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Bow River Trail

  • Difficulty
  • 11.8km
  • 60m
  • 1 - 4h
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Walking along the Bow River is one of the best family-friendly trails in Canmore, and a great way to explore the Bow Valley and Bow River. Start in Downtown Canmore and wander up or down river, with great views and a fine path. Great hike for those with strollers.

Getting there

Park downtown or in Three Sisters. Wander along the pathway as long as your legs will take you.


Total Gain: 60m


Type of Hike Circuit
Crowd Levels Moderate
Route Signage Good
Toilets Downtown Canmore
Family Friendly Yes
Backcountry Campgrounds No
When to Do All Year

 Detailed Description

This is a favorite hike with families, as the path is mostly paved and easy to navigate with a stroller. The pathway system stretches along the Bow River from Three Sisters all the way up to Larch Island in the North.

The distance we show is an out-and back route, though you can do less if that’s too far.  Some families do this as a one-way hike, parking a car at either end.

We prefer to park in Three Sisters on Drygas Gate. The Three Sisters pathway initially cuts between houses on the right and a pretty forest on the left. Cross Fitzgerald Rise after 300m and then continue down to the crossing of the Three Sisters Parkway (1.15km). From here you can take the easy path to the left or descend to the river and enter the forest for a wonderful walk along the water. Follow this route and eventually come to a stream before rejoining the main trail (2.5km). Continue along the path, eventually climbing a rise in a series of switchbacks and coming into more open country.

Come down the hill and you’ll notice a milky white lake on your right. Depending on the wind, you may smell it before you see it. You’ll continue on an open meadow path and then come back close to the river (4.25km) in one of our favorite locations for a portrait in Canmore, with the Bow flowing to the north flanked by mountains on either side of the valley.

The path is evident, though with some branching’s running off. Continue ahead and eventually you come to a large open field with a playground at the far end. Cross this field then walk through a gate down a path and rejoin the Bow River. From here you can see the bridge you will cross to get into downtown Canmore. On the other side of the river, cross the road and walk down River Road.

Turn right on 8th Street and you are on Main Street Canmore.

Insider Hints

  • Bring your snacks back to the picnic tables on the park you just passed and enjoy a wonderful view!