Introducing guest blogger Celine from Travel Banff Canada
Canmore is a picturesque mountain town nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, just a short drive from Banff National Park! Surrounded by stunning natural beauty, this charming destination provides endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, exploration, and family bonding.
If your family loves nature and being outside, Canmore is worth a visit. From hiking and wildlife spotting to fun winter sports, Canmore promises an active and memorable vacation for the whole family.
This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of locals
When to Visit Canmore
The best time to visit Canmore depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to enjoy.
Summer in Canmore, from June to August, is the best time for outdoor adventures such as hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife spotting. The weather is generally pleasant with plenty of daylight hours for exploring. However, summer will be the busiest time around Canmore and the surrounding area as this is peak season.
In the Fall, mostly in September through early October, the weather is still pleasant and the changing leaves makes for some stunning images. The fall is still an excellent time for hiking and biking in Canmore. It’s also a quieter time to visit. Keep in mind, it can snow in the mountains at any time so be prepared with layers for those colder days.
Winter in Canmore, from December to March and even into early April, is an excellent time to try all the snow-related activities. From cross-country skiing to dogsledding, there’s plenty to enjoy in Canmore in the winter.
Spring sometimes seems like an extension of winter in Canmore. While some milder temperatures can start to happen sporadically, towards the end of April and into May will start to feel like spring is arriving. With plenty of snow in the alpine, it’s time for lower elevation hikes and exploring the town.
Consider your family’s preferred activities and weather conditions to determine the best time to visit Canmore with kids.
Where to Stay in Canmore
Canmore offers a range of accommodations suitable for families with kids. From vacation rentals to hotels with swimming pools, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit for your family.
The Blackstone Mountain Lodge has apartment-style rooms with amazing mountain views.
The Pocaterra Inn has both an indoor pool and fun waterslide for kids, just in case they still have energy to burn at the end of the day.
The Grande Rockies Resort is another Canmore hotel with a pool and waterslide, guaranteed to keep kids happy and entertained.
If your family prefers to camp, there are several options. You can choose to stay closer to Canmore, for quicker access to town. Otherwise, both Banff and Kananaskis have several campgrounds to choose from.
It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the best options for your family’s needs.
Best Things to Do in Canmore With Kids
Grassi Lakes Trail
The Grassi Lakes Trail is a family-friendly hiking trail that rewards visitors with breathtaking views. The trail offers two routes, one easier and the other more challenging, allowing you to choose based on your family’s hiking abilities. The stunning turquoise lakes at the end of the hike are worth every step!
Canmore River Adventures
On a hot summer day, take your family on an exciting river adventure with Canmore River Adventures. Hop on a scenic float trip on the Bow River with the scenic Canadian Rocky Mountains always in view.
Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary
A visit to the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to learn about and observe wolfdogs up close. Families can take self-guided walk through the sanctuary or a guided tour to a viewing platform to see the wolfdogs, hear their stories, and gain insight into their behaviors and habitats. Interactive experiences require a minimum age of 15 years old.
This indoor recreational facility is perfect for those days when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Elevation Place features a climbing wall, swimming pool, indoor playground, and a fitness center. If your hotel doesn’t have a pool and your kids have some extra energy to burn off, this is a great place to do it.
Heart Creek Trail
The Heart Creek Trail is a short and relatively easy hike that is perfect for families with young children. The trail follows a scenic creek and passes by towering rock walls. Kids love to stop and play in the creek and cross the many bridges along the way.
Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk
Grab some of Canmore’s best ice cream and take a stroll down main street, that becomes a pedestrian street in the summer, on your way to Policeman’s Creek. This short and easy boardwalk trail is perfect for families. It follows the meandering Policeman’s Creek, offering a pleasant stroll through a serene natural setting.
Bow River Loop
One of the best Canmore walking trails, you can walk along the old Engine Bridge, stop at Riverside Park for a picnic and continue on to one of Canmore’s many scenic playgrounds. This is an ideal walk for families along the flat path with mountain scenery in every direction.
