Although Canmore is a haven for outdoor lovers, it can also be a great place to bring the family.
If you are planning a family visit to Canmore, it is essential to know what family-friendly activities are available to you. From hikes and outdoor adventures amongst the Canadian Rockies, to shopping and restaurants in historic Downtown Canmore, there are many options for fun for the whole family in Canmore.
In this article, we discuss 10 of the best family-friendly activities in the beautiful mountain town of Canmore, including four of the best restaurant options to select from.
1. Hike the Grassi Lakes Trail
Grassi Lakes Trail is a short loop-style trail located in the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park. The trail is roughly 4 km in length and takes around two hours total to hike.
What makes Grassi Lakes Trail a great hiking option for families is that it is considered very easy, with gentle inclines and stunning views. As you walk along this trail, you will come across some of the best natural scenery Canmore has to offer, including waterfalls and turquoise-colored mountain lakes.
If you are visiting Canmore in the winter, this trail can get a bit icy. Snowshoes or crampons are recommended for making this trail easier for a winter hike.
Additionally, a Kananaskis Conservation Pass is required to park within the natural area where Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park is found, so make sure to make the proper arrangements if you plan on driving to this trail.
2. Walk the Policeman’s Creek Trail
The Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk Trail is 3.9 km long and follows alongside the scenic Policeman’s Creek. Easily accessed right from downtown Canmore, this trail is great and easy for families to enjoy together for a leisurely stroll in the morning, afternoon, or early evening.
Along with walking trails aside creeks, ponds, forests, and wildlife, this trail also connects to several more difficult, intermediate-level trails as well. If your family is the adventurous type, you can start on the Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk Trail and venture up one or several of these side trails for a more exciting adventure in the beautiful nature surrounding Canmore.
This is not a loop-style trail, so you will need to either walk the entire boardwalk and then return from where you came or, alternatively, coordinate transportation for you and your family at the trail’s end.
3. Visit the Canmore Nordic Centre
The Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park is located 3.5 km from Canmore, just five minutes away by car. This is a historic park that was originally developed cross country skiing events for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games that has since been converted into a public-access nature area.
At the Canmore Nordic Centre, you can find many awesome outdoor activities for both the summer and winter months. For families visiting in the summer or warmer months, the centre has an 18-hole disc golf course, 6.5 km of paved roller ski trails, a mountain biking park, and over 100 km of hiking trails.
As for winter visitors, the Canmore Nordic Centre is home to over 65 km of both manmade groomed trails and natural snow trails located at the base of Mount Rundle. In the center of the trail system is a meadow that is accessible to groups of family skiers of all levels.
For anyone planning to visit this park, you will need a Kananaskis Conservation Pass to park your vehicle, as well as a paid pass for skiing.
4. Elevation Place Canmore
Elevation Place is an epic destination for families visiting Canmore. This recreation facility includes an indoor climbing gym, fitness gym, library, art gallery, and community spaces.
Along with all of these excellent activities, Elevation Place also includes the Aquatic Centre — an indoor aquatic playground that includes a 25-metre pool, a leisure pool that reaches 1.5 metres in depth, a lazy river, a water slide, a children’s play area, a steam room, and a 25-person hot tub.
To access Elevation Place, you will need to purchase a day pass that allows for re-entry throughout the day. If you plan on visiting Canmore for several weeks to a month, you can also consider purchasing one of their membership passes.
Make sure to check out Elevation Place’s schedule for more information on the facility’s hours of operation, fitness classes, and more.
5. Go Paddle Boarding in Canmore
Visitors travelling to Canmore in the warmer months can take a dip in the turquoise lake waters by going paddle boarding with the family!
Paddle boarding is a water sport in which you stand on a floating board and guide yourself around the waters using a paddle. This sport can take some practice, balance, and getting used to, but it is an enormously fun activity the whole family can enjoy.
One of the most reputable paddle boarding companies in Canmore is Bow Valley SUP & Surf. Through this company, you can take lessons, go on guided experiences, and take group paddles. The guided experiences are especially fun and include unique trips such as full moon night paddles and Friday night community paddles.
