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Famous for its stunning natural beauty, Canmore really is a paradise for an outdoorsy person! After one trip here, I’m sure you’ll see why it’s one of my favorite towns to explore in the Canadian Rocky Mountains
Just about everywhere you go, you will be treated to stunning mountain, forest, and river views. There are truly so many things to do in Canmore, Alberta, and cozy places to stay, so you’ll have a good balance of adventure and relaxation. We lived in Canmore for a while and spent lots of time exploring the region and seeing which types of tours are on offer!
So to help you narrow down the top experiences and tours in Canmore, we’ve put together this guide. It’s a complete list of our favorite tours in Canmore which we hope will help you when planning your next trip!
Our Top Picks for Tours in Canmore
If you were to ask us what our favorite experiences were while exploring everything that Canmore has to offer, these two tours instantly come to mind:
- Best adventure tour – This Canmore caving experience is sure to leave a deep (pun intended!) and lasting impression. After all, how often do you get to explore the beauty of the underground world?
- Best budget tour – Learn all about Canmore’s incredible history without breaking the bank on this 1.5-hour private tour.
- Best wildlife tour – From elk to mountain goats and so much more, you can see all kinds of amazing wildlife in Canmore on this 6-hour wildlife safari!
The BEST Tours in Canmore, Alberta
1. Canmore caving adventure tour
The Rocky Mountains have a ton of natural beauty to be explored above ground, but for adventurers looking for something a bit different, why not head underground? This 6-hour Canmore caving adventure tour takes you through the beautiful yet mysteriously named Rat’s Nest Cave.
This was easily one of my favorite tours in Canmore, which is why it’s first on our list! The guides were great, cracking jokes the whole time and making the entire experience lighthearted and fun. They also knew exactly how to deal with people who were a bit more nervous and made the entire group comfortable.
All caving gear was included, such as coveralls, helmets, and climbing gear, but be sure to wear good running shoes and dress for the cooler underground temperatures.
You will start your experience underground with an 18-meter (59-foot) rappel into the cave – I loved this part! You then spend an impressive 4.5 hours exploring underground. A true adventure, this tour requires a good amount of physical fitness, as you can expect to squeeze through some narrow sections and crawl through others to reach the different chambers.
In the end, you will be rewarded with an area called The Grotto which has a stunning clear pool of water and a bunch of impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
If you’re looking for a slightly shorter tour, this Canmore Explorer Tour is another great option. Run by the same company, this 4.5-hour tour is slightly cheaper at $149 CAD per person. Less rugged but still very thrilling, this tour explores the same Rat’s Nest Cave but skips the rappel and some of the more advanced sections in the tour.
The full 6-hour tour costs $199 CAD per person, plus you can choose between two departure times and have up to 3 days before the experience to cancel with a full refund if your plans change. You can book your caving adventure tour here!
2. 3-hour river stand-up paddling in Canmore
If you find yourself exploring the Canadian Rocky Mountains during the warmer summer months, you’ll also have many aquatic activities to choose from! One of my favorite things to do is go paddleboarding on the rivers and lakes in the Rockies. These alpine waters, while crisp, are clean and clear as glass, providing some of the best views you can imagine.
This 3-hour river paddleboarding tour takes you down the Bow River and the Kananaskis River, a scenic tributary to the Bow River. You’ll take in many of the sights as you go, such as the beautiful mountain range and the lush alpine forests.
Paddleboarding down a river is a bit different than a lake, as you will have a current that is moving you along, keeping the tour interesting even for experienced paddlers. The Bow River is one of the nicest places I’ve paddleboarded, with the chill but stunning turquoise waters making it seem as if we were traveling through a tropical paradise.
You will surely be impressed with incredible views of the Ha Ling Peak, the famous Three Sisters, and the Rundle Mountains. This afternoon paddle starts at 1 pm and costs $159 CAD. You will meet at the boat launch parking lot in Canmore and be guided by a certified river guide.
This tour only takes place on select days of the week, so don’t forget to check availability and book your tour in advance.
Related Read: You’ll find scenic views around every corner, even when you’re stopping for a coffee at a cozy café in Canmore!
