Awesome Alberta: Strut the stunning ice walk at Grotto Canyon

Nov 27 2020, 8:40 pm

COVID-19 still presents a very real and dangerous threat to public health. While much of Alberta’s outdoors have been reopened to visitors, it is recommended to plan ahead, check local restrictions and current public health measures, and avoid any areas that may be too crowded. 

This is one part of Alberta that is only accessible after a deep freeze.

Thankfully, Alberta is no stranger to below freezing temperatures, which means that the ice walk at Grotto Canyon is accessible for a good chunk of the year.

Strolling over the frozen river will make you wish you’d brought your ice skates, but it makes for a surreal experience nonetheless.

Just make sure it’s, you know, actually frozen before attempting that walk.

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from and AdventureSmart. Parks Canada visitor guidelines are available here. Always remember to leave no trace, pack out what you pack in, stick to designated trails, and refrain from feeding wildlife — and please note that irresponsibly taken selfies (even if they look great for the ‘gram) can be fatal


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Where is it?

Grotto Canyon is located just east of Canmore along Bow Valley Trail. It is located beside aptly named Grotto Canyon pond, and resides in the foothills of Mount Fable.


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How do you get there?

Grotto Canyon is only one hour away from downtown Calgary, making it one of the most accessible Rocky Mountain day trips there is!

To get there, you just drive west on Highway 1, and then take exit 114 onto Bow Valley Trail. Follow that road west until you reach the Grotto Trail pull-off, which will be on your right.

Our Edmonton readers will have a bit longer of a trip (at around four hours) by first making the three hour drive down to Calgary then following the instructions above.

grotto canyon

A map showing Grotto Canyon’s location (Google Maps)


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What’s there?

Along with a picturesque river that has been frozen in time, Grotto Canyon offers a five-kilometre-roundtrip hike, a frozen waterfall (keep an eye out for ice climbers!), and some pictographs on the rock walls that date back hundreds of years.


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