Bow Valley SUP & Surf is open in the spring and summer, as well as limited hours in the fall. Visit the company’s website to learn more about its offers and pricing.
6. Enjoy Canmore River Adventures
For more water fun in the sun, take a trip to Canmore River Adventures. This adventure and tour company has experienced guides who are experts in the local area and water sports!
Families are welcome at Canmore River Adventures, as the company specializes in family-friendly tours. Some of the adventures you can take include scenic float tours, horseback trail rides, whitewater rafting trips, and helicopter flights (with a trained and licensed pilot, of course).
In addition to these experiences, Canmore River Adventures also offers a variety of adventure packages, such as the Float & Horseback Ride where you first take a float along the Bow River and then depart for the Warner Stables in Banff for a one-hour horseback ride past natural hot springs.
Make sure to take a look at Canmore River Adventures’ website for more information on their trips, pricing, and availability.
7. Explore Main Street in Canmore
What’s a good vacation without a little shopping spree?
Downtown and Main Street in Canmore have a whole lot to offer, from stunning views of the natural environment to many shops and boutiques that have a wide array of retail items. Shops you can find in downtown Canmore include gift shops, outdoor stores, boutiques, and kid-friendly stores as well.
The downtown and Main Street areas of Canmore also have a wide array of galleries where you can stop by to view the art, crafts, and photography of local artists (and maybe even pick up a new piece or two!).
Don’t worry — there are tons of amazing places to eat, drink, and be merry in Canmore, too. We discuss these more below in the section Eat-In Family-Friendly Restaurants in Canmore.
For the best brunch options in Canmore check out our blog: The Complete Guide To Brunch In Canmore, AB.
Take a peek at the Downtown Canmore official map for a glimpse at all the town has to offer!
8. Canmore Cave Tours
Searching for a more rugged adventure into the natural history of Canmore? Look no further than Canmore Cave Tours — a cave guide company that has been operating since 1992.
Canmore Cave Tours offers unforgettable, year-round experiences in Rat’s Nest Cave, a designated Provincial Historic Resource with tremendous archaeological potential. In this cave, explorers have found ancient photographs, 7,000-year-old bones, and more.
Besides the awe-inspiring natural history, Rat’s Nest Cave is also home to breathtaking natural features that will make you feel like you are in a whole new world. The cave is one of the longest in all of Canada at over 4 km in total length.
Though young guests are welcome, these tours are designed for visitors 10 years or older.
To learn more about the tours and adventures Canmore Cave Tours has to offer, visit the website today.
9. Bike the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail
If you and your family love cycling or mountain biking, the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail is a must. This trail takes you from Canmore to Banff National Park, and provides amazing views of the Canadian Rockies.
The 22.3k trail is fully paved and surprisingly flat despite being nestled in the Rockies. It typically takes 2-3 hours to complete, however, if you are biking with kids, plan for a longer trip and breaks.
10. Rebound Cycle Canmore
If you want to take a cruise around Canmore, stop by Rebound Cycle Canmore. Here, you can rent professionally tuned road or mountain bike with adjustable seats made to fit riders of all shapes and sizes.
Rebound Cycle Canmore offers bike rentals for just about any ride you can imagine — including bikes for mountain biking, road bikes for town exploration, and fat bikes for adventurous visitors who want to take a ride through the snow.
Along with bike rentals, Rebound Cycle Canmore also offers paddle board rentals as well!
In addition to offering rental equipment, Rebound Cycle also provides visitors with detailed lists of all the best destinations for biking in Canmore — all organized according to difficulty.
To book a rental, visit Rebound Cycle’s website and sign their online waiver.
11. Visit Canmore Museum
If you are looking for a fun and educational experience in Canmore, check out the Canmore Museum. The museum features interactive exhibits and stories about the people and history that made Canmore the town it is today.
The Canmore Museum is located in Downtown Canmore and has nearby eateries like the Rocky Mountain Bagel Company, the Grizzley Paw Pub, and much more.
