Top 19 Things to Do in Canmore in Summer

By Lisa Kadane

There’s a reason Canmore is Calgary’s playground. The gateway to Banff National Park is surrounded by towering mountain peaks and laced with hiking and mountain biking trails. But instead of just day tripping here, stay at one of two Bellstar resorts—the Solara or Grande Rockies—and see how many of the Top 19 you can knock off your list.

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Hike the Grassi Lakes Trail

This classic four-kilometre loop trail leads everyone from toddlers to seniors up to Grassi Lakes, a set of two tourmaline-hued alpine lakes situated above Canmore. Spot wildlife in the woods, and look for sport climbers ascending the surrounding rock walls.


Go for a swim in Quarry Lake

With a shallow wading area and a beautiful mountain backdrop, Canmore’s swimmable lake—reclaimed from an old mining area—is one of the town’s favourite summer beaches.


Grab a pint at The Grizzly Paw

Canmore’s après-adventure patio at The Grizzly Paw Pub & Brewing Company is the best spot to toast an epic hike or bike ride with a Beavertail Raspberry Ale or a Rutting Elk Red.


Ride the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain

Take the four-person gondola up Sulphur Mountain for a 360-degree view of the Canadian Rockies. Then, get hands on inside the interactive interpretive centre, and grab a bite to eat at the aptly named Sky Bistro, perched atop the summit.


Admire the churning waterfalls in Johnston Canyon

Hike the 2.6-km trail to the Upper Falls in Johnston Canyon, located off the Bow Valley Parkway. Along the way, marvel at the seven spectacular waterfalls that plunge into blue pools of water on their surging path through the gorge.


Fuel up at Beamer’s Coffee Bar

Grab a cuppa Joe, latte, breakfast snack or baked treat at one of the three Beamer’s locations in Canmore, consistently voted the best coffee shop in the Bow Valley.


Mountain bike at the Canmore Nordic Centre

Practice two-wheeled tricks at the Mountain Bike Skills Park or hit the more than 100 kilometres of wide, flow and technical single-track at this summer adventure centre.


Scale the climbing wall at Elevation Place

Get fit and have fun at Canmore’s indoor playground that includes a cardio and weight room, an aquatic centre, and a climbing gym with a range of routes and extensive bouldering terrain.


Browse the boutiques on Main Street (8 St.) in Canmore

Shop for more than kitschy maple leaf souvenirs in Canmore’s adorable downtown. Don’t miss The Tin Box for fun novelty items, and Stonewaters for mountain-inspired home furnishings and decor.


Bowl with craft beer and cocktails at High Rollers

Quaff a summery wheat ale or complex IPA between bites of pizza while bowling a strike or spare. Banff’s hip bowling alley is located inside what was once the Aurora nightclub.


Soak in the Banff Upper Hot Springs

“Take the waters” like Banff’s first tourists by soaking in the mineral-rich geothermal pools that led to the creation of Canada’s first national park.


Cycle between Canmore and Banff

Pedal the 22-km mostly flat Legacy Trail that connects the mountain towns. The two-to-three hour ride takes cyclists past plenty of viewpoints, covered picnic areas and rest stops.


Try fondue at the Grizzly House

This Banff institution has been serving fondue alongside dishes of exotic meat (e.g. ostrich), game or beef—cooked right at the table—for over 50 years. It’s kitschy and retro (be sure and ask about the phones at each table), and once you get used to the smoky interior you’ll have a memorable night out.


Tackle the Via Feratta at Mt. Norquay Ski Resort

Climb a cliff in Banff National Park with the assistance of rungs, pegs, cables and bridges along a secure fixed route called an “Iron Road,” a.k.a. Via Feratta. Choose between four routes, from beginner to advanced, and prepare to be awed by the challenge and reward of mountaineering.


Indulge your senses at The Sensory & Wit Bar

Eat foraged ingredients and regional cuisine at this Canmore restaurant that’s as much about sight, smell and texture as it is about taste.


Explore Banff on horseback

Experience the national park like an original explorer on the back of a trusty steed with Banff Trail Riders. Operating for over 50 years, the company guides historic routes that take you deep into the park on a quest for mountain vistas and wildlife.


Go underground at Ratt’s Nest Cave

Join a spelunking tour with Canmore Cave Tours and explore Rat’s Nest Cave, a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites, animal fossils and crystal clear pools of water.


Walk among the wildflowers in Sunshine Meadows

Hike through blossoming meadows to pristine high-altitude lakes at Sunshine Village. The ski resort runs its gondola and a chairlift in the summer so the adventurous can access alpine trails surrounded by stunning Banff National Park scenery.


Tour and then taste the spirits at Park Distillery in Banff

Learn about Park Distillery’s glacier-to-glass distillation process during a free daily tour (3:30 p.m., reservations recommended), and then taste vodka, gin and rye made with Alberta-grown grains.

Should you stay in Canmore or Banff for your Mountain Adventure?

by Abby White

First thing’s first... Canmore, Alberta. A tucked away paradise boarded by mountains and rivers. A town that takes a step back from the commercial mountain side shops & busy downtown hot spots to really focus on what you came here for. The nature of things. (At least that’s what I came for!) Canmore is a beautiful place to explore out west. You get the best of both worlds… Scenic views, peace, quiet, nature, a short walk from breathtaking hiking trails with the convenience of a charming mountain-surrounded downtown strip nearby with all you could ever need. 

Do me a favour when booking your out west adventure and stay in Canmore. A scenic fifteen-minute drive from Banff National Park and let me add it is the loveliest drive you'll ever take. Winding roads with mountains at every angle. Simply out of this world, you won't be able to stop staring out the window, I promise.


As far as accommodations… we had the pleasure of calling Solara Resort & Spa home for the next three days. With a double suite including two bedrooms both with stunning fireplaces, two bathrooms, two balconies, a kitchenette with top of the line appliances, glamorous countertops and large living and dining area. It was quite the place to call home. 

We were simply blown away! Cozy would be an understatement. Snuggling up to the fireplace and enjoying the mountain views right outside our windows. You are able to start each day by looking out at the mountains and enjoying the fresh air off the balcony with a fresh cup of coffee made in the comfort of your suite, something I assure you, never gets old. Solara offers so many luxury accommodations like in house spa, fitness centre, pool area, and a cinema/ entertainment room, there is truly something for everyone!

Being a guest at Solara Resort and Spa during the month of April was extra peaceful since it is part of their low season. What did this mean for us? Private pool & hot tub! We never saw another guest while in the swimming area which allows complete relaxation and bliss. Don't forget your complimentary bathrobe that tops off the entire experience.

If you are into hiking, I would highly recommend visiting Grassi Lakes in Canmore! It was only a 15-minute drive from our resort. After a light thirty minute uphill hike you will arrive to the most incredible view, not to mention crystal clear blue water surrounding you. I felt like I was in a dream — highly recommended! 

Solara Resort and Spa is not just a place to relax. You will wake up every morning refreshed, at peace and ready to explore. Being a short panoramic walk from downtown Canmore which is filled with the loveliest restaurants, pubs, shopping & scenic views. A quick drive to Banff that will be the best fifteen minutes you’ve spent travelling. I literally could not stop staring at the mountains and trees! Winding rivers & incredible landscapes.

Solara Resort and Spa is the perfect place to experience Canada’s Western culture and I would have to say leaving was a hard goodbye. Not falling asleep to your private fireplace, having your own ensuite bathroom, laundry machines and all… We were definitely living like luxury during our stay.


6 Hidden Gems in the Rockies

We’ve picked six of our favourite off-the-beaten-path adventures in the Rockies.


Takakkaw Falls (meaning "magnificent" in Cree) is a breathtaking waterfall located in Yoho National Park. The falls are fed by the Daly Glacier, which is part of the Waputik Icefield. Tumbling 830 feet in one stretch and 1,260 feet in total, these falls are among the highest in Canada.  Take in the falls from a view far away or adventure to the base before setting out to explore Yoho's beautiful hiking trails. 

