Canada Archives - Urban Outdoors
Tag

Canada

Browsing

Quebec City is a gorgeous spot – cobblestoned lanes, French-inspired bistros, and castles galore. It also gets pretty cold and snowy in the wintertime, perfect skiing weather! Even though the east side of Canada isn’t known for its mountains, there are still tons of epic spots to go snowboarding and skiing near Quebec City. Check out our guide for the best ski resorts near Quebec City, and get to shredding!

Quebec City in winter

Beautiful Skiing Near Quebec City

Mont Tremblant

  • Distance from Quebec City: 366km (~3 hours, 50 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, many options
  • Ability levels: All levels

One of Quebec’s premier ski resorts, a trip to Mont Tremblant is a perfect weekend getaway from Quebec City. Sitting at a summit of 875 metres, the resort’s 102 trails across 755 acres see some of Quebec’s best snow. The mountain also boasts an impressive 1200 snow cannons, for incredible skiing all season long. There is a huge variety of trails and difficulties, so the whole family can enjoy a day at the hill. After, you can wander the European-style village to find delicious restaurants and charming boutiques. Stay slopeside at one of the many accommodations offered by the resort, or check out this incredible condo that is right close the chairlift!

mont tremblant village

Le Massif

  • Distance from Quebec City: 95km (~1 hour, 10 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at the Chalet-Forets
  • Ability levels: All levels

If you’re looking to get your heart pounding, check out Le Massif, the hill with the highest vertical drop east of the Rockies. This gorgeous spot for skiing near Quebec City features incredible views of the St. Lawrence River as you make your way down 2526 feet of vertical spread out over 53 trails. The trails are a pretty even mix of easy, intermediate and difficult, so there’s something for everyone. The resort also offers nordic skiing, alpine touring and dog sledding. Stay at one of the modern accommodations onsite, or at this gorgeous cottage.

Owl’s Head

  • Distance from Quebec City: 290km (~3 hours)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at Hotel Mtn Haus
  • Ability levels: All levels

Owl’s Head is a great option if you’re looking to get away from the city and relax in nature. It has 50 trails with a solid mix of greens, blues, and blacks. The resort spans 125 acres of skiable terrain and 540m of vertical. The main draw is the stunning panorama of Lake Memphremagog in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec. Enjoy beautiful views while you ski down pristine terrain. Stay at the gorgeous Hotel Mtn Haus, or this convenient ski-in ski-out condo.

Stoneham Mountain Resort

  • Distance from Quebec City: 44km (~0 hours, 20 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at Hotel Stoneham
  • Ability levels: All levels

Just 20 minutes down the road, Stoneham Mountain Resort is a great choice for snowboarding and skiing near Quebec City. In less than an hour you can access 1132 feet of vertical, and trails evenly spread across all levels. There are 43 runs open, 19 of which stay open for night skiing, as well as three terrain parks and an Olympic half-pipe. Stay at the conveniently located Hotel Stoneham, or check out this cozy cabin in the woods.

Les Sommets

  • Distance from Quebec City: 310km (~3 hours, 5 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at the Manoir Saint-Sauveur
  • Ability levels: All levels

With 5 ski hills, 28 lifts, and 156 trails, there’s something for everyone at les Sommets. The Quebec ski industry was founded here in the town of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, and the tradition continues today with all 5 hills branching off from the quaint village. Some of Quebec’s best skiing can be found here, as well as tubing, ski schools, and even a water park! Stay in the Manoir Saint-Sauveur or this gorgeous condo, steps from the village.

Mont-Sainte-Anne

  • Distance from Quebec City: 42km (~0 hours, 30 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, many options
  • Ability levels: Mostly intermediate

With only 21% easy trails, Mont-Sainte-Anne is a great resort to check out if you’re looking for something a little more challenging. The resort has 71 runs open across 547 acres, with 2050 feet of vertical. The resort also has two terrain parks, one for beginners and one for intermediates. The MSA Snowpark is considered one of the best rail parks in the province. The best part is, the resort is only 30 minutes from downtown, making it a great option for skiing near Quebec City. Stay at one of the many resort lodges, or check out a convenient ski-in-ski-out condo.

