1 Day Canmore Itinerary
Are you dying to visit Banff, but looking to escape some of the crowds? Canmore is a charming little mountain town in Alberta Canada, located about 20 minutes from Banff but is less touristy and crowded.
Canmore is close to gorgeous hikes and has an amazing restaurant and shopping scene! In Summer the main shopping strip even closes to cars, which gives the town a really lovely Summery, relaxed feel.
Canmore is also super dog friendly! We noticed that there were more dogs in Canmore than most other places we have been and most of the shops and restaurants had dog bowls laid out. We definitely got distracted on our last trip to Canmore by some of the cute dogs that were shopping with their humans while we were looking for backpacking gear! 😅
This 1 day in Canmore Itinerary will give you everything you need to know to plan an amazing day full of stunning views and adventure!
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📍 Where is Canmore
Canmore is located in Alberta Canada in the Canadian Rockies. It is only a 20 minute drive to Banff from Canmore and is more of a residential, less touristy town when compared with Banff.
From Calgary, it is just over a 1 hour drive to Canmore.
Click here to open the map in Google Maps!
🚗 How to Get to Canmore
The best way to get to Canmore from anywhere in Canada or internationally is to fly into Calgary International Airport and rent a car. From Calgary to Canmore it is about a 1 hour drive.
It is also possible to visit Canmore or Banff without a car.
🚗 How to Get From Canmore to Banff
If you are staying in Canmore, you are likely also going to be wanting to visit Banff. If you are renting a car, getting to Banff is super easy! I love renting from Rentalcars.com as they show you the best prices from all of the different car rental options.
To get from Canmore to Banff driving, you will need to take the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1 W) all of the way until the Banff Town / Tunnel Mountain Exit.
If you don’t have a car, you can take Bus #3 to Banff from the Benchlands Trail Overpass in Canmore. This bus ride takes about 30 minutes and is great because you then don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot in Banff!
Join a Tour to See Lake Louise and More!
Alternatively, you can take a tour from Canmore to some of the must-see spots in Banff!
If you want to see Banff independently but don’t have access to a car, you could purchase a ticket for this Hop on Hop off bus tour. The stops include Johnston Canyon, Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and the Lake Louise Gondola.
📆 When is the Best Time of the Year to Visit Canmore?
It 100% depends on what you enjoy doing. If you enjoy snow and Winter activities, then you will love Winter in Canmore. If you like hiking, then I highly recommend visiting Canmore in Summer or Fall.
Spring is probably one of the hardest seasons to plan a trip for, as it is so hard to know when the snow will melt enough to be able to hike and whether there will still be enough snow to ski. We have visited Canmore at the very end of Spring and some of the hikes that we wanted to do were still snowy.
➡ Click here for a list of the best things to do in Canmore in Winter! ❄
🛌 Where to Stay in Canmore
Canmore is a little more affordable than Banff for accommodation, however, during Summer the prices tend to go up quite a lot.
Basecamp Resorts Canmore
We have stayed at Basecamp Resorts in Canmore during both Winter and Summer and the prices changed drastically but we really love it there!
Basecamp Resorts are great because they have a full kitchen for you to cook your own meals in and they are more affordable than other apartment hotel rentals. The also have an awesome hot tub with a view of the mountains!
Nomad by Samsara Resort – Panorama Top View
Canmore Inn and Suites
Comfy beds, hot tub and a pool with a waterslide! This accommodation has more classic hotel style rooms as opposed to the other 2 options.
Canmore 1 Day Itinerary
This 1 day Canmore Itinerary includes a bit of everything, hiking, shopping, good food and drinks and sight seeing!
Morning – Bagels for Breakfast
You could either eat at your hotel or go to The Rocky Mountain Bagel Company for a breakfast bagel and a coffee. This super popular café is located right next to Basecamp Resorts and the line to order is usually out the door so make sure you arrive with plenty of time up your sleeve.
Late Morning / Lunch – Hike Grassi Lakes or Ha Ling Peak
Bring a packed lunch with plenty of water and some snacks and get ready for some incredible views! Don’t forget your camera!
Grassi Lakes is the easier of the two hikes and Ha Ling has a bit of a scramble but both offer gorgeous views.
If you don’t feel comfortable hiking by yourself, I recommend hiking with a guide. This hiking tour can be customised to the type of hike and level of hiking difficulty that you want to do. You can ask to hike to a gorgeous alpine lake, through meadows full of wildflowers or to the top of a ridgeline with epic views of the surrounding mountains.
Click here to book a customisable hike with a guide!
Distance: 4.3km / 2.7 miles return | Time: 1.5 – 3 hours | Elevation: 203m / 666 ft | Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Grassi Lakes is an easy – moderate hike that takes you up a well maintained wide trail to a gorgeous bright blue/green lake.
