Calgary comes to life in summer! While the city is brimming with exciting things to do, its close proximity to the Rocky Mountains means Calgary is an ideal base for both outdoor enthusiasts and city lovers looking for an adventure in the outdoors.
The Top 8 Best Things to Do in Canmore This Winter
Nestled between the hustle and bustle of urban Calgary and the quaint tourist-destination of Banff is a little, cozy town called Canmore. Haven’t heard of it? That’s okay! We’re here to tell you about this amazing winter destination.
From a bumpin’ local community to an expanding tourism industry focused on responsible travel (check out our Adventures supporting local economy), here’s the inside scoop on things to see, do, eat and more. Canmore is a gorgeous destination in spring, summer and fall, but in winter this magical town is the perfect place to experience a true Canadian winter.
Read on and let us show you the top 8 best things to in Canmore, Alberta this winter.
Things to See in Canmore
The Main Drag
Spend some time getting acquainted with Canmore by wandering the downtown.
Loaded with quirky shops and places for delicious caffeination, this street will keep you occupied for a few hours. Not only will you find some cool knick knacks, winter clothing and treats, but you’ll also get to know some of the locals as many of them own and operate these stores. Chat up a storm and find out where their favourite spots, in and around town, are.
New Years Eve
This holiday does not take a backseat in Canmore. As an outdoor-sy community, they’ll be celebrating in the same style. Join the community skating under the stars, drinking hot cider, enjoying the bonfires, listening to live music, browsing local vendors and, last but certainly not least, watching the epic fireworks!
The Canmore Winter Carnival occurs from February 28-March 1 of 2020. This is the time where locals and tourists come together to celebrate the unique outdoor-focused, winter lifestyle that is Canmore. With both indoor and outdoor experiences, there is something for everyone here!
AV Wakefield. Instagram: @picobac
Things to Do in Canmore
Grassi Lakes and Ha Ling Peak
These well-known hikes are located right beside each other and offer very different experiences. Ha Ling Peak will take you straight up the mountain and to sheer cliffs with stunning views of Canmore laid out below you. This hike has a higher level of difficulty and exposure to the elements (it can get super windy up there!).
If you’re looking for a more relaxing and family-friendly winter hike in the Canmore area, consider Grassi Lakes trail. This hike will take you by brightly colored pools and streams of water. You’ll also find climbers peppered along the rock walls as this is a popular climbing spot.
These hikes are well-travelled and accessible in the winter months. However, we recommend that you pack for a winter excursion! That means layering up, bringing your spikes and checking the trail report prior to Adventure time.
Regardless of which hike you choose, remember to utilize AdventureSmarts 3 T’s to Trip Planning. Even though you’re close to town, proper preparation is key! And because these hikes are well-trafficked, please follow Leave No Trace principles while out exploring.
The list of the top 8 best things to do in Canmore this winter wouldn’t be complete without including the next 2 amazing Adventures that support the local economy and follow responsible travel best practices. By booking through Yervana, you are supporting local community members and their professions.
Glacier Fossil Exploration
Join Yervana Local, Carlos in a family-friendly exploration of the Mt. Stanley area. You will stop at one of the unique Burgess Shale fossil sites beneath the Stanley Headwall. Fossils from this area are over 350 million years old!
All fossils must remain behind as this is a World Heritage Site.
Full Moon Hikes
The Rocky Mountains are jaw-dropping in the daylight – now imagine them in the moonlight!
Learn more about the stars, nocturnal animals and things that go bump in the night. The monthly full moon hike will help you step out of your comfort zone with a certified guide to help you along the way. Contact Yervana Local, Jenna for more details!
Ski or Snowboard
With world-class resorts and incomparable snow conditions that last for months and months, those who love to ski and snowboard will find endless bliss near Canmore. Although a bit of a drive (your own vehicle or a shuttle) Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Norquay are all near enough for a half or full day trip. Whether you’re new to the sport or an experienced turn-champ, these resorts all have something for everyone.
You can also access tons of amazing cross country skiing trails around Canmore! Stay tuned for Adventures from us.
Travel Alberta/Anthony Redpath
A great way to see your favourite hikes in the cold winter months is to strap on a pair of snowshoes and get moving! We’ve shared our top 3 favorite snowshoe trails near Canmore here.
Local Highlights: Eat, Drink and Shop in Squamish
Now you’ve seen the top 8 best things to do in Canmore this winter. But we’re not done yet! We’re also giving you the details on some of the best local highlights of this engaging town.
Breweries and Distilleries
Canmore is making a name for itself in the craft beer and spirits market. Rent a shuttle for the day and check out why!
On a brewery/distillery tour you’ll be sure to experience passionate locals, big smiles, delightful snacks and an overall good time.
“What the focaccia!” Literally. How can a focaccia sandwich shop be so good!? Go. Just go and try the delicious offerings of Bella Crusta. You’ll probably end up going again. In the same day.
The Trough Dining Co
Casual fine dining that always hits the spot! But time your arrival right because this restaurant only has nine tables!
Keeping it cozy, delicious and intimate, the Trough Dining Co will leave your stomach full and happy.
The Summit Cafe
What kind of winter destination guide would this be if we didn’t include a place to grab a yummy cup of hot cocoa after a long day out exploring in the cold?
The Summit Cafe offers great views, a full breakfast and lunch menu, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options, and fair and sustainable coffee! What are you waiting for? Head on over and warm up.
How to Get to Canmore
Canmore is accessible. If you’re starting your journey in Edmonton, hop on the TransCanada Highway. Head towards Calgary and pay attention to signs directing you to Banff. From Calgary, it’s just an hour out of town. You’ll hit Canmore before you enter the National Park! Because you’ll be coming in winter, ensure you check road and weather conditions prior to departure.
Don’t have your own car? No problem-o. Renting a car from the airport is straightforward. Or you can do a quick google search to find the best shuttle options for you!
FULL MOON HIKES
Learn about the stars, nocturnal animals, and things that go bump in the night! Feel your senses heighten as the darkness sets in. Join the monthly Full Moon Hike and step outside your comfort zone. This is an easy 3-4 hour hike. On average, the Full Moon Hikes are 7km with 300-500m of elevation gain. The hikes are chosen the day of to allow for last minute changes due to weather.
MT. STANLEY GLACIER FOSSIL EXPLORATION
An 11km Kootenay National Park, family appropriate exploration of the Mt. Stanley area. We will stop at one of the unique Burgess Shale fossil sites beneath the Stanley Headwall and see what we can find. Fossils from this area are over 350 million years old!