3. Cowboys and coal miners local history tour
Starting from a humble mining town, Canmore sure has come a long way since it was founded in 1884! But even after all these years, the history of the coal miners and pioneers who built the town can be seen to this day, you just have to ‘dig’ a little!
This 1.5-hour private tour is the best way to experience this history for yourself, as you explore local trails, stop by scenic landmarks, and get to know Canmore from a whole new perspective. You’ll be joined by your friendly local guide, who will be happy to share all kinds of interesting stories, facts, and folktales that have been passed down through generations.
It’s definitely a tour to bring your camera for, Engine Bridge is an awesome location that’s easily worth a photo (or five!). But we won’t spoil all of the other fun spots you’ll find along the way, and for a 1.5-hour tour, you’ll quickly get more photos than you can count.
So if you’re looking for a fun and insightful way to get to know Canmore (one that can easily fit in a busy schedule!), then this tour might just be for you. Tickets start from $46 CAD per person, which is fantastic value, and you can book your spot here with 24-hour free cancellation.
4. Nature by Nightfall tour
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Canmore at night, you have to try this Nature by Nightfall Tour. This 2-hour tour starts just before the sun sets and, in my opinion, is a must-do during your trip to Canmore.
Take advantage of the remote location away from city lights and marvel at all the beauty of the night sky. Stargazing in the Rocky Mountains is a fantastic experience, as the lack of light pollution in the area gives you truly impressive views of all the stars in the sky.
Our guide, Jacob, was very friendly and knowledgeable about the area. You could feel how comfortable he was, as he described his experiences growing up there. You’ll start by meeting at the Canmore Recreation Centre, be sure to arrive early as the tour leaves promptly just before sunset. You’ll be provided with hiking poles, headlamps, and ice cleats for your comfort.
While the start time says 6 pm, sunset hours can vary depending on the time of year, so you will be contacted by the company with a more accurate start time. I’d consider it an easy tour in terms of physical demands. While you will be walking, there aren’t any steep hills or super rugged terrain to navigate.
As this tour is designed to happen after nightfall, be sure to dress appropriately, including good hiking boots and layers. While you probably won’t be lugging along a telescope, I highly recommend bringing along a camera, and even binoculars if you have them!
Make sure to take a look at the weather report during your trip and plan your tour accordingly, as going on a clear night will make your experience much more enjoyable. You can still book ahead of time, as you have up to 24 hours prior to your tour leaving to cancel if you find yourself in bad weather or can’t make it.
The tour is available to anyone 8 years of age and older and costs $74 CAD per person. Whether you’re an astrologist at heart, or simply love to admire the beauty of the night sky, you can browse dates and secure your spot here.
5. Dog sledding
A truly unique Canadian experience is taking a fun and super cute dog sledding tour! In Canmore, these are operated by Howling Dog Tours.
If you are looking for an exciting way to explore the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains in the winter, a dog sledding tour is a must! These tours explore the stunning Spray Lakes Provincial Park, about a 30-minute drive from Canmore.
Both tours have a tour guide on every sled and can accommodate two adults with the possibility of adding a third passenger (typically a child) depending on space. Between 5-7 beautiful huskies will pull you along on this trip, depending on sled weight.
The tours include round-trip transport from Canmore and a snack and hot beverage along the way. This traditional Canadian way of travel is one of the coolest ways to explore wilderness trails.
I love that both of these tours allow you to help set the huskies up, harness them, and get them ready for the ride through the backcountry of the Bow Valley. You can choose how involved you’d like to be with the dogs, they even give you the option to take the lead for a while and drive the sled if you’d like. The whole experience is very relaxing and is one of my favorite things to do in Canmore during the winter.
The half-day, 3.5 – 4-hour dog sled tour is available to travelers 10 years of age and older between mid-January to March. With a transfer from Canmore, you will be picked up at 11 a.m. and head out deep into the backcountry. It costs $580 CAD per person.
For those who are a little tighter for time, the 2-hour dog sledding tour has multiple departure times and is offered to guests 2 years of age and older. Tour dates begin in December through to April and will take you on a 5 km (3 mile) each way trail through the backcountry. This tour costs $270 CAD in the low season and $279 CAD in the high season.