There is also an alternative route which is a little more challenging but takes you past a waterfall and offers gorgeous views of Bow Valley and Canmore.
On the easy trail, right before you reach Grassi Lakes, you will come to a viewpoint that the valley below. Grassi Lakes itself makes for a beautiful photo. It is bright turquoise in colour and you can see right through the water. Ha Ling Peak sits right behind it and is often reflected in the water.
Ha Ling Peak
Distance: 8km / 4.97 miles return | Time: 3 hours | Elevation: 810m / 2,657 ft | Difficulty: Challenging
Ha Ling Peak is a shortish, steep hike that takes you up Ha Ling, a mountain peak towering over Canmore which you can also see from Grassi Lakes. Ha Ling Peak has become an increasingly popular hike in Canmore over the years and so Alberta Parks recently upgraded the trail to include safety features such as stairs and chains to hold onto.
These safety features however, do end at the saddle, where you will then need to hike over slippery and steep scree if you want to go any further.
If you don’t feel comfortable hiking by yourself in bear country (I don’t blame you. We are still getting used to it), then you can book to do Ha Ling Peak with a guide!
Afternoon – Take a dip in one of the local lakes
After your hike, you will probably be pretty keen to cool off so I highly recommend taking a plunge in one of Canmore’s beautiful lakes.
Quarry Lake, which is around a 9 minute drive from Canmore town centre, is a really popular local spot for a swim.
Alternatively, we loved Rundle Forebay, which we took our paddleboards to a couple of times and found the water was lovely for a swim too!
Lake Afternoon – Take a stroll around Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk Trail
Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk is a lovely walk that will take around 1 hour to complete. The trail is 4km with little to no elevation and well maintained so is a great walk for hikers of all levels.
The trail starts in the middle of Canmore and takes you alongside Policeman’s Creek and through some forests and gives you awesome views of the Three Sisters mountain range and Mount Rundle.
Alternatively, take a stroll around the shops. 🛍
Evening – Dinner at the Grizzly Paw Pub or Tank 310
The Grizzly Paw is one of our favourite breweries in Canmore! They are a local brewery in Canmore, but have a few different locations to choose from. You can book a reservation at Tank 310 but the pub is a first come-first serve restaurant.
The Grizzly Paw Pub is located in town and has outdoor patio and indoor dining options. They serve pub food like fish and chips and burgers.
Tank 310 is located slightly out of the main downtown area but not too far away. They have fantastic views of the Three Sisters, Ha Ling Peak and Mount Rundle with both indoor and some outdoor seating. The food at Tank 310 is a little fancier than their pub and more expensive. They also don’t serve fries here which we found slightly strange.
The Taproom is a more casual dining and drinks experience located below Tank 310 with outdoor seating so you can enjoy the sunshine and mountain views.
Canmore Packing List
When you are packing for Canmore, you are going to want to pack for an outdoor adventure.
- Hiking Boots
- Sandals or other comfy shoes
- Merino t-shirt and an extra one to change into just in case.
- Hiking Pants, shorts or leggings.
- Casual shorts and tops
- Puffer Jacket
- Beanie – Even in Summer, it can get cold in the mountains!
- Swim Suit – for all the lake swimming that you will be doing!
- A summer dress – for wandering around town and going out in.
- Bug Spray
- Bear Spray
- Hiking Poles – If you usually hike with poles.
- Camera! There will be plenty of photography opportunities! We have a guide on camera gear here.
Check out our gear guide for a full list of our hiking gear!
Amazing Canmore Tours
Canmore Caving Adventure
Canmore is famous for its underground caves! On this adventure tour, you will visit one of the longest caves in Canada! This is a 4 hour bucket list experience for anyone obsessed with adventure!
Canmore EBike and Brew
This tour is a great way to make friends and get some exercise while exploring Canmore and enjoying its delicious beers. The beers in Canmore are great! I can confirm.
Wildlife Safari Drive & Walk
Are you ready to explore bear country and look for some wildlife? The best way to see wildlife in the Canadian Rockies is to explore further off the beaten path which you will do with a professional guide on this tour! Seeing wildlife like bears and elk is one of the most exciting things about visiting the Canadian Rockies in my opinion!
How to Spend One Day in Banff
If you are spending some time in Canmore, you definitely cannot miss out on Banff!
Banff is the gateway to the Canadian Rockies and the famous and stunning Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. There is SO much to do in and around Banff, but how the heck do you choose what to do if you only have 1 day?!
Dave and I have spent a lot of time in and around Banff and know exactly what we would do there if we only had one day…
If you are heading to Canmore, you might also find the following guides helpful:
- Everything You Need to Know About Johnston Canyon
- 13 Amazing Things to do in Banff this Winter
- How to Spend 1 Day in Banff in Summer
- Little Beehive, Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike
- 14 Amazing Icefields Parkway Stops You Shouldn’t Miss!
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