Mont Blanc

  • Distance from Quebec City: 357km (~3 hours, 30 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at the Mont Blanc Hotel and Condos
  • Ability levels: All levels

A hidden gem close to Mont Tremblant, Mont Blanc is a great place for a weekend getaway. The resort has 43 trails and 2 terrain parks, with some of the best snow in the Laurentians. Compared to the more popular Mont Tremblant, you can also expect smaller crowds and lift lines. Score! Stay slopeside or check out this cozy condo.

Le Relais

  • Distance from Quebec City: 19km (~0 hours, 15 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Le Relais is located just 15 minutes outside of downtown, making it one of the most convenient options for skiing near Quebec City! It has 735 feet of vertical and 27 runs, split fairly evenly across greens, blues, and blacks. They also offer night skiing, perfect for getting in a few runs after school or work. 

Mont Sutton

  • Distance from Quebec City: 275km (~3 hours, 15 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Have it your way at Mont Sutton, a gorgeous ski hill in the Eastern Townships. The hill has 204 junctions across 60 trails, so you can make your way down the mountain at whatever pace suits you best. Nature is the name of the game at Mont Sutton as well, with 45% of all trails considered glades, even greens and blues. There are no overnight accommodations on the hill, but plenty of options in town.

Bromont Montagne

  • Distance from Quebec City: 233km (~2 hours, 45 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? Yes, at Hotel Chateau Bromont
  • Ability levels: All levels

With 450 acres of skiable terrain across 7 different hills, there’s something for everyone at Bromont. The resort offers 141 trails, 101 of which are illuminated for night skiing. Bromont also offers 4 alpine hiking trails, 6 terrain parks, and a renowned ski school. With 1500 snow cannons ready to go, you can enjoy smooth sailing all season long. Stay at the foot of the hill at Hotel Chateau Bromont or check out this adorable chalet.

Mont-Orford Ski Resort

  • Distance from Quebec City: 260.5km (~2 hours, 40 minutes)
  • Accommodation on site? No
  • Ability levels: All levels

Another great option for skiing near Quebec City is Mont Orford. Just five minutes from the highway, enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding lakes and mountains as you cruise down the slopes. The hill has 44 trails and 589 feet of vertical, as well as 3 terrain parks. Make a weekend of it and stay in the heart of the National Park. There are no accommodations on the hill, but lots of options nearby, like this modern chalet.

All the Details You Need to Know Before Snowboarding or Skiing Near Quebec City

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:

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:

If you’re looking for the ultimate city for outdoor adventures, Vancouver is a top contender. This coastal city in British Columbia has a wonderful blend of the urban experience and the natural environment. Hiking in Vancouver is one of the best ways to get outside and see all of the rugged, wild nature that this region of Canada has to offer! From evergreen forests to crashing waterfalls, sweeping mountaintops to the calm seaside, Vancouver offers a diverse set of outdoor experiences for hikers of all levels. We created this guide to the best hikes near Vancouver to help you plan your next outdoor adventure!

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!

Photo Credit: Colin Knowles (Flickr CC)

Easy Hikes in Vancouver

Stanley Park Seawall

  • Trail Length: 10 kilometers
  • Location: Stanley Park, Vancouver

Located off the coast of Vancouver, the Stanley Park Seawall trail is easily one of the most scenic spots for hiking in Vancouver proper. Stanley Park is a formerly indigenous area of Vancouver, which features large, rocky cliffs and evergreen forests. The Seawall Trail runs around the perimeter of the park (bordering the coastline) and is a popular spot for locals to go running, biking, and walking. For one of the most convenient and accessible hikes in Vancouver for all levels of hikers, the Stanley Park Seawall is a great place to start.

Lighthouse Park

  • Trail Length: Varies
  • Location: West Vancouver

If you’re in the mood for a nautical hike, the trails at Lighthouse Park are a wonderful and easy way to explore this historic area. Unsurprisingly, this trail system boasts views of a historic lighthouse, as well as local plant and wildlife and views of the rocky shoreline of Vancouver. Locals especially love this park for hiking in Vancouver because it’s family-friendly and dog-friendly, meaning that you can bring the whole crew along to enjoy the lighthouse and the tranquil seaside vibes!

Photo Credit: GotoVan (Flickr CC)

Quarry Rock

  • Trail Length: 3.7 kilometers
  • Location: Cove Forest (northwest Vancouver)

Arguably the most popular of the easy hikes near Vancouver, Quarry Rock offers tremendously beautiful views to hikers of all levels. It’s definitely popular for a reason – you’ll get to see bird’s eye views over the water to the lush, forested areas surrounding Vancouver. We’d strongly recommend starting this hike early or going on a weekday, as it is one of the most crowded hikes in the area due to its easy trails and beautiful views.

