Hoping to visit a winter wonderland this year? Canmore, Alberta, Canada is a fantastic place to consider. This town is filled with beautiful nature, fun festivals, and cool breweries. Simply put, there’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Canmore in winter.
Here’s our list:
1. Enjoy a Grotto Canyon Ice Walk Tour
The Grotto Canyon Ice Walk Tour is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Canmore in winter. On this four-hour tour, you’ll follow a frozen creek through a snow-covered canyon and pass dozens of frozen waterfalls. It’s absolutely magical!
By far, the most popular Grotto Canyon Ice Walk Tour is run by Banff Tours. Not only does this tour take you through the gorgeous landscape, but your expert guide will also point out ancient native pictographs that most visitors miss when hiking on their own. To top off your adventure, you’ll also get to enjoy hot chocolate and maple cookies!
2. Pop by the Canmore Winter Carnival
If you happen to be in town during the Canmore Winter Carnival, you’ll definitely want to pop by. After all, it’s one of the best things to do in Canmore in winter.
The Canmore Winter Carnival showcases all of the best things about winter. You can watch ice carving competitions, play a few games of pick-up ice hockey, join in on a beaver tail eating competition, and watch the adorable Snowy Owl Kid N’ Mutt races. And all of that is just the start!
In addition to all of these annual activities, the Canmore Winter Carnival also adds a few new things every year. Past years have included a Found Object Snowman Challenge and a Winter Scavenger Hunt.
The Canmore Winter Carnival typically takes place at some point in February.
3. Test Your Ice Climbing Skills
Ice climbing is sort of like the winter version of rock climbing – on a frozen waterfall. In other words, it’s one of the most difficult sports in the world.
But if you decide to put in the effort and try your hand at ice climbing, it’ll be worth it. As you scale a gorgeous, frozen waterfall, you’ll feel like a warrior! And with dozens of waterfalls in Canmore, you’ll have loads of ice climbing spots to choose from.
Unless you’re an experienced ice climber, we recommend booking a tour for your Canmore ice climbing adventure. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, Ridgeline Guiding Services, and Sawback Alpine Adventures are all great options.
4. Learn How to Make Vodka During the Wildlife Distillery Tour
But not all of the things to do in Canmore in winter revolve around snow and ice. A tour of the Wildlife Distillery is a great way to break up your time outside in the chilly winter weather.
Wildlife Distillery specializes in vodka, but it also makes other forms of alcohol, including gin and whiskey. You can learn all about how Wildlife Distillery came to be and what the distilling process entails. And you’ll even be able to sample a few of the locally made vodkas, gins, and whiskeys!
By the end of your time at Wildlife Distillery, you’ll definitely want to buy a bottle or two to take home with you.
5. Go Snowshoeing
If you think hiking is just for the warmer months of the year, think again! You can simply strap on your snowshoes and tackle many of the same trails. The only difference (besides the winter chill, of course) is that you’ll get to see snow-covered views instead of plant-laden ones.
Some of the best snowshoe trails in Canmore include Chester Lake, Grassi Lake, Troll Falls and Prairie Mountain. These hikes showcase incredible lakes, mountains, waterfalls, and more – all in their winter wonderland glory!
6. Try Fat Biking
If snowshoeing isn’t your winter sport of choice, you can try fat biking instead. Fat biking is essentially biking through snow. As you can imagine, this is quite difficult, but the fatter tires ease the strain a little bit. And like snowshoeing, fat biking follows year-round biking trails to some of the most amazing views in Canmore.
There are quite a few places to fat bike in Canmore. For paths that are well taken care of, the Canmore Nordic Centre is a fantastic place to go. For intermediate level riding and amazing views, check out the Cougar Creek/Horseshoe Loop. And if you want to push yourself to the limit with an advanced fat biking trail, Goat Creek Trail is an awesome option.
7. Join Some Furry Friends for a Dog Sled Ride
Dog sledding is one of the most exciting things to do in Canmore in winter. These talented huskies will race you across the frozen surface of the lake at thrilling speeds! And your furry friends won’t be the only ones having fun. You’ll likely have a smile on your face the entire time too!
The most popular dog sledding company in Canmore is Snowy Owl Dog Sledding Tours.
8. Take a Tour of the Rocky Mountain Soap Company
Despite the fact that we’ve included ice climbing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding on this list of things to do in Canmore in winter, there are some cool indoor activities in Canmore as well. One of our favorites is touring the Rocky Mountain Soap Company.
During this tour, you’ll be able to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the soap-making process. And at the end of this experience, adult guests will receive a $20 gift card (or a $5 gift card for kids) to spend on the 100% natural Rocky Mountain Soap Company products.
9. Play a Pick Up Game of Ice Hockey on the Canmore Pond
One of the coolest things to do in Canmore in winter is head to the Canmore Pond and join in on a game of pick up ice hockey. Just two blocks away from Main Street, Canmore Pond is sort of like a winter hotspot in town. This means that there’s almost always a fun pickup hockey game taking place. And if you’d prefer ice skating to ice hockey, you can do that at Canmore Pond as well.
While the Canmore Pond is the most popular place for ice hockey and ice skating, there are other places in town where you can enjoy these winter sports, including Cougar Creek Boarded Ice Rink, Peaks Park Ice Surface, and Rundle Crescent Ice Surface.
10. Head to a Local Brewery
After a day filled with winter sports, one of the most wonderful things to do is warm up in a local brewery and sip on a fantastic beer. Luckily for you, Canmore has its fair share of fantastic breweries.
Canmore Brewing Company and The Grizzly Paw Brewing Co. are two of our favorite breweries in Canmore. Canmore Brewing Company is known for its fantastic brews and array of food trucks. But if you’d prefer consistent classic pub food to go along with incredible beers, head to The Grizzly Paw Brewing Co. instead.
11. Play a Game of Trivia at Tavern 1883
If you want to combine your night out with some fun trivia, head to Tavern 1883. Every Wednesday, Tavern 1883 hosts a trivia night and becomes the most popular place in town. If you’re lucky enough, you can even win cool prizes and gift cards!
So what are you waiting for? Refresh your trivia knowledge and head to Tavern 1883 for a fun night of drinks, snacks, and games!
12. Go Spelunking
While most visitors to Canmore in winter spend most of their time outside in the snow, only a few think to head underground for a bit of spelunking.
Canmore is home to Rat’s Nest Cave, an undeveloped cave beneath Grotto Mountain. And since this cave consistently stays at 4 degrees Celsius throughout the year, it might even be a little warmer than it is outside!
While on your subterranean adventure, there are so many things to see. You can take in the vastness of the Grand Gallery, attempt the challenge squeeze, and everything in between! It’s certainly a unique Canmore adventure.
Canmore Cave Tours and Banff Adventures are the only two companies that offer spelunking tours of Rat’s Nest Cave.
13. Experience Canmore from the Air
After you’ve explored subterranean Canmore, why not experience the town from the air as well? Alpine Helicopter Tours is the only company in Canmore that offers this thrilling adventure. Choose between a fifteen-minute, thirty-minute, or one-hour helicopter tour.
During your exciting helicopter experience, you’ll get to enjoy stunning views of Canmore’s beautiful, snow-capped mountains. You’ll even get to see many of Canmore’s most amazing sights from above, including the Marvel Pass, Mount Assiniboine, and The Three Sisters.
But Alpine Helicopter Tours’ offers don’t end with basic helicopter tours. If you like, you can also try heli-skiing or even a heli wedding!
Well, there you have it! A fantastic list of the things to do in Canmore in winter. Are there any other activities that we should add to this list? Let us know in the comments!