours

I haven’t actually hiked this one, but I’ve heard awesome things about it from friends back in Calgary. This is a moderate to difficult trail that involves a bit of rock scrambling towards the top. The views from the trail and the summit are said to be absolutely incredible, sweeping down below to the valley and the highway below.

Read this guide for more information and photos about the Heart Mountain Horseshoe hike.

Centennial Ridge to Mount Allan 

  • Distance: 16 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Estimated time: 8 to 10 hours

This summit trail is a challenging hike that eventually rewards you with some of the most incredible views in Canmore and Kananaskis. You’ll hike up a steep ascent, to a ridge overlooking the valleys and fellow peaks nearby.

Here’s a complete guide to Centennial Ridge to Mount Allan.

Smutwood Peak

  • Distance: 17.9 kilometers
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Estimated time: 6 to 8 hours

Easily one of the most beautiful summit views in the entire Canmore area, Smutwood Peak’s trail isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll hike, you’ll scramble, and you’ll gawk and the stunning, stunning views of the ridge and the alpine lakes and valleys below.

While it’s best to do this in the summer or fall, you can tackle the hike as early as spring with the proper equipment.

Here’s a great guide to Smutwood Peak that details a bit more about the route itself.

Know Before You Go: Tips for Hiking in Canmore & Kananaskis

Things to Know Before Traveling in Canmore 

While traveling in Canmore is pretty straightforward, there are a few things you should know to help plan your trip:

  • Canmore is a year round destination! While most people flock to Canmore in the summer months (July through August), there are things to do here all year. In the summer, there are hiking and camping opportunities (like this ones in this post), while in the winter, there are amazing places to try snow sports.
  • Wildlife is rampant in Canmore. Chances are, if you’re in Canmore for any significant amount of time, you’ll run into some wildlife. We’re talking anything from chipmunks to grizzly bears. When hiking, always bring bear spray with you and walk with a buddy or a group to protect yourself. And, of course, DO NOT FEED OR APPROACH ANY WILDLIFE. EVER.
  • There can be ice and snow on the trails year round. Just because the weather is nice outside does not mean that the trails are free and clear of ice. If you’re hiking outside of June-September, it’s a good idea to bring over-the-boot crampons and sturdy trekking poles for extra support, and don’t be afraid to cancel a hike or turn around if conditions aren’t optimal.

Additional Canadian Rockies Travel Resources