5 things to do while camping in Kananaskis country

Updated: Mar 22, 2019

Campgrounds in Kananaskis, Alberta are beautiful! But odds are that during your trip you are going to want to venture off the campgrounds and explore all the region has to offer. When you do, don't miss out on these 5 activities:

Elevated Escapes, Kananaskis glamping

1) Take Kananaski Wildlife Drive

Camping around Canmore means you’ll likely have an opportunity to see some northern wildlife. However, if you want to increase your chances of spotting these Canadian creatures, take Kananasksis Wildlife Drive.

This drive takes you on a three hour, 150km loop starting in Canmore into Kananaskis village. Along the way, there’s several pullout spots where you can get out of your car and enjoy the scenic view or take pictures of any animals you may see. (For those interested in Canmore backcountry camping, you’ll note that some campers hike into the bush from here).

There’s some beautiful picnic areas along this road to stop for lunch. You can also make a pit stop to Mount Engadine Lodge. Here you can have tea and watch moose wander into nearby meadows. For best chances of seeing a moose, go in the evening. (We strongly believe that the best Canmore camping experiences involve moose sightings. These creatures are magnificent and they are jaw droppingly large when you see them in person)

Other animals you may spot? Deer, elk, mountain goats, black bears, grizzly bears, lynx, cougars, coyotes, and more.

Note: The mountain goats are especially cute!

Also note: The Grizzy Bears are especially large and powerful. (This is why we highly recommend refreshing yourself on bear safety before your trip— especially for those of you Canmore tent camping)

2) Take a Romantic Picnic at Burstall Pass

Most campgrounds in Kananaskis, Alberta have picnic tables at every campsite. But why not get a little more adventurous? Instead of eating lunch at your site, pack a day pack & picnic blanket and head to Burstall Pass. You can find the trailhead 75 minutes south of Canmore on Highway 742 (Chester Lake Trailhead).

Burstall Pass

The full hike can take up to 4-6 hours, but you can do just part of it and still get some awesome scenic views. Tip: Make sure to bring bear spray with you. If you’re camping near Canmore, you should probably pick some up anyway.

Like the sound of the picnic, but not the sound of the hike? There’s also some great Canmore picnic sites. Our favourite? Quarry Lake (see bottom left photo).

This spot has beautiful mountain views, a sand beach and a lake you can take a dip in on a hot day. This spot is especially great for families. Just note that it can sometimes get busy on warm, summer days so show up early to get a good spot. For those of you who are RV camping near Canmore, there is a parking lot where you park your RV. The lot has the capacity for about 60 vehicles.

Camping around Canmore means that you’ll have some great options when it comes to picking up food. Not interested in packing a home-made picnic spread? (That’s okay…you’re on vacation). Here are some great ‘picnic to go’ options:

Canmore pizza places: Red Rock Pizza or Canadian Pizza Unlimited

Canmore burger places: Tavern 1883 or Craig’s Way Station

Canmore grocery stores: Evoolution or Safeway Canmore

3) Bring a Hammock on Grassi Lakes Hike

Looking to relax but want to switch up the scenery? Instead of just going on a normal hike, grab a hammock (and perhaps a book). Didn’t bring one? Canmore camping stores sell them, but you can pick up a cheaper one at the Canadian tire that will also do the trick! For those of you glamping Kananaskis, we can give you a free portable hammock that you can bring with you in your day pack.

Grassi Lakes is a great spot for this activity because it’s quite an easy hike. If you’re feeling extra lazy, you can park at White Man’s Pond and walk down to Grassi Lakes instead of starting at the trailhead and walking up. You can trek towards the lake to sneak views of the waterfall. Instead of rushing to complete the hike, venture a bit off trail and set up your hammock between two trees.

Take time to relax and soak in nature! This is how camping Canmore Kananaskis was meant to be done!

The Joys of Tent Camping, Canmore Alberta

4) Paddle Board in Bow Valley Provincial Park –

Luckily for those who are camping by Canmore or the general Kananaskis region, your site will likely not be far from a beautiful water source! Bow Valley SUP offers both gear rentals and lessons for those of you wanting to try stand up paddle boarding. Classes are offered Saturdays and Sundays, while rentals are offered all days of the week. It’s a fairly decent deal: rentals are $30 for three hours

For those of you RV camping in Canmore and worried about being unable to strap in the boards to the vehicle, they also offer inflatable boards that come with a pump. You can toss this into your RV and you’re good to go.

Where to go with your board? Our recommendation is Spray Lakes Reservoirs as there’s lots of space on the water, and stunning mountain views! (Site note: Spray Lakes Campground, which is not far from here is, in our opinion, one of the best spots for camping Canmore Kananaskis!)

5) Try White-Water Rafting

Looking for a thrill? Try a float trip down some Bow river rapids. There’s a few companies that offer this but our recommendation would be Kananaskis Whitewater Rafting (KWR) which is located near Bow Valley Campground (Canmore= about 15 minutes away). KWR offer 3 levels of trips, so it is a family friendly activity that non-experienced Rafters can try! Tip: Leave your sunglasses at home!

For those staying at the Canmore campground Bow River, you’ll quickly see how tantalizing this gorgeous water source looks. Far too tempting to not give it a try! And for those of you staying at Bow Valley Campground Canmore, you can actually sign up from the campground store on site. Finally, for those glamping in Kananaskis with Elevated Escapes, we can help you arrange a tour if you like

Campgrounds in Kananaskis, Alberta place you in the perfect position to explore the whole Rocky Mountain region with relatively minimal driving time. By camping near Canmore AB, you not only escape the Banff tourist crowds, you immerse yourself in activities that those only sticking to Banff National Park miss out on!

Camping Canmore Kananaskis: Elevated Escapes glamping tent

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