Most people typically fall into one category or the other when it comes to enjoying the outdoors in the Rockies. They either love the winters with the beauty of white snow against a backdrop of jagged peaks, or they go all out for summers when the animals are roaming, rivers are flowing and trails are ready for bikes and runners.
The great thing about being only a few hours away from Canmore is that you can enjoy all of these things year round. Tucked away a short 40 minute drive from Calgary, you have the best of city living with great golf courses, fitness studios and some of Canada’s best restaurants. You also have the quiet solitude of being in nature and you don’t have to venture far outside the town to find what you are looking for.
Hotels in Canmore are starting to get pricier, but the amenities that are included in many make it worth the cost. With unobstructed views of the Three Sisters range, The Malcolm Hotel was our home for 3 days this summer. With stunning mountain views and a peaceful location. Canmore’s crown jewel features 124 guest rooms, a private dining room, conference space and meeting rooms close to downtown Canmore. The Spring Creek location offers walking and biking trails and if you’re looking for a workout, their fitness centre has every piece of equipment you need.
Besides the beautiful suite we stayed in with morning views of the mountains, the outdoor pool is where we spent most of our time while at the hotel. It was a great way to entertain our 13 year old son and with the 2 hot tubs, was great to relax tired muscles and enjoy a beverage or 2 after some of the activities we got up to.
After checking in, we headed for lunch over at Blondies. A perfect stop for breakfast or lunch or just for a snack mid-day after a ride or hike, the menu items are fresh and healthy. If you’re looking for some quick options that won’t break the bank and meet your healthy eating lifestyle, this is the place. The Harvest Chicken and Lavender Lemonade are highly recommended.
Our next stop was something we’ve always wanted to do when we come to Canmore but surprisingly never made it in. We use their products at home and wanted to show our son how the Rocky Mountain Soap Company makes the products we have throughout the house. We weren’t sure how he would take it as he was ready for a bike and hike but he was taken in by the whole process.
Their team took a group of us on a tour of the production facility sharing details about how their 100% all natural products are created and the attention to detail and sourcing of ingredients used from start to finish. At the end we were treated to some product to take home with us and the scents that emanate throughout our house when using them are amazing.
Like most Albertan’s, we’re big supporters of local businesses. When we travel, we prefer to shop at local brands rather than the big chains and help the small business owners in the area. We’re also big supporters of living a healthy lifestyle that includes having an “adult beverage” or two after a hard day of play.
We stopped in for a tasting at Raw Distillery to sample their gins which we’ve grown to enjoy after a recent visit to Edinburgh where we found out there was more than the typical 3-4 brands of gin typically found in Edmonton. We followed that up with a visit to Canmore Brewing Company to see what goes into the brewing process. As a science nerd myself, I loved the chance to learn more about the process while Mrs YEG Fitness enjoyed the sampling after….
To cap the day off, we were treated to a tasting menu at The Sensory. Head chef Tracy Little was born and raised in Northern Alberta, where she learned the facts of life in hunting, fishing, and foraging that accompanied them. Her father was a farmer and a forester and she soaked up information from him as she began her culinary career.
Each plate included many locally sourced ingredients with an offering that changes regularly. Attention to quality ingredients and every detail is evident from the minute you walk into the room. With expansive views of the Rockies to the south it is a stunning way to enjoy some great food. The sommelier paired each of our courses with a great assortment of organic wines to make the evening one to remember.
A wellness weekend has to include a few opportunities for a sweat. Mrs YEG Fitness began her Saturday with a visit to Studio B Canmore where owner Tara Newbigging lead a BooTy class. As a ‘unique Brand’, BooTy is an inspiring women’s-only, barefoot fitness program designed to unleash the participants potential in their mind, body and soul. The BooTy program combines athletic movement with powerful music creating a perfect balance between intensity and fun. It allows women of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to feel strong and empowered to live their most authentic lives.
A breakfast bagel with fresh juice and coffee were great to refuel before heading out for some afternoon adventures. Rocky Mountain Bagel Co has been a staple in Canmore for years and it doesn’t look like this will change anytime soon based on how busy it was. That’s not a bad thing as the crowd thins out quickly as the staff does a great job getting food out hot, fresh and fast.
We love Jasper, but a trip to Banff seems more our place. We love big city life with all the amenities and things to do. Our idea of a fun holiday is going to a big city like London or Paris and taking in the sites and history and eating some great food. I think this is why we like Banff and Canmore so much.
Before lunch, we headed into Banff for a hike. Lake Minnewanka is just a short 20-30 min drive from Canmore and is a beautiful way to spend a sunny afternoon. The hike is very tame and achievable by all fitness abilities and the views are phenomenal. It does get busy in the afternoons so we’d suggest hitting the area earlier in the day so you can enjoy a peaceful walk in the woods.
Dinner that night was at the Stirling Grill back at the hotel. Its ambiance and design reflects the pageantry, royalty and heritage of past Scottish King – Malcolm III, who is also known as Canmore’s namesake. The menu selections have tastes of this Scottish character with choices like Cullen Skink and Cranachan Parfait. We ordered the Ribeye and Venison and were very happy with both.
Our final day began with one of the most popular hikes people go on when they visit Canmore. Grassi Lakes offer easy, family friendly hiking near the main town nestled beneath Ha Ling Peak and Mount Lawrence Grassi.
The hike is very popular and will likely be very busy on warm days year round. Avoiding mid-day, and hiking in the cooler temperatures of morning or evening may help with parking and improve your ability to enjoy of this beautiful place.
The 4.2 km trail can be done back and forth along the easier elevation, interpretive trail or as a loop in either direction which will employ the steeper trail option.
Before heading back to Edmonton, we stopped in at Tank310 for lunch. Embracing the craft beer culture, their executive chef has developed an approachable menu featuring Alberta beef, forno fired flatbreads, seasonally fresh salads along with savoury classics. The menu is designed to pair well with Blonde Ales, full bodied IPAs, innovative Lagers or their Signature Barrel finished beers.
With so much to do and beautiful scenery to back it up, we’re sure this won’t be our last visit to Canmore. Whether you’re heading there for a family weekend or a vacation with a few friends or your significant other, there is so much to keep your days active and your nights enjoyable.