September 20, 2017
So you have a couple hours in Canmore to spare. There is no shortage of things to do. Browse the strip and check out local shops, hook up for a ride on one of the many mountain bike trails, drive the scenic Spray Lake Road or go for a swim down at Quarry Lake.
We have to say the Grassi Lakes hike would be the number one thing to do in Canmore if you have a couple of hours.
The hike starts just past the Nordic Centre, moments from downtown, and offers a parking lot with a lake, picnic ground, and good maps and signage for the trail.
Start up the duel track and hang left at the first intersection where the sign suggests an easy and a more difficult option. This is when things start to narrow down into a good old fashion single track mountain hiking trail. Trees give way for rock ledges as you begin your climb.
Fifteen minutes in, you arrive at the first lookout, which offers a stunning view of the town to your left, and a magnificent waterfall to your right.
The most technical part of the hike starts right after the first lookout. The trail starts to go up, with rock steps and railings to help you. There are also a few creek crossings, but we managed to keep our feet dry. It may be a different scenario in the spring thought.
The trail climbs with more views over looking Canmore, but finally hits a plateau that features two brilliant blue and green lakes. You can circle the stunning lakes, with water so clear they you see the fishes in them.
This spot is also a photographers dream. Everywhere you look is stunning and offers great pictures to be made.
You also get a great view of a massive wall, and if you are lucky, you may even catch a group of local climbers scaling their way up it.
On the same wall, there are a few small caves to explore and light remainders of pictographs.
At this point you can choose to turn around and take the same way down, or walk down on the fire access road. We choose the fire access road to make it a loop. The road goes straight down and is an easy walk. It doesn’t offer any views but is more sheltered from the wind and cold.
If you find yourself in Canmore, this would be what we say is the number one thing to do in town. The trail is easy and short enough for kids to enjoy, so go ahead, lace up the boots, grab some trail mix and an apple, and hike up to Grassi Lakes.