Related Read: If you’re coming from Calgary, the drive from Calgary to Canmore is packed with so many fun things to do!
6. Half-day Canadian Rockies canyon exploration
If you want to feel really small, this half-day canyon exploration tour is sure to do the trick. You can choose between three morning departure times before heading out on a 3-4 hour hike through the awe-inspiring canyon. This narrow rock creek bed makes for a beautiful place to explore and is one of the relatively easy treks near Canmore suitable for those 12 years and older.
You are likely to pass rock climbers on this trek, as the steep rocky sides provide some great terrain for them to climb. My favorite thing about this tour was learning about the history of the area from our guide.
As the canyon has steep rock walls on either side, you will likely spend a lot of your time in the shade. Dress accordingly in warm layers and a waterproof jacket and be sure to bring your camera.
You will also be navigating along rocks and uneven terrain, so I highly recommend hiking boots that secure your ankle. We were offered free snacks and ice cleats to help us navigate the area comfortably.
The price of this tour varies depending on the number of people who book, so bring your friends along for the best deal! The price for one person is $180 CAD but drops to $90 CAD each if booking for two people. Booking for three drops it to $80 CAD each, while booking for between 5 – 8 people will bring the cost down to $65 CAD per person.
Why We Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
7. Canmore Clue Solving Adventure
Who’s up for putting on their detective hats and going on this Canmore clue solving adventure? Scooby and the gang might not be able to join us for this one, but that’s ok, as the friendly folks at Cluesolvers have got you covered. Lasting about an hour and a half, this tour is truly unique, and if you fancy an experience you can enjoy with the whole family, this is it!
The best way I can describe it is that it’s a bit like if you took an escape room and combined it with a scavenger hunt to make a pretty sweet challenge that’s set right in Canmore. For us, the best part is that it’s an amazing introduction to Canmore town if you haven’t had the time yet to explore it, and if you already have, chances are you’ll visit places you didn’t even know existed!
While this particular tour is all about solving a 100-year-old smuggling mystery, they also run similar style tours with different themes, like this country-themed Canmore adventure and this mystery about saving a local opera singer – now that’s what we call creative fun.
Tickets for this tour cost just $79 CAD per team of up to 5 people, so it’s also a pretty affordable way to explore with friends or family. You can read more and book your spot over on their website here.
8. Into the Rockies – 6-hour wildlife safari drive
If you love the diverse Canadian wildlife as much as we do and want to see some of the incredible animals in the area, Canmore is the perfect place to do it! This private full-day wildlife safari tour is a fantastic option for individual groups of 2-6 people.
The Rocky Mountains are known as bear country, being home to both black bears and grizzlies. But that is just scratching the surface – the area is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including moose, bighorn sheep, foxes, cougars, elk, coyotes, lynx, mountain goats, wolves, and more.
I highly recommend bringing your camera along on this tour – trust me, you will want it! If snapping pictures of the wildlife isn’t enough, the views you will have from both the drive and hike are sure to impress.
The tour leaves at 9 am from the Canmore Recreation Centre so be sure to arrive early. You will spend 2.5 hours on a safari drive through the Rocky Mountains where your guide will point out animals along the way.
You will also enjoy a 1.5-hour nature walk tracking some of the stunning wildlife in the area. The walk is fairly easy and suitable for families. It is more geared towards the scenery than heart-pumping exercise. You will be provided with hiking poles and, if needed, ice cleats to go over your shoes.
You have up to 24 hours ahead of time to cancel when booking and this tour is private, meaning only your group will participate and the price varies based on the size of your group. If there are two people in your group, prices are $275 CAD each. This price continues to drop the more people you bring; if you book for a group of 5 people, the price moves to $155 CAD each.
9. Canyons and Cave Paintings Hiking Tour
Speaking of history, the mountains of Canmore town are full of it too – you just have to know where to look! And what better way to discover secret cave paintings and explore rugged terrain than on this 2.5-hour canyon hiking experience?
We’ll be leaving behind the Lonely Planet guidebooks for this one and heading out to trails that have been explored by the locals. It’s safe to say that you’ll want to keep your phone/camera handy at all times, you never know when you’ll want to snap that next great pic.