Takakkaw Falls is 1 hr and 11 min from Kicking Horse Lodging, the perfect basecamp for outdoor adventure in the Canadian Rockies.

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As indicated by its name, this vivid, turquoise beauty is a gem you do not want to miss. Emerald Lake is the largest of Yoho National Park's 61 lakes, attracting tourists and photographers from all around the world. The pristine views are perfect for picnics on the lakeshore or a paddle through its tranquil waters by canoe. Take a hike out to the natural bridge to admire the Kicking Horse River as it carves a path through ancient rock.

Emerald Lake is 52 min from Kicking Horse Lodging, which is uniquely situated between six of Canada's most stunning national parks .

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This gem is a great option for a quick day trip for both new and experienced cavers. Located on Moose Mountain near Bragg Creek, AB, the Canyon Creek Ice Cave hike is a relatively easy 7 km, or an even quicker bike ride, ending with a slight scramble up to the entrance to the giant mouth of the cave. Make sure to pack some extra layers to keep warm while exploring as well as good safety gear and a headlamp. Eat your lunch on the sun warmed ledge of the cave while enjoying the spectacular views Canyon Creek Valley.

Canyon Creek Valley is 1 hr and 10 min from the Grande Rockies Resort — the perfect family getaway resort in the mountains. 

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Touted as having the best fly fishing in North America, Elk River is a outdoorsman's dream. This short river is nestled in the Eastern portion of the Alberta foothills and drains into the Brazeau Dam. The avid fisherman can expect mostly catch and release fishing for Trout, Mountain Whitefish and Northern Pike.  Wade out into the wide, trailing river while enjoying the surrounding wildlife. For those wanting to enjoy this ideal fishing spot for a few days, Elk River Campsite is a great spot to set up for the night. 

Here is an unsung treasure of southern Alberta Prairies.  Flanked by the Canadian Rocky Mountains and bordering Montana's Glacier National Park, Waterton National Park has an adventure for every visitor. Whether getting out on the lake, exploring Bison Paddock overlook, going on a Maskinonge adventure or driving the Chief Mountain Highway, it is a day well spent. Be sure to bring your cameras to capture the beautiful wildlife and views along the way. 

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Mist Mountain Trail is a 9.8 kilometre out and back trail. Although an easy scramble, the elevation gain of nearly 1300 Meters makes this a difficult hike. But those with the drive to keep going will be rewarded near the summit with two small, natural hot springs. Rest your tired legs in the pools, filled with water running down ridges of steep, craggily rocks and foliage from inside towering cliffs above. Bring your pup along and be sure to pack bear spray as this is the heart of grizzly paradise. 

Mist Mountain is 1 hr and 12 min away from Solara Resort and Spa. Rest easy in luxurious accommodations following a good hike and one of the many treatment options from our spa, One Wellness.

Top 16 Things To Do in Canmore in Winter

The majesty of the Rocky Mountains pulls at our hearts all year around, but winter holds a special magic. We've made a list of our favourite things to do around Canmore, Alberta, and, in our gorgeous backyard playground.

1. Dog Sled Tours

Dog sledding is a Canadian experience that can’t be missed. Glide down pristine mountain trails in hand-made oak sleds, led by highly trained guides. Snowy Owl Dog Sledding Tours offer an unforgettable experience.

2. Art Tour

If it's too cold to explore outside, Canmore has public murals, galleries and festivals showcasing some of Alberta's best talent. From the public murals to the markets and festivals held year-round.

3. Tavern Trivia at Tavern 1883

Tavern 1883 will test your general knowledge with trivia and chances to win prizes and gift cards. This fun Wednesday night includes happy hour, a late night menu, as well as learning some interesting trivia.

4. Snowshoeing

Head out on the trails of fresh snow and explore our beautiful mountain valley landscapes and trails. View Tourism Canmore's trail guide.

5. Fat Biking in Kananaskis Country

Get your bike out and enjoy the trails in Canmore. Alberta Parks Highline Trail, Meander Trail and Montane Traverse Trail offer a wide variety for riding. Map out your adventure today. 

6. Grotto Canyon Ice Walk

Follow your Kananaskis Outfitters guide through a frosty canyon decorated with frozen waterfalls and ancient pictographs. This 4.2km trail with 100m of elevation gain is suitable for anyone over 8 years of age. The walk takes 2 to 2.5 hours.

7. Rocky Mountain Soap Company Workshop Tour

Tour the Canmore Rocky Mountain Soap Company workshop and see how they make their 100% natural products. You will also receive a $20 gift card with an adult ticket, or a $5 gift card with a child ticket

11:00 AM – 12:15 PM MST

8. Canmore Winter Carnival

Enjoy ice carving competitions, kids’ ice carving, skating parties, street hockey, log sawing competitions and more.  

February 1 - February 10, 2019

9. Wildlife Distillery Tour

Get a close look at Wildlife Distillery. Learn the company history, process of craft spirit production, and sample delicious in-house made spirits.

10. Wall Climbing at Elevation Place

Too chilly to venture out? Try out your rock climbing skills inside. Elevation Place offers a large pool, climbing gym, fitness gym, and numerous daily drop-in core classes.

11. Family ice skating on the Canmore pond

Take the kids out to enjoy some skating, two blocks off of Main Street. Heated gazebos make it easy to change into your skates and warm up.

12. Ice Climbing

Canmore and the Canadian Rockies offer some of the best ice climbing in the world. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures offers a wide range of ice climbing instruction and guiding for people of all skill levels.

13. Live Music at Communitea

Select evenings of live music and good company. Communitea serves healthy, fresh food made from as many local and organic ingredients possible. Specializing in gluten free and vegetarian/vegan options.

14. Mountain Meracato

Warm up with delicious gourmet coffee or a house-made soup, grilled panini, salumi and cheese platters, and beer and wine, served seven days a week.

15. Murrieta's

Murrieta's is great for a special night out or casual dining. An elegant dining experience with small-town hospitality.  


16. Shopping

The Canmore area is known for its local, authentic, mountain-town feel. Shop in our one-of-a-kind of shops and boutiques. From outdoor clothes, original art to specialty chocolates — we have it all. 

Header photo by Brooke Wilson

Canmore with the Family


An Incredible Vacation The Whole Family Will Love

You can't beat Canmore for a family vacation. Whether young or young at heart, there's something to pique all interests. 10 Hikes has put together some great suggestions for how to make the most of your time — from activities to where to stay, and where to dine. And, if hiking is your thing, be sure to check out their directory of the best hikes in Canmore and Banff.

Canmore's New Rocky Mountain Romance Packages


Bellstar is excited to offer in 2017 at its Canmore properties a new romantic room package. In partnership with the Canmore-based Rocky Mountain Soap Company, guests can now upgrade any room for $75 and receive the Rocky Mountain Romance Package. This package includes:

  • A Rocky Mountain Soap amenity pack including aromatherapy and bath salts
  • Late checkout
  • The best view of the Canadian Rockies (based on availability)
  • Bottle of red wine

The package is available exclusively at both Solara Resort & Spa and Grande Rockies Resort

Escape In The Rockies


Imagine you're locked in a room where a multi-millionaire diner owner has set up a series of puzzles for you and your colleagues to solve so only the truly-deserving can hold the key to taking over his business.

This is one interview you have never experienced before!

But this is not an actual interview. This is just one of the themed adventures now available when you book your next event at either Solara Resort & Spa or Grande Rockies Resort in Canmore, Alberta.
Bellstar Hotels & Resorts has partnered exclusively with Eureka Banff, the only escape room in the Canadian Rockies.

Escape rooms offer a unique and affordable way for corporate groups to learn how to work together, communicate effectively, delegate tasks and learn to think outside of the box. This great new team-building activity is available for groups up to 8 people and all guests of Bellstar Hotels & Resorts receive a 10% off discount.

Contact Stacey Mitchell, Bellstar Regional Sales Manager for more details.

Stacey Mitchell