We live less than two hours from the Canadian Rockies, but we haven’t hiked nearly as much as we should. It’s funny that my first trip abroad alone, a six-month stay in a foreign country, was also the first time I went on a long walk, which I did in New Zealand.
People were surprised to hear that I hadn’t done much hiking, given that I live in a mountain town. After all, some of the best hiking trails in the world are in Banff. The Rockies are what we’re talking about here.
But New Zealand is just as beautiful and doesn’t have any of the dangerous species that live in North America.
That was the main reason I didn’t want to go hiking. But after giving it some thought, I decided that if I can enjoy scuba diving with sharks, I should be able to handle hiking around Banff National Park.
To put it simply, that’s how we did things. Every summer, we made it a point to go on at least one or two walks.
BEST HIKING TRAILS IN CANMORE AND THE KANANASKIS
Kananaskis County is full of places to go hiking. We wanted to find a hike that we could do in half a day and that had great views. We also wanted to find hiking trails close to me. Since we live in Calgary, Canmore is a great choice.
The start of the trail to Ha Ling Peak, which is a popular place to climb, is about 10 minutes outside of Canmore. If you want to walk through nature, this is a great option.
It’s easy to get to, very popular, and takes you to the top of a beautiful mountain peak where you can see mountains, rivers, and the town of Canmore, Canada, from every angle.
The hike to Ha Ling Peak is hard and is known as a difficult hike. From my point of view, it’s not that hard, but it’s all uphill, so it’s definitely hard on the legs. People with dogs and kids were there, so it’s clear that it’s not “extreme.”
The last 20 minutes, which are mostly loose rock, are the only part that is a little hard. In this area, we saw a few falls. You won’t fall off the mountain, but if you fall, you might get some scratches. When it rains, the path could be very slippery. I also think it’s a bit rougher on the way down.
Most of the first 70% of the hike is through alpine woodland. Even in the beginning of summer, there may still be snow in some isolated places, and the landscape changes a lot from one place to the next. The whole walk is amazing, but getting to the top is the best part.
When you reach the top, you’ll have AMAZING views of the Rocky Mountains and Canmore. It really blows my mind. It is also the edge of a mountain, so it looks amazing. Just don’t fall over the other side, because the bottom is hundreds of feet below.
As was already said, this is one of the hiking trails that allow dogs. We saw a lot of dogs the day we went there. Some are small and some are very big. You must keep them on a leash, though. If you want to hike with your dog on trails that aren’t as hard, try the nearby Grassi Lakes Trail, which isn’t as steep.
This trip doesn’t take you to any of the lakes in Canmore. From the mountain, you can see bodies of water, but if you really want to be at a lake, you should hike the Grass Lakes Trail or drive to Spray Lakes Canmore.
There is also a nice camping spot nearby that is first come, first served. (We made a movie about camping with dogs at Spray Lakes in Canmore.)
BEST CANMORE HIKES AND KANANASKIS TRAILS
We haven’t been on too many hikes in Banff. We’ve hiked on a few of the trails around Lake Louise, and we’ve also done some short hikes around Spray Lakes. Still, I think this is one of the best hiking trails in Canmore.
I mean, look at the view from the top. What could go wrong, anyway? Even though the scenery was beautiful, the worst part of our climb was the people we met.
We went on the weekend when the weather was pretty good. If everyone does it, it will be a mess. If you want to avoid crowds, go on a weekday or when it’s not peak season.
It’s definitely one of the best hikes I’ve been on in the area, and it might even be one of the best in Alberta, if you’re not looking for a long hike or something in the wilderness.
That’s a whole different ball game that needs a lot more gear and planning. This is a simple activity that you can start from the road and ends up giving you some of the most beautiful views in the world.
HOW TO GET THERE
Near the Canmore Nordic Centre is where the hike begins. Move toward the Nordic Centre, but don’t stop there. For a short time, you’ll be driving through the mountains on a gravel road. After a while, you’ll see a huge parking lot.
This is where it starts. On the weekends, this path may get VERY BUSY. I like it when it’s quieter, but now is the time to go if you’re afraid of bears. It takes no more than 30 minutes to get from Banff to Canmore, which is where the trailhead is.
From Calgary, it will take you about an hour and a half to get there. Even though there aren’t many hiking trails in Calgary, this is still a great choice if you’re looking for a hike there.
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 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 range of people.
In Canmore, Banff, and the Kananaskis, what to wear and how to plan will depend on the time of year you choose to hike. If you don’t hike a lot, I wouldn’t recommend going in the winter.
When temperatures drop to as low as -40 degrees Celsius, trails become much more slippery and dangerous. Late spring, summer, and fall are all good times to bring layers.
At the bottom, it could be as hot as 25 degrees Celsius, but by the time you reach the top, it could be much cooler. Also, it’s often windy at the top, which makes it cool, especially if you’re drenched in sweat. Bring some food and drinks, as well as sturdy shoes and bear spray, in your bag.
If you want to stay in a hotel in Canmore, Canada, you have a number of options, from cheap to high-end. But if you go during the busy summer months, they will be much more expensive, no matter what kind of hotel you’re looking for.
There are also different places to camp, with Spray Lakes West Campground being my favorite. The biggest problem with the campsite is that it might get full pretty quickly on the weekend.
Also, if you want to see some of the best treks in Canmore, you should spend the night in Canmore. Since Ha Ling Peak is close to Banff, it should be on your list of possible day hikes if you’re looking for the best treks to do there.
The Ha Ling Peak Trail is one of the best walks in Banff, at least when it comes to easy ones. It’s easy to get to and easy to climb for anyone in good shape. Even though it says it’s hard, I’d still say it’s one of the easiest hikes in Banff.
The easiest ones would have very little inclination, of course. If you’re looking for a great hike in Kananaskis, I’d also recommend this one.
Again, there are a lot of paths in the area, and there’s something for everyone, whether you want to climb a mountain or just take a walk through flat trails and beautiful meadows.