Canmore is a winter lover’s paradise with world class cross country skiing, dogsledding, fatbiking and more at its doorstep. Whether you go for the day, weekend, or extended stay, you will find plenty of adventurous activities to suit your adrenaline level. Winter is also a great time for festivals! Here are 14 fun things to do in Canmore this winter:
1. Hike on ice to ice falls at Grotto Canyon
Walk the frozen creekbed to ice falls and 500+ year old pictographs. Microspikes required.
2. Explore the Bow Valley Bunker
A short 1.9 km hike takes you to large caverns built during the Cold War. Bring a headlamp – the caverns are 50 feet long! Note that the caverns are on an (infrequent) avalanche path, so do NOT do this hike if there’s snow on the mountain.
3. Go Underground with Canmore Cave Tours
Spel-what? If the Bow Valley Bunker has you wanting to do more cave exploring (spelunking), explore Rat’s Nest Cave with Canmore Cave Tours. The caves are a great place to visit when it’s cold out as the temperature stays 5 degrees C year round! I loved rappelling down into a large, dark cavern and peering up at stalactites. Read about our experience with Canmore Cave Tours.
4. Cross Country Ski at Canmore Nordic Centre
Cross country ski, ice skate, fat bike, and snowshoe at this world class facility just minutes from downtown Canmore. Pristine grooming (75+ km of classic and skate trails) and gorgeous views guarantee a great day no matter your experience level. See our story Why you need a Canmore Nordic Centre Season’s Pass for more info on skiing here. Rentals and lessons are available from Trail Sports (beside the day lodge). Note: Trail fees in effect 9 am – 5 pm.
5. Try fatbiking (aka snowbiking)
Whatever you choose to call it, fatbiking is an amazing way to stay active in winter! Wide tires keep you afloat on packed trails. Rent a fatbike at Trail Sports (Canmore Nordic Centre) or Rebound Cycle. Quarry Lake Park and Canmore Nordic Centre have beginner-friendly trails.
6. Ice Skate at Canmore Nordic Centre
Canmore Nordic Centre’s outdoor skating rink offers amazing views of the Bow Valley. After skating, get hot cocoa from the Day Lodge! (Note: There is no longer ice skating at The Pond in downtown Canmore; underground springs have made the water too warm to freeze well.)
7. Dash through the snow in a 6-dog open sleigh
Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours‘ powder hounds will take you on an adventure like no other. After an amazing ride, enjoy some treats around the fire and get to know your sled dogs.
8. Enjoy Canmore’s indoor playground: Elevation Place
On chilly days, head to Elevation Place. They have a fantastic climbing gym, aquatic centre, and fitness centre. Child minding is available for kids that are 6 months to 7 years old.
9. Discover the past at Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre
Learn about Canmore’s history and geology while the kids do a scavenger hunt to earn a prize. Read about our experience in this story: Exploring Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre.
10. Go on a winter walk
The “Easy” trail at Grassi Lakes is sports stroller friendly and open year round! Only 3.8 km round trip. For more information, read our story: Hiking Grassi Lakes, Canmore. Microspikes recommended. 2022 Update: Grassi Lakes is closed this year for construction. See Alberta Parks Advisories for details.
Take a scenic stroll on Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk, and enjoy spectacular mountain views from downtown Canmore.
Quarry Lake (parking fees in effect) and Three Sisters Creek Waterfall Hike are two more lovely spots for a winter walk.
This annual festival includes tons of fun events:
- Tree and Wreath Viewing at The Malcolm Hotel: December 2-31, 2022. Free
- Kids Holiday Extravaganza (crafts, games, stories, and more): December 11, 2022, 10 am – 3 pm. Free but registration required.
- Breakfast with Santa ($): Sunday, December 18; 10 am to 12 pm
- Wine & Spirits Tasting: Friday, December 9; 7pm to 10pm
- Seniors’ Christmas Tea & Reception ($20): Wednesday, December 14; 1pm to 3pm
12. Last Minute Christmas Market
December 17, 2022 at Civic Centre (902 7th Ave). Pick up local honey, art, pottery and jewelry – just in time for Christmas! Details here.
Celebrate NYE 2023 in Canmore! Details coming soon at Town of Canmore.
14. Canmore Winter Carnival
“Enjoy ice carving competitions, kids’ ice carving, skating parties, street hockey, log sawing competitions, the always entertaining pooch parade, art crawls and the popular Snowy Owl Kid N’ Mutt races.”
Usually at the end of February – 2023 Details coming soon from Town of Canmore.
Where to Stay
See my detailed reviews here:
- Basecamp Resorts – Canmore
- Play Hard and Stay Luxurious at Solara Resort & Spa
- Family Fun at Grande Rockies Resort
Where to Eat
Family-Friendly Dining: Harvest Cafe (breakfast), Summit Cafe (breakfast), Rocky Mountain Bagel (breakfast or lunch), Iron Goat Pub & Grill (brunch, lunch, or dinner), Rocky Mountain Flatbread (dinner), Habitat Restaurant & Grill, Blake (kids can make their own bento boxes).
Best Coffee: Eclipse Coffee Roasters
More Winter Fun
- 9 Things to Do in Lake Louise This Winter
- 10 Things to Do in Banff This Winter
- Winter Activity Guide for Calgary, Bragg Creek, Canmore, Kananaskis, and Banff
- Cross Country Skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre
- Where to Snowshoe Near Calgary
- The Best Short Hikes Near Calgary
- More Best Short Hikes Near Calgary (Kananaskis Edition)
- 4 Shoulder Season Hikes in Banff
- Keeping Kids Warm in Winter