We headed down to the Rocky Mountains to experience the Kananaskis Nordic Spa for the first time. It was a relaxing trip with our time split between the spa and exploring Canmore. We did not even end up officially visiting the park. We just enjoyed the mountains views offered by the Kananaskis and Canmore area. The Nordic spa itself was an incredible and unique experience, which I thoroughly savoured. Keep reading to learn about things to do in Canmore and Kananaskis.
This spa is 41 a minute drive outside of Canmore. We did our best to arrive when they opened at 9 am because admittance is first come first serve. Arriving early was worth it as we got enter right away, with no wait time. The entire experience was enjoyable and relaxing. They gave us each a locker, towels, plaid robe, sandals, and some exfoliation salt to finish with. Outside they had many pools (featuring three different temperatures), saunas, fireside areas, and a steam cabin. In true Nordic fashion, we rotated between the different temperature experiences. I did not try out the cold plunge pool (it was 17 C) and counted my time outside in -18C as my cold cycle. The steam cabin with its peppermint vanilla room and eucalyptus room were my favourite. Once we were finished, we got dressed and headed up to the Two Trees Bistro. This cozy spot was filled with other spa-goers still in their robes with plans to go back outside after lounging and eating. We sat on some couches by the far wall and warmed up with cappuccinos and coffees. I was happy to learn almost everything on the menu could be made gluten-free. We ordered a charcuterie board that came with regular and gluten-free bread. My bread was soft and so delicious! After a full morning of resting and relaxing at the spa, we all felt amazing.
Note: They do fill up fast. Arriving early is best otherwise, they can put you on a waitlist for the day. Watch their Twitter account for daily updates.
Drinks & Eats
This restaurant is a short drive away from Canmore’s downtown area with a big window facing the mountains. It was nice to find a restaurant in Canmore where we did not have to wait for a table. The décor was a tribute to Canmore’s railway history, which was immediately noticeable by the decorative doors at the entrance. Our table ordered pizzas and a burger. The food came fast and hot. My gluten free pizza’s crust was very crunchy and really tasty.
Downtown Canmore is a fantastic walkable area with tons of restaurants and shops. Just park along the street or find a spot at one of the many free parking lots.
The Grizzly Paw Pub – Downtown Canmore
This pub features their locally mountain brewed beer and soda. Inside they serve up a selection of poutines and burgers. I was happy to see so many gluten-free options, including their burgers. The highlight of our visit was the outdoor patio. Even with the temperature hitting below -20C, their patio was a popular spot. A large fire pit was surrounded by tree stump seats, standing tables to set your beer on, and friendly small groups of restaurant patrons. Some groups were there to try a beer or two, others (like us) were enjoying the fire while waiting for a table inside.
Tip: Be sure to visit their brewing facility for a tour and taste (about a 5-minute drive away).
Café Books – Downtown Canmore
If you are in the mood for a coffee or tea you will love this quaint spot. The front store is dedicated to selling new books and some cute literary t-shirts. If you follow the signs leading towards the back and across the hallway you will discover the café. They serve up hot drinks and small bites (with some gluten free options!) alongside used books. I loved the way the books are featured here, tucked away in every nook and corner. Their staircase of books leading to a door to Narnia was the cutest!
Rocky Mountain Bagel Co – Downtown Canmore
This classic Canmore breakfast haunt is a must do when visiting this little town. They bake fresh bagels daily and have the best breakfast sandwiches. You can tell by the line up out to the door that it is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. We got lucky as a table became free just as we placed our order at the counter. I got to bite into a gluten-free bagel breakfast sandwich that was made fresh on a Kinnikinnick bagel.
Alberta’s Own Market Place – Downtown Canmore
This store is full of great local Alberta maker’s creations. They carry a wide selection including home décor, jewelry, and apparel. You can find some delightful gifts and souvenirs here. We bought two pairs of mittens made by Wise Wearable Art (so comfy and warm!).
They run tours and tastings here from Wednesday to Sunday at 3 pm. For only ten dollars we got to try four of their spirits in the bar area. They locally source all the grain and most of their other ingredients. Our sampling included trying their Alberta Botanical Gin flavoured with locally foraged plants. After, we were brought into the back area where the magic happens. They explained all the steps involved in the process. It was cool to learn about how much they do in the little space that they are working out of.
Tip: book in advance as the tour only happens once a day with a maximum group of 20 people.
Where We Stayed
Our Airbnb was just a short drive outside of Canmore in Dead Man’s Flats. The location was great because it meant we were a bit closer to the Kananaskis Nordic Spa. The residence was inside a hotel and was outfitted with everything we needed. We took advantage of the full kitchen and used it to make a breakfast of pancakes (GF), bacon, and eggs. It had the main bedroom, bunk beds, and a fold out couch which was perfect for the four of us. There was also a shared outdoor hot tub, but we never had enough time to try it out.
What are your favourite things to do in Canmore? Let me know in the comments below or Tweet at me here.