Photo Credit: sharkhats (Flickr CC)

Lynn Canyon

  • Trail Length: 1.9 kilometers
  • Location: Northern Vancouver

A family-friendly trail near the north side of Vancouver, Lynn Canyon is one of the best hikes in Vancouver for beginners and less experienced hikers. It’s also great for people seeking beautiful, unique views, with a stunning 157′ suspension bridge that catches the eye of many artists and photographers in the Vancouver area. Along the way, you’ll find waterfalls, gorges, and thick evergreen forests. The trail is only 1.9 kilometers, perfect for a short, easy hike that’s not far at all from the center of Vancouver.

Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut (Flickr CC)

Killarney Lake Loop

  • Trail Length: 7.9 kilometers
  • Location: Bowen Island

For an easy, scenic trail through the forest that boasts some particularly stunning views of Killarney Lake, the Killarney Lake Loop is a fantastic hike for all levels. This trail combines dirt trails with scenic boardwalks through the tropical forest and along the waterfront, perfect for misty days or those times when shade would be best. Don’t be fooled by the easy terrain on the trail – the views from the trail are absolutely incredible, with views across the lake to the surrounding mountains.

Dog Mountain

  • Trail Length: 4.5 kilometers
  • Location: Mount Seymour Provincial Park

If it’s an alpine-type environment you’re looking for, Dog Mountain offers bird’s eye views and evergreen forests to hikers of all levels. It’s the perfect place to go hiking near Vancouver for families or those wanting an easy, short trail. Bridges and trails will lead you through shady, forested areas and to some really stunning views of the surrounding forests and mountains. On clear days, you can see out to the water and the islands nearby.

Photo Credit: Michael Dorausch (Flickr CC)

Norvan Falls

  • Trail Length: 16.7 kilometer
  • Location: North Vancouver

For a day-long adventure on an easy-to-hike trail, Norvan Falls is a fantastic hike for all levels of experience. You’ll meander through the forest and pass by gorgeous waterfalls, with beautiful mossy tree trunks scattered between waterways.. While it’s lengthier than the other easy hikes at 16.7 kilometers, the trail itself is flat, easy and scenic. If you’re looking for the best day hikes in Vancouver, Norvan Falls will definitely give you and your fellow hikers a long, fun, and accessible adventure.

Photo Credit: Giuseppe Milo (via Flickr CC)

Moderate Hikes Near Vancouver

Joffre Lakes

  • Trail Length: 7.7 kilometers
  • Location: Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

While it’s 2.5 hours from the city, we couldn’t write a guide to hiking near Vancouver without listing one of the area’s most iconic hikes – Joffre Lakes. You’ve probably seen this hike all over landscape photographers’ Instagram accounts, as it has grown significantly in popularity over the last few years. With its turquoise waters, shady evergreens, and stunning snow-capped mountains, this moderately difficult hike packs a punch in terms of photogenic spots to go hiking in the Coast Mountains.

St. Marks Summit

  • Trail Length: 10.8 kilometers
  • Location: Cypress Provincial Park

Seaside cliff views meet foggy forests at St. Marks Summit, a moderately difficult trail located in Northwest Vancouver. Getting to the summit will take you through quintessential Pacific Northwest terrain, with tall evergreens and moss-covered trunks. Once you get to the top, you can hike out to the rocky outcroppings and see views of the islands off the bay, which is especially beautiful in the early morning or late afternoon. If you want to see the views, however, go hiking on a day that is clear – otherwise, you’ll be greeted with thick clouds and fog from the top.

Photo Credit: Brodie Guy (Flickr CC)

Elfin Lakes

  • Trail Length: 20.1 kilometers
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Beloved by locals for short backpacking trips, the Elfin Lakes trip is one of the most visually stunning moderate hikes in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. At 20.1 kilometers, it’s very long, but local hikers typically split that over the course of 2-3 days. Unlike some of the summit hikes on our list, Elfin Lakes boasts sweeping views of the surrounding mountains almost all the way throughout. If you don’t want to camp in one of the many campsites, you can stay at the Elfin Lakes shelter, a bunk house for backpackers run by BC parks ($15/person per night).

Mount Cheam

  • Trail Length: 7.7 kilometers
  • Location: Bridal Veil Falls Park

Mount Cheam is one of the few moderately difficult summit hikes in Vancouver that will take you above the tree line, rewarding you with breathtaking views of some of the rocky, bare peaks in the region. While there is an uphill, it’s fairly gradual and accessible to less experienced hikers who are ready to work! This hike is best done on clear days, where you can see the exceptional views of the mountains nearby. Note that this trail is quite exposed, so be prepared for the potential of direct sun and strong wind. You’ll also need a 4×4 to access the trail head.

Mount Seymour

  • Trail Length: 8.2 kilometers
  • Location: Mount Seymour Provincial Park

If you want to bag not one, not two, but three peaks in one hike, the Mount Seymour trail is the perfect (and not too difficult) way to do so. The views from these rocky peaks are second to none, with sweeping panoramas of the sea and the surrounding mountains on clear days. With a gradual incline leading hikers up 570 meters of elevation gain, it’s not too difficult but will definitely work your legs on the ascent. The rewards at the top are absolutely worth the effort!

Photo Credit: Sathish J (Flickr CC)

Difficult Hikes Near Vancouver

Panorama Ridge

  • Trail Length: 28.3 miles
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Not for the faint of heart, the Panorama Ridge hike is one of the longest and most challenging day hikes in Vancouver and the nearby areas, but is also one of the most iconic. At nearly 30 kilometers, this hike will take a full day (likely 11 hours or more) or require an overnight stay at one of the trail’s campsites. Given its length and 1,540 meter elevation gain, this trail takes experienced, adventurous hikers through all of the essential Vancouver landscapes – foggy, mossy forests, alpine lakes, and of course, rocky peaks. From the top, on clear days, you’ll be rewarded with one of the the absolute best views in the entire Vancouver region.

Garibaldi Lake

  • Trail Length: 21 kilometers
  • Location: Lexington, KY

If you’re looking for a slightly shorter hike than Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Lake is a fantastic alternative. This 21-kilometer difficult hike is one of the most popular spots for camping and hiking near Vancouver. This scenic trail will take you through the pine forests and pas waterfalls and scenic viewpoints, before the beautiful finale at the scenic and incredibly gorgeous Garibaldi Lake.

You can choose to hang out here and hike back down or spend a night at the neighboring campsite. At the lake, you’ll find turquoise blue waters and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains in the park. There’s a reason why Garibaldi Lake is such a popular trail – it is an absolutely incredible (and challenging) hike!

Photo Credit: Lisa (Flickr CC)

Black Tusk

  • Trail Length: 25.9 kilometers
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Another popular trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park, Black Tusk is visible from many of the other peaks in the area (including Panorama Ridge). As a strenuous, challenging hike, this one definitely isn’t for beginners or those who haven’t experienced alpine hiking before. It’s also a popular spot for a 2-3 day backpacking trip, as there are several campsites along the way. Be sure to bring snow shoes or crampons as the trail usually gets snowy and icy in the winter and shoulder seasons. In the summertime, be prepared to scramble up loose rock the last 2 kilometers. Your hard work will be rewarded by a a 360 degree view of Garibaldi lake, Shark’s Fin, and Mt. Garibaldi.

Crown Mountain

  • Trail Length: 8.9 kilometers
  • Location: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park

The trail up to Crown Mountain is a challenging trek that will test your determination and your ankles. What makes this hike especially difficult is the steep hike down to Crown Pass before another steep ascent to the true summit of Crown Mountain, meaning you effectively climb up the mountain twice each way. Be prepared for loos gravel and scrambling with the air of bolted chains. Your view at the top lets you see the gorgeous Capilano Watershed area, and, on an especially clear day, the city of Vancouver in the distance. Hikers can take the Grouse Mountain Skyride up part of the way. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, the Grouse Grind, BCMC Trail, and Hanes Valley trail can all be added on to the start of your summit trek.

Photo Credit: Jay Huang (Flickr CC)

Grouse Grind

  • Trail Length: 2.9 kilometers
  • Location: Grouse Mountain Park

The Grouse Grind is a popular hiking destination located within the borders of Vancouver. Sitting at just under 3 kilometers, this trail takes hikers up a stone and wooden staircase 780 meters to the top of Grouse Mountain. Set aside about 1.5 to 2 hours for this hike. It’s recommended to take the Grouse Mountain Gondola down (free trip downhill) to keep the trail safe from loose gravel pelting down on the ascending hikers. This trail can get crowded during the busy season. At the top of the mountain are cafes, restaurants, and bars, offering a delicious reward to the hikers that finish the grind.

The Lions

  • Trail Length: 12.4 kilometers
  • Location: Lions Bay

An iconic landmark overlooking the Howe Sound, the Lions are two twin peaks north of Vancouver. This 4 hour trail will take you to the ridge of the Lions. Here, you’ll catch stunning views of the Howe Sound and the North Shore mountains. Most of the hike is a steady incline up a gravel path. You’ll pass over a bridge which will be your last chance to refill your water before the top. The “heads” of the Lions are climbable, but they require extensive scrambling and straight-up bouldering. Do NOT attempt without a buddy or if you are afraid of heights.

Photo Credit: ActiveSteve (Flickr CC)

Golden Ears Trail

  • Trail Length: 21.7 kilometers
  • Location: Golden Ears Provincial Park

One of the most epic hikes near Vancouver, Golden Ears trail takes you up to the northern summit of the mountain. This trek is perfect for backpackers, as there are several campsites located within the park, as well as 6 tent platforms near the peak. Panoramic views of Pitt Lake wait at the end of the hike. We wouldn’t recommend this trail to any beginner hikers as the route is very technical. Additionally, the elevation gain means unpredictable climate. There’s an emergency shelter located near the top for hikers who get stranded by bad weather.

Photo Credit: Simon Morris (Flickr CC)

Stawamus Chief

  • Trail Length: 6.1 kilometers
  • Location: Stawamus Chief Park

A classic hike near Vancouver, the Stawamus Chief is a trail that takes hikers up one of the three peaks of this picturesque mountain. This trail is mostly wooden stairs and can get a bit crowded during the summer months. Ascending to the first peak requires climbing a metal ladder.More experienced hikers have the option to ascend all three peaks, adding about 5 kilometers to the trek. This option requires a lot of elevation change but will offer three unique perspectives and views of the Howe Sound and the town of Squamish below.

Photo Credit: JayCWSee (Flickr CC)

Wedgemount Lake

  • Trail Length: 10.3 kilometers
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Wedgemount Lake is a gorgeous alpine lake located within Garibaldi Provincial park. This hike is known as one of the most challenging trails in the park, partly due to its steep elevation gain. The trail will initially take you through an old forest and some moderate switchbacks. Eventually, you’ll reach a viewpoint looking out at the 300 meter tall Wedgemount Waterfall. Once you cross the treeline, you’ll scramble up to the British Columbia Mountaineering Club hut. The end of the trail is a short distance further, offering spectacular views of glaciers and Wedgemount Lake, which is known for its radiant turquoise blue color.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Vancouver

What to Pack for Hiking in Vancouver

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

Related Links


Known for its massive Stampede and its proximity to the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is a beautiful city that’s perfect for outdoor lovers. Hiking in Calgary is a fantastic (and cheap!) way to enjoy nature in and around the city. Within a few hours’ drive, you can have access to stunning mountaintops, flower-filled meadows, desert-like canyonlands, and evergreen forests. No matter what kind of trail you’re looking for, you can find a place to go hiking near Calgary that will take your breath away! We wrote this guide with 17 of the most beautiful hikes in and near Calgary for all levels – beginners to advanced enthusiasts – so you can plan your next adventure!

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!

Easy Hikes Near Calgary

Bow River Pathway & Prince Island

  • Trail Distance: Up to 48 kilometers total (5 kilometer loop near Prince Island)
  • Location: Downtown Calgary

While there are several short urban hikes in Calgary, our favorite trail by far is the Bow River Pathway. Running for a total of 48 kilometers along the Bow River through the heart of the city, this is one of the most popular trails for running, biking, and hiking in Calgary. With mostly paved, flat trails, this trail is accessible for all levels of hikers.

As you stroll, you can see people fishing or kayaking in the Bow River, epic skyline views of the city, and you’ll even pass by Calgary’s famous bright red Peace Bridge. We’d highly recommend the Prince Island area of the Bow River Pathway if you want a nice blend of nature and city elements along your hike.