One thing I love about this tour is that you can easily fit it into a busy schedule, as there are multiple departure times throughout the late morning to early afternoon. Plus, something I always look out for is small-group tours, as I think you tend to get a more intimate and personal experience on these types of tours. Lucky us, then, as this tour is capped at just 12 people!
You’ll also be provided with ice cleats and hiking poles to help you navigate the trickier parts of canyon trails, but with that said, anyone with a moderate level of physical fitness can give this one a go.
Tickets for this tour cost $89 CAD per person, so it’s also budget-friendly! In order to grab the date you want, we recommend checking in advance and booking your spot online here.
10. Guided e-bike tour of Canmore
If you’re looking for a great way to see the city of Canmore and the stunning surrounding area, this guided e-bike tour around Canmore is a super efficient way to do so!
The tour lasts about 3 hours and takes you on a 15 km (9 mile) trip around the area. The entire bike ride is picturesque from start to finish, with some of the most beautiful nature views you can imagine. While you do travel a long distance, the ride is mostly flat and the e-bikes help power your journey, making the bike ride more about enjoying the scenery than having your thighs burn.
Be sure to bring your camera along for this bike ride, as you will have lots of opportunities to stop and capture all the beauty you are seeing. Along the way, you’ll see a truly stunning mountain backdrop and will spend time biking along the clear Bow River. You’ll then cross Engine Bridge, which I mentioned earlier and was originally built in 1891 by the Canadian Pacific Railway to serve the coal mine.
You will travel in groups of 2 to 7 bikers, with a minimum of two travelers per booking. The cost for the tour is $122 CAD per person and includes a guide to take you, the e-bike, and helmet rental.
All bikers must be at least 5 feet (152 cm) tall to use the bikes. This tour does book up in the summer months, and you have up to 24 hours before the tour to cancel if you need to, so we recommend booking in advance!
Where to Stay in Canmore
Canmore is a popular destination year-round, with travelers coming from across the world to take in the beautiful surroundings. It’s only right then that there is a fantastic and diverse hotel scene to explore as well!
Having spent a lot of time staying at many different hotels here, I’ve separated the good from the bad to bring you the ones worth considering! Three of the best hotels in Canmore include:
Canmore Rocky Mountain Inn – $
This is a fantastic option for travelers on a budget and is within easy walking distance of town. Canmore Rocky Mountain Inn is far enough from the town center that you can avoid the crowds, and if it’s seriously cold, then you can quite easily get a cab from the hotel.
Rooms here start at $147 CAD per night but can rise further in the busy season, so it’s a good idea to reserve your room ahead of time here.
Coast Canmore Hotel – $$
Coast Canmore is a great mid-range hotel that is also only a short walk from town. It’s also a destination we’ve repeatedly returned to, thanks to how nice the staff and overall experience are. The on-site restaurant is a big plus, catering to a variety of dietary requirements.
Take it from us, though, you can’t miss out on the hot tub! Rooms here start from $194 CAD and you can check availability here.
Malcolm Hotel by CLIQUE – $$$
If budget isn’t a cause for concern on your trip, then why not treat yourself to a lavish stay at The Malcolm Hotel. This hotel is situated right in the heart of the town, yet has beautiful natural views, as well as a fantastic outdoor pool. Those traveling during the winter season will be pleasantly surprised by just how low the rates can be!
A one-night stay at The Malcolm Hotel starts as low as $383 CAD and you can secure your room here.
Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!
We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.
They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!
Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)
Renting a Car in Alberta
If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Renting a car will definitely make exploring all of the fun things to see and do in Alberta easier.
Car rental in Canada isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Thanks for reading!
When you are in a place as beautiful as the Canadian Rocky Mountains, getting out to explore your surroundings is an absolute must! Canmore is one of our favorite places to visit, as there is so much to see and do both above ground, and below. Hopefully, you’ve found a tour (or two!) that’s calling your name.
We hope this guide to the best tours in Canmore helps you plan an epic vacation through the Rockies. We’re confident that your camera will be your closest companion along the way! Don’t forget to check out more of our blogs about Canada, including: