Camping around Canmore, Alberta: The best sites and hikes!

If you’re looking to camp around Canmore, Alberta, we’ve got some tips to make your stay an awesome one!

The best camping sites near Canmore? Here’s our favs:

(1) Bow River Campground

This campground is great if you can manage to get a spot along the river bed. In our opinion, if you can snag one of these spots it is one of the best places for tent camping near Canmore! However BEWARE: if you don’t reserve a spot, the only sites will likely be the sites along the highway. Because the campground is close to the highway, the car sounds will be loud here, which makes for not so pleasant stay. The sounds of car horns are not exactly…ahem…the best way to experience nature. So book ahead, otherwise it’s best to opt for alternative Canmore camping sites.

(TIP: Canmore camping reservations should be made as soon as possible as sites can fill up weeks or even months in advance during peak season)

(2)Three Sisters Campground

This is a good option if you are looking for tent camping IN Canmore (this is the closest site to downtown, only about 5km away). For those who want to be closer to shops and restaurants, it may be the right fit. The sites are relatively private and spacious. Keep in mind, there is no shower on site, however you can always shower at the Recreation Centre in town.

(3)Bow Valley Campground

Bow Valley offers without a doubt, some of the best Canmore camping. In fact, it offers some of the best camping in the Kananaskis area. The campground is situated along Bow River, and there’s some beautiful river side sites (again, make sure you book early). The campground has a walking trail and bike trail, as well as a camping store so you won’t need to rush into Canmore for camping supplies. The campground is about 15 minutes from downtown.

(TIP: If it’s available, book site A-39. It’s a gem!)

(4)Rafter Six Ranch

Rafter Six— yes we’ll make a shameless plug— is also a fantastic option for tent camping near Canmore. Canmore provincial park camping can be crowded, but you can escape the crowds here. Elevated Escapes luxury tents are a comfortable, easy and luxurious way to experience the outdoors. It’s a wonderful Canmore rent-a-tent option for both experienced and non-experienced campers.

“We googled 'Camping equipment Canmore' thinking that we’d have to rent a million pieces of individual equipment. Thankfully we stumbled across E.E. and saved ourselves the hassle, plus it was an amazing tipi camping experience!” -Jessica (California)

(TIP: If glamping Canmore isn’t your style, you can rent camping equipment in a Canmore camping store. Kananaskis Outfitters Rental Equipment is a good option!)

After you’ve picked your Canmore campground, you’ll want to make a hiking bucket-list that you can check off during your stay. Here’s three awesome hikes we highly recommend:

1) Tent Ridge

This Kananaskis hike is simply spectacular! Take the 10km loop and stand in awe at the giant peaks towering above you. This is what Kananaskis country is all about. Note there is some areas of scree, so this hike is moderately difficult. Also, make sure to pack lots of water (and leave in the morning if you can) because lots of the hike is not shaded

Length: 10.6km

Estimated Duration: 4.5 - 6 hours

(2) Rawson Lake and Sarrail Ridge

Looking for amazing Canmore photo locations? This hike will have the photographer in you drooling. If you do it in the spring time, there’s usually lots of beautiful flowers along the trail. For non-experienced hikers, you can just hike to the ridge. For those of you that want a challenge go all the way to the ridge (it’s a difficult trek)

Length: 6km to Rawson Lake, 10km to Sarrail Ridge

Estimated Duration: 3 - 3.5 hours return to Rawson Lake, 4 - 5 hours return to Sarrail Ridge

(3) Mount Lady McDonald

Calling all adventure seekers! This Canmore hike is a challenge. But well worth it if you’re up for a bit of sweat…and maybe a little tears? The top of the summit is breath-taking and well worth the energy required to make the 1117 m elevation gain. We don’t recommend going past the helipad as it gets dangerous past this point. You won’t need to because the views will be stunning right where you are!

Length: 7.4 km

Estimated Duration: 6 - 8 hours

Camping around Canmore, Alberta is an experience you’ll never forget. The hikes are spectacular, the town surroundings are peaceful and the camping sites in Canmore offer the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. (TIP: The best camping near Canmore is always done with the people we love—bring a blanket,snuggle by the bonfire and breath in gratitude!)