Canmore is a town in Alberta, Canada, located approximately 81 kilometres (50 mi) west of Calgary near the southeast boundary of Banff National Park. It is located in the Bow Valley within Alberta’s Rockies. The town shares a border with Kananaskis Country to the west and south and the Municipal District of Bighorn No. 8 to the north and east. With a population of 12,288 in 2011, Canmore is the ninth-largest town in Alberta.
Much of the Canmore area has been designated a wildlife corridor. This corridor allows animals such as bears, cougar, wolves, and elk to move between habitat patches, where they can find food, escape predators, breed, give birth, and establish territories.
Despite its modest population and environmentally friendly image, Canmore is highly sprawled and segmented (due to wildlife corridors, highways, the railway, and the Bow River) and takes over one and a half hours to traverse by foot. The pedestrian-friendly town centre surrounds 8th Street, or “Main Street” (as it is known colloquially), which was originally a residential road with some of the oldest architecture in the town; now, however, it is lined with small shops, restaurants, and galleries. Much of the recent development is taking place in Three Sisters Mountain Village, SilverTip Resort, and around the town centre.
A series of hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, and paved trails traverse the Canmore area. Major trail systems are located on the Benchlands of Mount Lady Macdonald, at the Canmore Nordic Centre, and along the north slope of Mount Lawrence Grassi. Many of these trails, and others around the community, are located within Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park and Kananaskis Country. Some of these, including the Montaine Traverse Trail and the Highline Trail, have been improved by the Town of Canmore, the Government of Alberta, the Municipal District of Bighorn No. 8, and various stakeholders (Bow Valley Mountain Bike Alliance, the B.V. Riding Association, and local hiking groups) in order to balance recreational opportunities with environmental sustainability. Much of the upgrading has been accomplished by volunteers organized by the Trail Care Program of The Friends of Kananaskis Country.