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Grassi Lakes, Canmore Kananskis

"Climb every mountain... Ford ever stream"

Grassi Lakes Trail: Canmore, Alberta

Size/Distance: 3.8km maybe 5 depending on how much you circle the lakes ;) . 1-2 hours . 250m Elevation gain.

Dog Friendly: On leash only

Terrain: There is an easy way and a hard way. Easy way = straight gravel road. The hard way scenic climbing trail with wet areas and stairs.

Unique Features: Views of Canmore, waterfalls, two Clear pools of bright blue and green waters, native rock paintings.

The Trails:

We explored the Grassi lakes hike for the first time. This is a short hike with a lot packed into it. This is a great first time experience for any hiker and their pet. We took the difficult trail up, It would not be too easy for a little dog or uncoordinated pup, there are some steep stairways and cliff edges to beware of. For a human or child I would say this was a moderate easy hike for the most part. For a doggie, the stairs could be hard even though Skye is big he was having to leap up and I couldn't be much help while trying to scale them myself. Each step is about 3 steps in height. It is a steep climb and because of the spring run off there are some little water crossings and slippery rock sections that could end badly for dog or person. Be careful on this one, and take your time going up especially on the stairs. I recommend going up the difficult route, but not down it with your dog, jumping down those steep narrow rock stairs could be dangerous.

The easy route "Upper Grassi Lakes" has no views, so if you want the scenery and waterfalls, make sure you do at least walk up as far as you can on the difficult trail. The switchback area is where the stairs are roughly on the map below. It is such a short hike you could go up and back if you had to and then take the easy route all the way to the lakes. Do what is safe, and matches your dogs abilities.

Keep in mind this is a popular trail and quite busy, even on a week day. So if your pet does not like people or other pets this is not the trail for you.


It is located up above the Canmore just 2km past the entrance to the Nordic Centre on Spray Lakes Road. To get to the trail head turn left following the signage, the turn off is right were the road turns from paved to gravel. If you get to the top of the mountain, you have gone too far. The parking lot did bathrooms, the usual lovely outhouses, but lots 4 of them. There is also lots of parking.

The What:

Lawrence Grassi was a well respected climbing guide and built many of the trails in the area this trail was one of his and also bares his name. The trail includes:


two amazing clear mountain fresh pools

Cute little Wildlife





Rock Climbing

Historic Native Hopi wall paintings (pictographs)

Skye's was taunted by chipmunks, one in particular would creep up towards him and then dart off. Skye was going nuts trying to get them, leaping off rocks and getting me quite tangled up in his leash. We saw a few ducks also, they looked really interesting floating on the water is was one of the only ways to tell where the surface was in some spots because it is so clear.

Look up way up! Skye's lassie safety senses were a bit concerned for the guy climbing up the rock wall. Up above the Lakes there are massive grey cliffs with caves and very interesting formations. They are part of the Cairn Formation, which was an ancient fossil reef. Because it used to be home for sea sponges there are lots of holes for climbers to use and therefore is a popular climbing spot for Canmore folks.

The Lakes, The deep blues and greens are mesmerizing. I could stare at them for hours. perfect spot to sit and enjoy lunch. No swimming allowed though.

Skye's Thoughts


waterfalls refreshing and yummy, rocks are my favorite to jump on.


why can't i swim, i want to, why not, but i want to. no? why no? but i want to.

so, beautiful.

SQUIRL wait no CHIPMUNK! I MUST GET HIM no matter what.


- Pick up poop, as always

- Dogs on leash

- No swimming in the water (dogs or humans)

- Don't feed the bears or chipmunks

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