North America

Canmore and Kananaskis – Nothing less than Colourful

Photo credit: Travel Alberta

The Town of Canmore, just east of Calgary, Alberta, is recognized as one of the most beautiful communities in the Canadian Rockies.

Opening out across the floor of the Bow River Valley and flanked on all sides by the front ranges of the mountains, Canmore offers the best of all possible worlds. Beginning with an enviable geographic location approximately an hour and a half from Calgary and five minutes from the Banff National Park east gate, the town provides visitors and residents alike not only a spectacular location but unequalled outdoor recreational opportunities and some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery.


Mount Lawrence Grassi
Photo credit: Travel Alberta

Canmore was officially named in 1884 by Canadian Pacific Railway director Donald A. Smith. In 1886, Queen Victoria granted a coal mining charter to the town, and the No. 1 mine was opened in 1887. The coal mining industry in Canmore boomed well into the 20th century. But today, only a lamp house and a few mine entrances remain.

Canmore’s economic future seemed dismal until the announcement in the early 1980s that Calgary would be hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics, and that Canmore would play host to the Nordic events. This resulted in an increase in tourism, and Canmore began to develop into the recreational tourism destination it has so well become.

If you are a lover of the great outdoors, this is the place to be. Within the town limits, there is some 71 kilometres of multi-use trails, access to world-class ski resorts, hiking, scrambling, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing and rafting. Perhaps the hardest thing to decide while here is just what to do today!

But if anything, be sure to visit the Canmore Nordic Centre and Provincial Park.

Developed for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games Nordic events, the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park remains a world-class facility. In 2005 the Centre was significantly renovated to re-establish itself as one of the top cross country, biathlon and mountain bike destinations in the world.

During the winter months, you can savour some 70 km of groomed and track-set trails for all ability levels, skiing and skating. And during the summer you can bike, hike and golf.

You can ski like an Olympian in Canmore and Kananaskis. Two world-class ski facilities are part of the legacy of hosting the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. The Canmore Nordic Centre features more than 70 kilometers of trails to explore. Nakiska Ski Resort was specially designed for the alpine events of the 1988 Games. Today, skiers swish Olympic-length runs that are groomed to perfection. And, Canmore Kananaskis can boast of some of Canada’s finest golf courses. The exceptional golf experiences include meticulously maintained courses and the backdrop of the spectacular scenery of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Canmore Kananaskis is a mecca for outdoor adventure types. The opportunities are endless. Visualize paddling a raft while your guide navigates the whitewaters of the Bow River. You can also ice climb, rock climb, mountaineer, scramble, mountain bike or wiggle your way through an underground cavern. Sit back in comfort in a helicopter as it propels you to new heights above the Canadian Rocky Mountains and lands in a serene alpine meadow blanketed in a rainbow of wildflowers where you will embark on a hike to take in the sights and sounds of a true mountain top adventure.


Rafting Kananaskis river
Photo credit: Travel Alberta

Kananaskis Country is located west and southwest of Calgary and borders the town of Canmore and Banff National Park.

Just imagine … more than 4,000 square kilometers of mountain parks and foothills to discover right practically right before your eyes!. Kananaskis Country includes five provincial parks, four wild land provincial parks, one ecological reserve and several provincial recreation areas. The area is known for hiking, trail riding, and road cycling and accommodation options include camping, a family friendly resort and a wilderness lodge.

Ever wanted to be a cowboy / cowgirl? Now’s your chance!

Kick off your city soles and plan for a dude ranch vacation. Imagine learning the ropes of ranching with the families that call these ranches home, their passion and their lifestyle. Or travel along the same wilderness trails that have been used to survey and explore the Canadian Rockies by horseback for generations. This area has a rich tradition of outfitters that guide western-wannabes across valleys and mountain peaks and just like the early trailblazers.You can embark on a guided multi-night pack trip exploring the backcountry with hearty cookouts, campfire tales and a blanket of stars awaiting you at day’s end.

Among the area’s many outstanding features is the truly striking and constant presence of the Canadian Rockies which dominate your views from any location and in any direction from within the town. Canmore and Kananaskis Country together create an ideal combination of a four season mountain village coupled with incredible wild land areas well suited for a variety of recreational pursuits.

So … next time you are considering a vacation that will remain forever memorable, consider the best that nature has created.

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