Photo Credit: necopunch (Flickr CC)

Grassi Lakes

  • Trail Distance: 4.3 kilometers
  • Location: Canmore, AB (Trailhead GPS: 51.08105, -115.39472)

Located in nearby Canmore, Grassi Lakes is one of the most popular easy hikes near Calgary and is a scenic, fun choice for hikers of all levels. While the trail does include an ascent, which is gradual and involves some stair climbing, the rewards at the top are excellent. You’ll see beautiful views of Ha Ling Peak, as well as the deep turquoise lakes below. If you’re looking for a wonderful, family-friendly spot for hiking (that isn’t too far off the beaten path), Grassi Lakes is a short and fantastic option.

Grotto Canyon

  • Trail Distance: 4 kilometers
  • Location: Grotto Mountain Provincial Recreation Area

As another one of the more well-known hikes near Calgary, 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.

Photo Credit: Sabrina Setaro (Flickr CC)

Horseshoe Canyon

  • Trail Distance: 2.9 kilometers
  • Location: Kneehill County (Trailhead GPS: 51.41554, -112.88567)

At less than 1.5 hours from Calgary, Horseshoe Canyon may be one of the most unique spots for hiking near Calgary. With striated rock formations and plateaus, this strange landscape is located near the Canadian Badland. Instead of the common alpine landscapes of the nearby Canadian Rockies, you’ll find a much drier, desert-like landscape at Horseshoe Canyon. Pair a morning hike here with a trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park for a wonderful outdoor getaway near Calgary!

Troll Falls

  • Trail Distance: 3.4 kilometers
  • Location: Kananaskis County, AB (Trailhead GPS: 50.9364, -115.14133)

Known for being a fantastic family-friendly option, Troll Falls is located just over an hour from Calgary and is a great waterfall hike for all levels, including children. It’s just 3.4 kilometers, meaning you can pair it with other hikes in the Kananaskis area or simply take your time along the way. With dirt paths through the forest that lead hikers to a towering waterfall, it’s a nice, short, accessible option for hiking near Calgary. If you choose to hike in the winter, don’t forget to wear microspikes for safety!

Photo Credit: L F (Flickr CC)

Johnston Canyon

  • Trail Distance: 5 kilometers
  • Location: Banff National Park

Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular hikes near Calgary, and it’s easy to see why. Waterfalls meet narrow stone gorges with a raging turquoise river in this beautiful and easy cliffside trail, which is perfect for solo hikers, couples and families of all hiking levels. This Banff hike is unique because it consists of a series of cliffside metal bridges that take you through this stunning canyon…no uphills necessary!

There are a few different options for this hike, including a short version that takes hikers right up to the Lower Falls (the first set of falls), or the longer version that extends all the way through the Upper Falls to the “Ink Pots,” a colorful phenomenon that occurs in these natural pools in Banff National Park. If you want to avoid the crowds (and yes, this trail does get crowded), be sure to get started hiking early in the morning.

Ha Ling Peak glows in the distance. Photo Credit: Darren Tennant (Flickr CC)

Moderate Hikes Near Calgary

Ha Ling Peak

  • Trail Distance: 8 kilometers
  • Location: Canmore, AB

Open year-round, Ha Ling Peak is arguably one of the popular and most picturesque moderate hikes near Calgary. It’s on the shorter end of the hikes in Canmore, at 8 kilometers out and back. But don’t let Ha Ling Peak’s distance fool you – the hike is actually decently challenging, as you’ll ascend well over 800 meters one way in about 4 kilometers.

The peak itself rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views of the Bow Valley below, as well as nearby East End of Rundle and Lady MacDonald peaks. As this trail is among the most popular day hikes near Calgary, we’d recommend starting very early to find parking and beat the crowds (plus catch the early morning alpenglow on the mountains!).

Photo Credit: Terry Lawson (Flickr CC)

Ptarmigan Cirque

  • Trail Distance: 4.3 kilometers
  • Location: Kananaskis County, AB

For gorgeous mountain views in a glacier-carved cirque, the Ptarmigan Cirque trail is a fantastic, moderate trail for hiking near Calgary. Beloved by locals, this trail is fairly short, but has a lot of variety to offer along its gradual slopes. You’ll pass by jaw-dropping views of the surrounding peaks, tiny waterfalls in the rocks, and lots of beautiful wooded areas. This trail is especially beautiful in the fall, when the larches turn orange and bright yellow amidst the blue backdrop of the mountains.

