The Canmore Engine Bridge: A Journey Through History And A Gateway To Adventure

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Hey there, adventure seekers and history buffs! Have you ever wondered about that iconic bridge in downtown Canmore? Trust me, it’s more than just a pretty backdrop for your Instagram photos. The Canmore Engine Bridge is a hidden gem that tells a story of Canmore’s rich history while offering some of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see. So, let’s dive in and explore what makes this bridge a must-visit landmark in Canmore, Alberta!

The Bridge’s Historical Roots

An icy bow river runs beneath the canmore engine bridge at sunrise in the background ha ling peak is lit by the sun
Canmore Engine Bridge Over An Icy Bow River

Picture this: The year is 1891, and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) is in full swing. Coal mining is the talk of the town, and Canmore is bustling with activity. To support this booming industry, CPR constructed a bridge that would later be known as the Canmore Engine Bridge. Originally built with wooden trusses, the bridge underwent a significant transformation in 1919. An existing structure dating back to around 1880 was relocated and adapted to serve as the new bridge. This mysterious origin only adds to its historical significance. So, the next time you’re crossing this bridge, remember—you’re walking on a piece of history!

Unique Architectural Features

A woman stands on canmore engine bridge on a sunny winters day with snow-capped mountains in the background
The Unique Design Of The Canmore Engine Bridge

Now, let’s talk about what makes this bridge an architectural marvel. First off, it boasts unique double trusses, which are a rare sight to behold. Add to that some rare vertical endposts and T. B. Co. 1880 plaques, and you’ve got yourself a bridge that’s as unique as it is historical. But wait, there’s more! The bridge also features a rare Whipple Truss design, characterized by elongated rods, box ends, and pin connections. These unique features not only make it a fascinating subject for photographers but also showcase its historical context. So, don’t forget to take a closer look the next time you’re there!

Canmore Engine Bridge Today

Canmore engine bridge at sunrise on a fall day with ha ling peak in the background the bow river runs in the foreground
Canmore Engine Bridge At Sunrise

Fast forward to today, and the Canmore Engine Bridge has transformed from a coal mine railway line to a pedestrian and cyclist path. But that’s not all! It has also become a filming location for the TV series “The Last of Us,” set in a virus-stricken world. Despite the show’s U.S. setting, the series was exclusively shot in Canada, with episode six highlighting Canmore’s charm and the iconic railway bridge. So, whether you’re a fan of the series or just looking for a scenic walk, this bridge has something for everyone.

How To Get There

A map of the bow valley trail loop canmore alberta which shows the location of canmore engine bridge
Canmore Engine Bridge Shown On The Bow Valley Trail Loop

Wondering how to get to this historical marvel? It’s easier than you think! The Canmore engine bridge is part of the Bow River Loop Trail, a short easy trail close to downtown Canmore.

There are many entry points to the trail, but we have given four of the most popular start points.

  • Riverside Park – suitable for wheelchair and pushchair access
  • The Engine Bridge Via Spurline Trail – suitable for wheelchair and pushchair access
  • Bow River Bridge – suitable for wheelchair and pushchair access
  • Riverview Place

The shortest routes to the bridge are from Riverview Place and Spurline Trail.

If you’re planning to capture some stunning sunrise or sunset shots, keep in mind that the weather varies, especially from October to May. The best times to visit are when the crowds are few, ideally around sunrise or sunset. Trust me, the mountain views alone are worth waking up early for!

The Surrounding Beauty

A winter view of the three sisters mountains from the engine bridge canmore alberta
A Wintery Bow River Taken From Canmore Engine Bridge

Now, let’s talk about the cherry on top—the stunning surroundings. With peaks like Ha Ling and Miner’s Peak in view, the bridge stands as a remarkable marvel in Canmore’s landscape. And if you’re looking to make a day of it, there are plenty of other attractions nearby. From the Three Sisters Mountains to the Bow River trail, outdoor enthusiasts will find no shortage of activities to fill their day. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready for an adventure-filled day in Canmore!

The Bow River Trail: A Scenic Complement To Your Engine Bridge Visit

A view across the bow river to riverside park and grotto mountain canmore from the bow river loop trail
Sunrise Over Grotto Mountain From The Bow River Loop Trail

Alright, so you’ve marvelled at the Canmore Engine Bridge and soaked in its historical charm. What’s next? How about a leisurely stroll or an invigorating bike ride along the Bow River Trail? Trust me, this is the perfect way to extend your adventure in Canmore.

The Bow River Trail is a well-maintained pathway that meanders along the banks of the Bow River, offering unparalleled views of the river loop surrounding mountains and lush forests. It’s an outdoor paradise for anyone looking to connect with nature. Whether you’re into bird-watching, photography, or simply enjoying the fresh mountain air, this trail has got you covered.

Beautiful yellow trees at riverside park in the fall on the bow river loop trail
Riverside Park In Fall On The Bow River Loop Trail

And guess what? It’s super accessible! The trail is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, making it a fantastic outing for families, couples, or solo adventurers. Plus, it’s dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your four-legged friend along for the journey.

So, after you’ve explored the Canmore Engine Bridge, don’t rush back to your car. Instead, take a detour along the Bow River Trail. It’s the perfect way to round off your day, offering a tranquil escape and scenic beauty that perfectly complements the historical allure of the engine bridge itself. I promise you won’t regret it!

Conclusion – The Canmore Engine Bridge

People paddle boarding on the bow river under canmore engine bridge on a beautiful summer day
Paddle Boarding Under The Canmore Engine Bridge

So there you have it, folks! The Canmore Engine Bridge is not just a bridge; it’s a journey through history and a gateway to adventure. From its historical roots to its unique architectural features and its role today as an icon of Canmore.

Canmore Engine Bridge Photo Gallery

About Us

We’re Kevin and Jill, a couple who traded the UK for the serene beauty of Canmore almost two decades ago. We love exploring the mountains, eating and drinking out and can offer a family-friendly perspective. We hope to share our enthusiasm and knowledge with locals and visitors alike.

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