12. Camp at Spray Valley Provincial Park
The Spray Valley Provincial Park is the perfect place to camp and explore the outdoors. This park is open for camping in both the summer and winter.
In the winter, you can go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and more. In the summer, you can enjoy fishing for trout, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and sunny hikes with the family.
If you are looking for a family adventure full of outdoor activities, this is the place to go.
13. Skating on “The Pond”
When the Canmore town pond freezes over, it is transformed into a winter wonderland. They have a gazebo with heaters where you and your family can warm up, picnic tables, and lights for night skating.
“The Pond,” is located just outside of the town of Canmore, making it a perfect afternoon or evening activity. The ice rink also has winter events such as skating with Santa and even a New Year’s Eve skating event.
14. Chase Waterfalls at Grotto Canyon Trail
Grotto Canyon is just ten minutes from the town centre of Canmore and is a beautiful hike the whole family will enjoy. The trail is just over 2km in and out and is surrounded by beautiful rock faces.
As you walk or snowshoe through this trail you will come to find a beautiful waterfall that, depending on the season, will be flowing down the rockface or frozen.
15. Eat-In Family-Friendly Restaurants in Canmore
After all your adventuring, shopping, and fun-having, you and your family are bound to work up an appetite. Luckily, there are many great places to eat in Canmore that are family-friendly!
Here are 4 of the best eat-in restaurants for families in Canmore:
Rocky Mountian Flatbread Co.
Picture this: you and your family are sitting on a patio, with an open kitchen in the background baking fresh-made pizza in a traditional wood fire oven.
If this sounds picture-perfect to you, then you’re in luck — Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. has all this to offer and more. With a full menu complete with traditional flatbread pizzas, artisan flatbread pizzas, pasta, and a great selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. has everything you need for a delightful lunch or dinner.
This restaurant also offers a full kid’s menu with meals made to please even the pickiest eaters. If you want to eat in or get takeout, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. can accommodate your needs.
For the perfect brunch spot with all-day breakfast, make sure to stop by The Summit Café.
Here you can find organic fair-trade coffee, a wide array of breakfast and lunch dishes, and a delicious kid’s menu to keep your little ones full and happy. Plus, The Summit Café is accommodating to gluten and dairy-free diets if you have any dietary restrictions in your crew.
If you are planning a large family event, The Summit Café also offers catering options and boxed lunches that make feeding your group a breeze.
Check out The Summit Café’s hours, menu, and more on their website.
The Grizzly Paw
Grab a drink and a bite to eat at Canmore’s most popular pub, The Grizzly Paw.
Along with craft beers for the adults, The Grizzly Paw also has an array of hand-crafted sodas to delight the kids in your party. Though this restaurant is certainly a hub for the grown folks, The Grizzly Paw’s serving staff and kitchen crew take care to make it as family-friendly as possible — including smaller portion sizes for kids!
Take a look at The Grizzly Paw’s menu and drink selection here.
Miner’s Lamp At Georgetown Inn
The Georgetown Pub — also called the Miner’s Lamp — offers cozy indoor and patio seating that is family-friendly. As part of the Georgetown Inn, this restaurant is the ideal place to both eat and stay — they even offer room service!
At The Georgetown Pub, you will find an epically large menu with something to please everyone’s tastes. From pancakes and omelets to beef wellington and stuffed Yorkshire pudding, this pub has everything you could ask for and more.
Don’t miss out on Fish & Chips Tuesday if you plan to visit The Georgetown Pub. After all, this restaurant has been voted the Best Fist & Chips in Canmore for 11 years in a row.
And there you have it — nine awesome activities for families in Canmore and four of the best restaurant family-friendly restaurant experiences this little mountain town has to offer.
We hope you found this guide helpful in planning your trip to Canmore. Beyond what we have named here, there are countless other hiking and outdoor adventures to enjoy. Plus, Banff National Park is just 20 minutes away from Canmore, so make sure to take a visit to this famous park while you’re here!
Best of luck in planning your trip and we look forward to welcoming you to our mountain haven.