Canmore ’s population boom has been mirrored by the construction of new hotels and motels. Most of the newer lodgings are on Bow Valley Trail (Hwy. 1A). As with all resort towns in the Canadian Rockies, reservations should be made as far in advance as possible in summer.
HI–Canmore (403/678-3200, www.hihostels.ca , dorms $30–36, private rooms $60–81) is an excellent hostel-style accommodation at the base of Grotto Mountain. Affiliated with Hostelling International, the lodge is part of headquarters for the Alpine Club of Canada, the country’s national mountaineering organization. In addition to sleeping up to 46 people in seven rooms, it has a kitchen, an excellent library, a laundry room, a bar, a sauna, and a lounge area with a fireplace. To get there from downtown, follow Bow Valley Trail southeast; it’s signposted to the left, 500 meters (0.3 mile) after passing under the TransCanada Highway.
Built as a motel, The Hostel Bear (1002 Bow Valley Trail, 403/678-1000 or 888/678-1008, www.thehostelbear.com; dorms $32, from $84 s or d) is now a beautiful facility for budget travelers. It features eye-catching timber and river-stone styling outside and an impressive lobby. Amenities include a living area with an LCD TV and fireplace, a large modern kitchen, a laundry, wireless Internet, and comfortable beds for 170 guests, with configurations ranging from 10-bed dorms to private en suite rooms.
With around $100 budgeted for a room, it’s hard to pass up Riverview and Main, centrally located half a block beyond the end of the downtown core (918 8th St., 403/678-9777, www.riverviewandmain.com , $115 s, $135 d). The rooms are decently sized and brightly decorated, and each has access to a deck. The guest lounge centers on a river-stone, wood-burning fireplace. Rates include a selection of hot and cold breakfast items.
Not only can you rent one- and two-bedroom units with full kitchens at Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge (1711 Bow Valley Trail, 403/678-5445 or 800/665-6111, www.rockymtnskilodge.com , from $129 s or d), there’s plenty of outdoor space for kids to run around, including a small playground. Also on the property is a barbecue and picnic area, a laundry, and wireless Internet. The self-contained suites, some with loft bedrooms, cost from $169.
At the edge of Canmore ’s downtown core is the Drake Inn (909 Railway Ave., 403/678-5131 or 800/461-8730, www.drakeinn.com , from $129 s, $139 d). It offers bright and cheerfully decorated motel rooms. Well worth an extra $10 are Creekside Rooms, featuring private balconies overlooking Policeman’s Creek. The adjoining bar opens daily at 7 a.m. for the best-value breakfast in town.
Silver Creek Lodge (1818 Mountain Ave., 403/678-4242 or 877/598-4242, www.silvercreekcanmore.ca , $159–289 s or d) provides hotel and suite accommodations within a much larger condominium development. Aside from modern kitchen-equipped rooms, many with mountain views, highlights include the highly recommended Wild Orchid Asian Bistro, spa services, outdoor hot tubs, and underground parking.
Lady Macdonald Country Inn (1201 Bow Valley Trail, 403/678-3665 or 800/567-3919, www.ladymacdonald.com , $160–250 s or d) exudes a welcoming atmosphere and personalized service not experienced in the larger properties. Its 12 rooms are all individually furnished, with the smallest, the Palliser Room, featuring elegant surroundings and a magnificent wrought-iron bed. Rates include a hearty hot breakfast in a country-style breakfast room.
Creekside Country Inn (709 Benchlands Trail, 403/609-5522 or 866/609-5522, www.creeksidecountryinn.com , $159–239 s or d) is a modern mountain-style lodge featuring lots of exposed timber. The 12 rooms are elegant in their simplicity; eight have lofts. Facilities include a lounge with roaring log fire, a small exercise room, a whirlpool, and a steam room. Rates include a gourmet continental breakfast that will set you up for the day.
Named for one of the valley’s original coal-mining communities, the
Georgetown Inn (1101 Bow Valley Trail, 403/678-3439 or 866/695-5955, www.georgetowninn.ca; $169–230 s or d) is set up as a country inn of times gone by, complete with a pub-style dining room open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each of the 20 guest rooms has its own individual charm, with a modern twist on decor that features lots of English antiques. The best value are Victoria Rooms, each with a separate sitting area and electric fireplace ($159).
Bear and Bison (705 Benchlands Trail, 403/678-2058, www.bearandbisoninn.com , $279–329 s or d) is an elegant lodging with nine guest rooms in three different themes. Each room has a king-size four-poster bed, a jetted tub, a fireplace, and a private balcony or patio. Guests enjoy an inviting library and a private garden complete with an oversized hot tub. Rates include baked goods on arrival, pre-dinner drinks, and a breakfast you will remember for a long time.
Paintbox Lodge (629 10th St., 403/609-0482 or 888/678-6100, www.paintboxlodge.com , $209–289 s or d) has the same upscale charm as the Bear and Bison but enjoys a more central location, just one block from the main street. The lobby itself—exposed hand-hewn timbers, slate tiles, and unique pieces of mountain-themed art—is an eye-catching gem. The upscale mountain decor continues through the eight large guest rooms, each lavishly decorated with muted natural colors and a tasteful selection of heritage artifacts.
East of Canmore  are three government campgrounds operated by Bow Valley Campgrounds (403/673-2163, www.bowvalleycampgrounds.com ). Each has pit toilets, kitchen shelters, and firewood for sale at $8 per bundle. None have hookups.
Bow River Campground (open late Apr.–early Sept.) is three kilometers (1.9 miles) east of Canmore at the Three Sisters Parkway overpass; Three Sisters Campground (mid-Apr.–Oct.) is accessed from Deadman’s Flats, a further four kilometers (2.5 miles) east, but it has a pleasant treed setting; Lac des Arcs Campground (late Apr.–mid-Sept.) slopes down to the edge of a large lake of the same name seven kilometers (4.3 miles) farther toward Calgary . Sites are $20–22 and reservations are taken from April 1.