48 hours in… Canmore
By Laura Gelder – April 2021 – 2 minute read
Perched on the edge of Alberta’s Kananaskis, a region of gorgeous snow-capped mountains and vivid lakes, Canmore is a great base for two days, says Laura Gelder
Day 1: Nature & Art
Morning: Head to Harvest Café for an early breakfast. It’s a Canmore local favourite famous for its fresh cinnamon buns. Enjoy one with a coffee and take one to go in case you get hungry on the hike. Grassi Lakes is a moderate hike with great views of Canmore, plus a waterfall, and two emerald-green lakes. The trailhead is located south of the Canmore Nordic Centre and is a gentle 2.5 loop that’s perfect for families.
Afternoon: The award-winning Crazyweed Restaurant has an innovative approach to food and describes itself as a ‘fancy, not-so-fancy Canmore dining experience’ which welcomes hikers in their gear. It serves up classics like fish and chips along with some creative pizzas and healthy Buddha bowls.
Open year round, Canmore Cave Tours take visitors for a natural history tour of the Rat’s Nest Cave, under Grotto Mountain. This huge cave system was created by the melt waters of ancient glaciers. Crawl past prehistoric bones, ancient rock formations and the Grotto - with its clear pool and walls covered in stalactites and stalagmites.
Experience the landscape through the eyes of Indigenous Visual Artist Jason Carter at the Carter-Ryan Gallery. Visitors can take home a slice of Canmore’s dramatic scenery in the form of a bright painting or bold soapstone sculpture.
Day 2: Flights of fancy and beer
Morning: Grab some fresh, chewy bagels at Rocky Mountain Bagel Co, spread with homemade cream cheeses and paired with locally roasted coffee.
Next, get a bird’s eye perspective of the Rockies. Alpine Helicopters and Kananaskis Helicopters both offer spectacular helitours which fly up to the Three Sisters Peaks above Canmore, along the Sundance Range of Banff National Park past mountain peaks, alpine meadows and pristine lakes and above Mount Assiniboine to see the tumbling ice of the Gloria Glacier.
Come back down to earth for a beer with a lunch and tasting at Grizzly Paw, Canmore’s local brewery and pub. Opened in 1996, The Paw is a popular local hang-out and famous for its microbrews and handcrafted sodas like root beer and orange cream soda. Try the Powder Hound Pilser or the Rutting Elk Red, or enjoy a flight and taste a little bit of every brew
Afternoon: Walk off lunch and discover Canmore’s eclectic collection of galleries and shops - most of which are owned and operated by friendly locals. Downtown Canmore is bordered by the Bow River, an emerald-green, fast-paced river with stunning views of Mount Rundle, an old railroad bridge, and the Three Sisters Mountain Range. The Bow River Loop Walk only takes 25 minutes.