The Bow Valley is home to stunning mountain ranges, majestic wildlife and world-class recreation opportunities. Trail-based recreation within the Bow Valley is becoming so popular that the current trail system needs expansion to continue to provide safe and enjoyable visitor experiences while protecting the area’s natural beauty. Alberta’s government wants to hear from all Albertans to help shape the new trails strategy in the Canmore area.

Canmore Trail Hiker

The Canmore Area Trails Strategy will help provide direction on expanding, upgrading and enhancing trails around Canmore. (Photo credit: Alberta Parks)

The plan’s development will invite feedback from all Albertans while including local governments, Indigenous communities, recreation organizations and residents in developing a comprehensive trails plan for Crown land in the Bow Valley. This is a go-to destination for many to enjoy their favourite outdoor activities including hiking, biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and more.

“Well-maintained, safe trails allow visitors to explore nature, support healthy lifestyles and reduce impacts on natural spaces and human-wildlife interactions. An integrated Crown land trails system in the Canmore area is needed to help manage current and future recreation and tourism demands. We are delivering on our promise to invest in the Canmore area.”

Todd Loewen, Minister of Forestry and Parks

The Town of Canmore is happy to be partnering with the Alberta government on the Canmore Area Trails Strategy. The town is excited to be a part of this long-term trails plan that aims to balance the community's recreational needs with continued ecological and wildlife stewardship.”

Riley Welden, senior planner, Town of Canmore

“The MD of Bighorn No. 8 is a proud steward of the Bow Valley’s natural landscape that provides essential residential, economic and ecological benefits. As such, we greatly value being an interest-holder and contributing to the important work that the Canmore Area Trails Strategy project has produced and will continue producing as the engagement process moves forward.”

Doug Saul, community services co-ordinator, Municipal District of Bighorn

“CAMBA views the Canmore Area Trails Strategy as crucial for enhancing outdoor recreational opportunities while preserving the area’s natural environment. We believe the strategy will streamline trail development and management, ensuring responsible practices and diverse trail offerings that meet the community's needs.”

Laura Quelch, executive director, Canmore Area Mountain Biking Association

The feedback collected will help to establish a plan to upgrade and improve trails by addressing existing challenges, supporting outdoor recreation opportunities and conserving local ecosystems. Albertans are encouraged to provide their feedback on phase one of the strategy through completing the online survey until July 22.

The information received from Albertans will help create a draft plan to be shared with the public before the plan is finalized.

Key facts

  • On July 20, 2023, Premier Danielle Smith mandated the minister of Forestry and Parks with investing an additional $5 million in trail upgrades for Kananaskis Country and building new trails and campgrounds across Alberta.
  • The Canmore Area Trail Strategy is being led by the Government of Alberta, Ministry of Forestry and Parks in partnership with the Town of Canmore and the M.D. of Bighorn
  • The scope of the strategy does not include changing regulatory tools or land designations.
    • The strategy will recommend changes to the trails and trail use in the area which will be implemented over the next 10-15 years.
  • There are almost 850 kilometres of trails in the Canmore Area Trails Strategy project area.

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