Caving in Canmore

This holiday long weekend could not have come at a better time. I was eager to get out of the prairies and do some exploring.  I was torn between heading down to the States for the weekend or over to the Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately, my boyfriend and friends are in school (exam season) and could not spend four days away from their books. So my boyfriend and I decided to do a quick trip to Canmore, Alberta. Early Friday morning, we packed up and headed south towards the mountains to do some hiking and caving. As luck would have it, we hit a few white-out snowstorms on our four-hour drive, but we made it safely. By the time we made it in to Canmore the snow had subsided to rain.  Mountain weather can change in an instant!

The first thing we did was check in to our hotel.  We made a rookie mistake and did not check Trip Advisor.  Usually I like to just try my luck and see what a place will be like; however, after a few horrible places, sometimes Trip Advisor can come in handy.  I won’t say exactly what hotel we stayed at, but if you do venture into Canmore, I suggest checking out people’s reviews first. Our hotel was probably one of the worst places in the world to stay to…including third world hostels, bus stations, and airports.  Anyways, we high-tailed it out of the hotel and hit up main street for some grub!

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company is a great place to go for drinks or enjoy a meal. They have their own hand-crafted beer (Beavertail Raspberry Ale is my favourite) and delicious Canadian-inspired meals (such as the mouth-watering Bison Burger with green peppercorn cheese).  If you are wondering where they make the local brews, you can head over to the Grizzly Paw Brewery for a tasting and tour. That is exactly what we did. The brewery is small compared to the big brewers, but their quality and flavour of beers is impeccable.  The mountain-fresh water makes all the difference!

For after dinner drinks, head on over to Tavern 1883. It is a cozy restaurant and pub that serves up some creative cocktails, such as the Siracha-Vodka Caeser. On the weekends, you can jam out to local bands. It’s a win-win situation.

Finally, the sole purpose of our trip was to visit Rat’s Nest Cave. This cave is situated below Grotto Mountain, just ten minutes east of Canmore. It is a wild, undeveloped cave where you can spend a few hours exploring and getting dirty. We booked a tour through Canmore Cave Tours. Our guide, Steven, was knowledgeable, fun, and safe. He took us on a 30 minute hike up Grotto Mountain and then helped us get into our caving gear.  The cave has over 4 km of explored passages and caverns.  We explored the cave for 2.5 hours, crawling and slithering through tight passages, climbing boulders, visiting a natural pool, and finally visiting a chamber full of stalactites and stalagmites .  This cave is the real deal. No boardwalks, no handrails, and no lights. If you ever want to experience complete darkness, go here. Once our headlamps were turned off, we were immersed in total darkness. Absolutely no light from the outside can reach these passages. One exciting passage was the Challenge. This is one part that is not for the claustrophobic. Laying completely flat, head turned sideways, we had to slither through the tight squeeze. It is so small, you have no choice but to suck in your stomach and butt and stretch one arm out to decrease your shoulder width. One of the guides, Amy, has the record of getting in and out of this tight squeeze in 21 seconds. It took myself about 5 minutes.

Overall, Canmore is a great place to spend a weekend or a week. There are some incredible adventures to be had.  If you are coming to Canada or just want a weekend away, I would recommend checking out Canmore and this tour.

Hanging out in a chamber

Hanging out in a chamber

A Tight Squeeze

A Tight Squeeze


Relaxing after the Challenge

Chilling in a chamber

Chilling in a chamber

About Kait C (88 Articles)
I'm working on see the entire world, one country at a time…31 down, 165 to go. Currently in Berlin.

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