Photo Credit: nucksfan604 (Flickr CC)

Plain of Six Glaciers

  • Trail Distance: 15 kilometers
  • Location: Banff National Park (Park at Lake Louise)

As one of the most popular trails for hiking in Banff National Park, the longer, more difficult (and arguably more beautiful) sister of the Lake Agnes Tea House hike is the Plain of Six Glaciers trail. Rocky, winding dirt trails take hikers from the crowded shores of Lake Louise into secluded getaways deep in the Rocky Mountains. In our opinion, this is one of the most spectacular hiking trails in Banff National Park, and we’d recommend doing this one if you’ve got limited time in the park.

Visitors can expect to see beautiful, towering glaciers, craggy mountain peaks, and scenic passes through the wilderness. In the summer, hikers can stop for a quick rest at the Plain of Six Glaciers tea house, where they serve hot beverages and snacks for passers-by.

But before descending back down the way you came, be sure to stop by Abbots Pass for some of the most jaw-dropping views in the park.

How to get there: Park in the Lake Louise parking lot, pass the Chateau Lake Louise, and take the trail head that begins to the right of the lake at the edge of the forest. Once you are there, you will see signs to the Plain of Six Glaciers hike (it’s the same one as the Lake Agnes Trail).

Hoo Doo Trail

  • Trail Distance: 3.5 kilometers
  • Location: Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park

Try not to get too confused: there are several hikes in Alberta called the Hoo Doo Trail, but the one we’re talking about is in Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park. With 3.5 kilometers of pathways through the strange, eerie “hoodoo” rock formations of the park, you’ll see why this trail is one of the most notable hikes in Calgary and the surrounding areas. The drier terrain in this area of Alberta is a welcome change to the otherwise evergreen, alpine scenery farther north.

Photo Credit: mark goble (Flickr CC)

East End of Rundle (EEOR)

  • Trail Distance: 5.6 kilometers
  • Location: Canmore, AB

One of our personal favorite hikes near Calagary is East End of Rundle, lovingly called EEOR by locals. This moderate to difficult hike isn’t for the faint of heart – while it’s not too technical, you’ll certainly need to use your hands and do some scrambling to reach the summit, especially once you’ve cleared the tree line. However, along the way, you’ll see beautiful views of the Bow Valley, nearby Ha Ling Peak, and the surrounding mountains.

Note that there are a few false trails that stray away from the main area – be sure to take note of your surroundings and make sure you follow the same pathway down from the top of the mountain as you did when you ascended.

Resting on a rock after completing the chain course on the Mount Yamnuska Trail

Difficult Hikes Near Calgary

Mount Yamnuska

  • Trail Distance: 11 kilometers
  • Location: Bow Valley Provincial Park

By far, Mount Yamnuska is one of our favorite adrenaline-pumping, muscle-throbbing hikes in Calgary and the surrounding areas. Known as the “gateway to the Canadian Rockies,” 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.

Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Pass

  • Trail Distance: 17.5 kilometers
  • Location: Banff National Park

One of the most incredible day hikes near Calgary, Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Pass is a challenging but memorable hike to tackle. Located in Banff National Park, his full-day hike brings you to some of the best landscapes in the park, including many peaceful, secluded lakes, and panoramic views of the park.

Although this is the longest challenging hike on our list, it’s well worth the effort for a full day of adventuring through alpine trails and forests.

Throughout the hike, you might see some wildlife, including little chubby marmots (that we thought were adorable!). You’ll pass through Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Lake, both perfect places for a snack or a break. You also have the option of summiting Mount Bourgeau, although it is definitely a difficult scramble!

Photo Credit: Andres Alvarado (Flickr CC)

Mount Lady MacDonald

  • Trail Distance: 9.9 kilometers
  • Location: Canmore, AB

The Mount Lady MacDonald hike, named after the wife of the first Prime Minister of Canada, is a challenging trail that has breathtaking views start to finish. We definitely would not recommend this hike for beginners, but experienced hikers will absolutely have a blast. You’ll walk through evergreen forests, past a heli-pad, and all the way up to the rocky, scree-filled summit. Be prepared for some wind! We’d strongly recommend trekking poles for this one, as there are a lot of difficult ascents where they could come in handy.

Smutwood Peak

  • Trail Distance: 17.9 kilometers
  • Location: Kananaskis County

Easily one of the most beautiful summit views near Calgary, 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. Definitely not for the faint of heart, this long but vastly beautiful trail is best for experienced hikers who have already summited other peaks in the area. This hike is best to do in the summer or fall, when the snow has mostly melted.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Calgary

What to Pack for Hikes in Calgary

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

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