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Quarry Lake walking trail in the Canmore Rockies

looking at the quarry lake landscape

Quarry lake is a small lake surrounded by mountains in Canmore, Alberta. This Canadian destination is perfect for lovers of the outdoors and should be on every bucket-list of those visiting the rockies.

As you may have guessed by now, I love a good hike if I’m getting a good view. But what I love even more, is a great view for as little effort as possible!

That’s what makes me want to add this to my list. It’s such a simple quick walk you can do it without it affecting much of your day. Plus it is easily accessible for all fitness levels!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you purchase something through my links I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you.


stairs from canmore downtown to the walking track through the forest
This is one of the 3 steep wooden staircases on the route from downtown to the lake.

Quarry Lake walking trail stats

You can follow the route of the trail here.

Type of Trail

Out & back

Length of Trail

1.1km

Time to complete

15 minutes

What’s great about the Quarry Lake loop trail is that it is pretty much flat the whole way around the lake. There is an ever so slight elevation of 40m but believe me, you’ll barely notice it.

This was a nice treat after I had tired myself out with multiple strenuous hikes during my visit to Canmore.

This route is open year-round so you can enjoy this trail come rain, snow or shine. Winter is of course much colder in Canmore and is quite likely to snow in the mountains and around the quarry lake.

If you want to do other trails on the same day, you can easily incorporate the Quarry lake trail with other routes that start or end here.


the entrance to the quarry lake trail in canmore
This is the view to the right of the trail head. The car park is to the right of here.

How to get there

This walking trail at Quarry lake is located west of Canmore. It is one of many trails in the local area that boasts beautiful panoramic views – except this one requires minimal effort!

Driving:

Driving from town, it’ll take you 8 minutes. If you travel to the trailhead by car, there is a moderate sized car park for visitors to use.

If you arrive here in the peak season (May-September) it can be hard to get a parking spot so it’s advisable to arrive early or late in the day. It is a lot less busy in the quieter seasons outside of summer.

Be prepared: There is a flat fee of $20 (CAD) for 4 hours at the car park. This is deemed quite expensive and is comparable to city central parking so be aware of that.

Walking:

If you are arriving by foot (like me) it will take roughly 45 minutes to arrive if travelling from downtown Canmore.

From the Canmore shops, the fastest walking route takes you uphill through some residential areas. If you go the same route, be mindful of the residents and their properties.

Be aware: The car park is off of a main road so you must use caution when crossing or walking along the road.

Check out some of other fun hikes here


Quarry Lake mountain view
Quarry lake in Autumn/Fall

Walking the trail

Once you reach the sign at the far end of the car park, you’re pretty much at the start of the trail.

To your left you will see a long field with (at the time of writing) tall grass and a treeline at the end.

On your right there is a field with short grass and a line of large rocks almost separating that field in half. This is also where you see part of the mountain landscape poking out over the trees.

You can technically walk to the Quarry lake from either direction as the two paths meet a few minutes after the sign.

If you walk at a steady pace you could easily walk the entire quarry lake loop in around 15-20 minutes.


picnic benches surrounded by the Canmore mountains
This is the far end of the lake where all the picnic tables are. Look at the mountain backdrop!

Amenities

There are two public bathrooms at the lake closest to the car park side. They are well-looked after and clean. You also have access to at least 4 rubbish bins at the time of writing, scattered around the loop track. This means you have no excuse for littering!

At the far end (opposite the car park) there are about 5 picnic benches available for public use. This area is commonly used for family gatherings when people hang out in the summer.

Also, even though the route is not tiring at all, it’s great to know you could have a break and a sit down if you really need to. Along with benches, there are many grassy areas to relax and read a book here when the weather’s nice.


Me standing at the lake's edge at Quarry Lake in Canmore
Me admiring the view by the waters edge

Best photo opportunities

Ok, so if you’re looking to take photos for the ‘gram, then you’re definitely in a great location. The whole area is stunning! While I was walking around the lake I definitely found one spot that ticked all the right boxes and I want to share that with you here.

If you walk along the left side of the quarry (if coming from the carpark) then the mountain range is on the opposite side of the lake to you.

Before you reach the far end of the lake (where all the picnic tables are located) there is a slightly grassy hill to your left just next to the concrete path.

If you walk a few minutes up this hill this puts you slightly above the small trees that line the lake, and gives you a clearer view of the mountains.

From this angle, the mountains and quarry are almost framed by the few trees along the lake, probably one of my fave views in all of Canmore!

Pro tip: If you go in Autumn/fall you will be lucky enough to see the trees coloured yellow and red.


Dangers of the Quarry

Ok, so don’t be fooled by the beautiful landscape surrounding the lake. It is still a quarry.

What is a quarry you ask? A quarry is usually a deep pit that was once used to extract stone, metals and other earth products. In many cases the pit fills with water while construction equipment is still inside. There are often extremely deep sections where the ground drops off and it can be deceiving how deep it really is.

This means that it is not advisable to swim here. That’s not to say people listen to the rules. But if you choose to swim here, it is 100% at your own risk. There are plenty of other places in and around Canmore that are safer and actually encouraged to swim

Tip: If you want somewhere better to swim, Grassi Lakes is a popular spot – even though it’s likely to be very cold!

Although this is a generally easy walk you should still be aware of the dangers you can avoid when hiking and walking on common trails.


Accommodations in Canmore

Canmore is possibly my favourite destination out of everywhere I’ve visited. Plus, it doesn’t matter where you stay in the town, you can easily access everywhere due to it being small!

Canmore Downtown Hostel – My first hostel option when staying in Canmore. Great location in the town centre and lots of social events guests can attend (such as trivia, karaoke). It has clean rooms, extremely helpful staff, and a common room to make it easy to meet other travellers! What’s not to love?

Solara Resort – A perfect hotel for people who like a little more luxury and don’t feel like a hostel is for them. Large spacious rooms, transfer direct from the airport and polite staff that’ll go above and beyond for guests. On quiet resort grounds and only a 5 minute walk from the town centre shops!


Planning to visit the rockies? Why not check out these other Canmore hikes!

If you have a higher fitness level, check out the more difficult EEOR Hike in Alberta – The East End of Rundle

Canmore is such a fun destination & I highly recommend you to visit when you’re in Canada. You won’t regret it!

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