For a couple that lives just over an hour from the Canadian Rockies, we haven’t done as much hiking as we should be. It’s almost ironic that my first big hike was actually in New Zealand when I went overseas for my first six-month solo adventure. When I told people where I was from, they were surprised to hear that I had not done many hikes. After all, Banff hiking trails are some of the best in the world. It’s the Rockies! At the same time, New Zealand is just as beautiful and lacks bears, cougars, wolves, and other dangerous animals. That’s mostly what kept me off of the trails. As I thought about it though, I realized that if I can love scuba diving with sharks, I should be okay doing some hiking near Banff National Park. So, that’s what we did. We made it a mission to do at least one or two hikes each summer.
Best Hiking Trails in Canmore and the Kananaskis
There are many hikes in Kananaskis County to choose from. We wanted to find one that could be done in a half-day and that provides amazing views. We also wanted to find hiking trails near me, and since we live in Calgary, Canmore is a great option. One very popular hike is Ha Ling Peak, which starts roughly 10 minutes from Canmore. If you’re looking for nature trails, this is a great option. It’s easy to reach, very popular, and takes you to the top of a stunning mountain peak with incredible 360-degree views of mountains, rivers, and the town of Canmore Canada.
The hike to Ha Ling Peak is fairly strenuous and is rated as a difficult hike. In my opinion, it’s not really difficult but it is uphill the entire time, so it’s definitely hard on the legs. We saw people with dogs and children, so it’s certainly not “extreme”. The only moderately difficult part is the last 20-minutes, which is mostly loose rock. We saw some people slip here. You’re not going to fall down the mountain but you might get some scrapes if you fall. When raining, the trail is probably very slippery. I’d say it’s slightly worse coming down as well.
The first 70% of the hike is through the alpine forest. You’ll likely find patches of snow even in the early summer, and you’ll find a variety of beautiful views along the way. The entire hike is great but the real prize is when you make it to the top. Once at the peak, you’ll have EPIC views of the Rocky Mountains and the town of Canmore. it’s mind-blowing really. It’s also the edge of a mountain so it looks really cool. Just don’t fall over the other side as it’s thousands of feet to the bottom.
As mentioned, if you’re looking for dog-friendly hiking trails, this is one of them. We saw dozens of dogs on the day we went. Some small and some big. However, you must keep them on a leash. If you’d rather less strenuous dog hiking trails, consider something like the nearby Grassi Lakes Trail, which isn’t as much of a climb.
If you’re looking for Canmore lakes, there is none on this hike. You can certainly see bodies of water from the peak, but if you actually want to be at a lake, you’re better of hiking Grass Lakes Trail or driving further on to Spray Lakes Canmore. There’s also a beautiful campground there, which is first come first serve. (We made a video about dog camping at Spray Lakes, Canmore)
Best Canmore Hikes and Kananaskis Trails
We haven’t done too many Banff hikes. There are some Lake Louise hiking trails that we’ve done a few times, as well as some very short hikes near Spray Lakes. Still, I’d say this is one of the best Canmore hiking trails. I mean, look at the views from the top. How can you go wrong? The only negative thing about our hike was all the crowds. We went on the weekend during some really nice weather. If you do the same, it will be busy. If you want fewer crowds, go on a weekday or in the off-season.
It’s definitely one of the best hiking trips I’ve done in the area and likely one of the best hikes in Alberta unless you’re looking for a multi-day hike or something in the backcountry. That’s a different ball game and requires much more gear and planning. This is just something simple that can begin from the road and that still gives you some of the best views in the world.
How to Get There
The hike starts not far from the Canmore Nordic Centre. Make your way towards the Nordic Centre, but keep going past. You’ll end up on a dirt road going up the mountain for a few minutes. Eventually, you’ll see a massive parking area. This is where it starts. On the weekend, this trail can get PACKED. I don’t like it when it’s too busy, but if you’re afraid of bears, this is the time to go as they will definitely not come around. If you’re in Banff, it’s only a 30-minute drive to get from Banff to Canmore and to the hiking trailhead. If you’re coming from Calgary, it will take you approximately 1.5 hours to get there. In fact, if you’re looking for hikes near Calgary, this is still a great option as there’s not a lot of Calgary hiking trails.
More Tips For Hikes Near Canmore
If you’re looking for the Banff trail report, hiking trail maps, Banff trail conditions, a Banff trail map, hiking maps, other Canmore trails, hikes near Banff, or Alberta hiking trails in general, I’d definitely check out www.alltrails.com, which not only lists hundreds of long hiking trails and Banff day hikes, but also has reviews from a wide variety of people.
In terms of Canmore, Banff, and the Kananaskis, the season in which you choose to hike will determine what to wear and how to plan. If you’re not a serious hiker, I would recommend NOT going in the winter. Trails become much more slippery and dangerous, and the temperatures can dip down to -40 Degrees Celcius. In the late spring, summer, and fall, I’d recommend bringing layers. At the bottom, it can be as hot as 25 Degrees Celcius but can drop significantly by the time you reach the top. Plus, there’s it’s usually windy at the summit, which makes it chilly, especially when you’re covered in sweat. Bring snacks, water, good shoes, and bear spray!
To see a Canmore map, click here.
If you’re looking for hotels in Canmore Canada, there are a lot of options, ranging from budget to luxury. However, if you arrive in the busy summer months, they will be much more expensive, regardless of the type of hotel you’re looking for. There are also a variety of camping options, with my favorite being Spray Lakes West Campground. The only issue with the campground is that it can fill up on the weekend quite quickly. At the same time, if you’re looking to try some of the best hikes in Canmore, spending the night in Canmore. Even if you’re staying in Banff, and looking for some of the best Banff day hikes, I’d consider Ha Ling Peak as it’s close by.
The Ha Ling Peak Trail is one of the best hikes in Banff (it’s close enough to be considered a part of Banff hikes), at least when it comes to fairly simple ones. It’s easy to reach and easy to climb for anyone in moderate shape. Although it’s ranked as difficult, I’d still say it’s one of the easy hikes in Banff. Obviously, the easiest ones would involve very little incline. If you’re looking for one of the best hikes in Kananaskis, I’d also add this one to the list. Again, there are hundreds of trails around the area, and depending on whether you want to climb to a summit or just walk through flat trails and flowery meadows, there’s something for everyone.
To look at a Canmore Alberta map, click here.
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