Grotto Canyon Trail
Grotto Canyon trail offers a unique hiking experience for families with its narrow canyon walls. Kids will love exploring the canyon and spotting ancient pictographs along the way (please help preserve them by not touching them). In the winter, the frozen creek provides an opportunity for ice walking.
Quarry Lake is a popular spot for swimming and picnics, and it also features a family-friendly trail that encircles the lake. The trail is well-maintained and offers beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
There are several easy hikes in Kananaskis that are ideal for families.
The Troll Falls is relatively easy and passes through a beautiful forest, leading to a stunning waterfall.
The nearby Bow Valley Provincial Park offers several easy trails suitable for families. The Middle Lake Loop and the Many Springs Trail boast scenic beauty and family-friendly terrain.
Biking around Canmore
Many of the scenic paved paths around Canmore also make excellent bike rides for families.
The Legacy Trail, a paved path connecting Canmore to the Town of Banff, is also suitable for kids. Though its best to ride the Legacy Trail with kids on a weekday or in the morning when it’s less busy. For younger children, you can ride the trail from Banff to Canmore for an easier ride.
For families that prefer singletrack, the Canmore Nordic Centre features a network of mountain biking trails suitable for various skill levels. The trails are well-maintained and offer options for beginners as well as more experienced riders. It’s a great place for families to enjoy mountain biking adventures together.
Winter in Canmore offers a host of exciting activities for families with kids.
Skiing and Snowboarding
While there’s no ski hills in Canmore, you don’t have to drive far to reach one. The closest ski resort is Mount Norquay in Banff National Park. Other world-class ski resorts, such as Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Ski Resort are also within easy driving distance. Many resorts offer lessons and programs specifically designed for children of different skill levels.
Tubing is a fun activity that the entire family can enjoy together. Head to the tube park at one of the local ski resorts (Mount Norquay, Lake Louise or Nakiska) where you can slide down snowy hills on inflatable tubes.
Cross Country Skiing
The Canmore Nordic Centre changes from mountain biking in the summer to perfectly groomed trails for cross-country skiing in the winter. With rentals available at Trail Sports, right across from the day lodge, you can get everything you need for an afternoon of fun right there.
Lace up your skates and hit the ice at one of outdoor skating rinks in town. The Pond in town is a local favorite. You’ll love this classic winter activity the whole family can enjoy.
The best place for a family snowshoeing adventure is on one of the many easy snowshoe trails in Kananaskis. Rent your snowshoes in town before heading out, then immerse yourselves in the serene winter wonderland.
Embark on an unforgettable dog sledding adventure in the Canadian Rockies. Experience the thrill of being pulled by a team of energetic sled dogs through snow-covered trails, all while enjoying the breathtaking winter scenery.
Tips for Visiting Canmore
Layers are essential for a family vacation to the Canadian Rockies. The weather can change quickly during the day and it’s best to be prepared. Remember to pack extra layers and plenty of winter gear for your visit to Canmore in winter. This should include snow pants, good winter boots, a warm hat and warm gloves.
Always check weather conditions and trail conditions before heading out on outdoor activities. In the winter and early spring, you want to ensure you aren’t entering dangerous avalanche terrain. In the spring and summer, trail closures can occur due to wildlife.
With a little preparation and planning, you can enjoy everything this mountain town has to offer any time of year!
About the Blogger
Celine Brewer is a travel writer and local Canmore resident with a passion for being out in the mountains any time of year. In the summer, you’ll often find her hiking or mountain biking. In the winter, she enjoys cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking the most.
With thanks to Celine for her contribution to our guest series. If you’re planning a trip to Canada, you may also like to read about Vancouver Day Trips from our guest series, explore some of the best things to do with kids in Vancouver or continue to explore the Best Ski Resorts in Canada and USA if you’ll be visiting in the winter.
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