Canmore Runner is a fifty-something middle of the pack trail runner who is lucky enough to run on the stunning and varied trails of Canmore, the Bow Valley and beyond. This blog is dedicated to showcasing those trails and providing a resource for trail runners living in, or visiting, Canmore and the surrounding area.
In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, Canmore Runner honours and acknowledges the traditional lands of Treaty 7 Territory including the Stoney Nakoda Nations of Wesley, Chiniki and Bearspaw; three Nations of the Blackfoot Confederacy: the Pikani, Kainai, and Siksika; and the Tsuu T’ina of the Dene people; as well as the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
As trail running destinations go, Canmore and the Bow Valley are exceptional. The number, variety and accessibility of the trails is incredible, all set against the most stunning backdrops. The trails present a broad range of possibilities and challenges depending on what you’re after.
There is, for example, the epic, undulating High Line Trail, a short drive from town and accessible from Quarry Lake, with its magnificent views of Ha Ling and the East End of Rundle and across the valley to Lady Mac. There are various points at which you can join it but whichever you choose, be prepared for two or so lung-busting kilometres of climbing to get up there and a thrilling, brakes-off descent back down.
If you’re after something more gentle or serene, there are the trails along the banks of the beautiful Bow River, across the Old Railway Bridge, along Policeman’s Creek and the possibility of a fun, root strewn detour along the Larch Island hiking trail.
Across the valley, the Montane Traverse and Horseshoe Loop are popular with local trail runners and accessible from Cougar Creek. They offer a mix of climbs and undulating single track and fabulous views across to Ha Ling and Mount Rundle.
Outside of the ski season, for short, steep climbs among other challenges there’s the seemingly endless maze of trails that crisscross Canmore Nordic Centre provincial park. These provide the testing ground for such races as the Grizzly Ultra, Rundle’s Revenge and the Five Peaks and First 49 trail race series.
If you really want a challenge, there are the grinding ascents (and roaring descents) of the towering giants of Yamnuska, Ha Ling, East End of Rundle, Lady Mac and Grotto, all with summits well in excess of 2000m. For the masochistic, the last four of can be combined into the grueling (yet, strangely popular) 56km Canmore Quad.
Further afield, there’s the gentle 14km run to Banff from the Nordic Centre along the Banff and Rundle Riverside trails with the possibility of returning via Goat Creek, thereby circumnavigating Mount Rundle and putting some 40km or so in the bank – perfect for that weekly long run.
Or you could pick a section of the fast, rolling, 70km-long High Rockies Trail (here, here, here and here) that begins at Goat Creek and takes you deeper into beautiful Kananaskis Country, home also to the spectacular (one might even say, not-to-be-missed) Tent Ridge and Prairie View runs.
Talking of Banff, as Canada’s first national park, it is predictably the gateway to some spectacular trail runs, including Sulphur Mountain from the Cave and Basin, the shores of Lake Minnewanka and the more challenging (but oh so worth it) Mount Bourgeau and Cory-Edith Loop runs – both renowned for their daunting climbs at the beginning but which reward handsomely with breathtaking views of the Rockies and long, speedy, technical descents. And if you find yourself further west at Lake Louise, the Plain of Six Glaciers is a must.
All the runs profiled on the blog are presented in the table below. Click on the link and the corresponding blog post will open.
Canmore Runner can be contacted by leaving a comment on the blog or by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trail running routes profiled on Canmore Runner
|Route||Distance (KM)||Elevation (M)|
|Tunnel Mountain (OAB*)||4.4||250|
|Stoney Lookout Loop||4.5||393|
|East End of Rundle (OAB)||5.5||899|
|Ha Ling (OAB)||6||590|
|Bow River Loop||8||22|
|Lady Mac (OAB to helipad)||8||1000|
|High Rockies Trail (OAB from Goat Creek)||10||339|
|High Rockies Trail (OAB from Buller Mountain)||10||590|
|Tent Ridge Loop||10||879|
|Heart Mountain Loop||10||1000|
|Lady Mac (OAB to the summit)||10||1260|
|Grotto Mountain (OAB)||10||1429|
|Cory-Edith Pass Loop||12.5||1100|
|Prairie View-Jewell Pass Loop||16||980|
|Sulphur Mountain Loop from Cave and Basin||17||1250|
|Lake Minnewanka (OAB)||18||797|
|Mount Bourgeau (OAB)||24||1500|
|High Rockies Trail (OAB from Three Sisters Reservoir)||24||1395|
Disclaimer! Trail running can be a dangerous sport. Conditions in the mountains and on the trails can change rapidly and may be different than described on canmorerunner.com. While every effort has been made to present thorough information, its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Maps are provided for reference only and should not be used to substitute for more detailed topographic maps. Always be self-sufficient and prepared to deal with changing conditions and emergencies, as well as the possibility of a wildlife encounter. The Bow Valley is bear country and it’s advised to always carry bear spray (and know how to use it), make lots of noise and respect wildlife closures.