Canmore, nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts but also has some beautiful gentle walks. One of the most popular is Policeman’s Creek Trail, an easy picturesque walk that lets you experience nature in downtown Canmore’s heart.
An Introduction To Policeman’s Creek Trail
The Policeman’s Creek Trail runs alongside Policeman’s Creek as it winds through the centre of the town. The scenic trail is a 2km stretch of gravel paths and smooth wooden boardwalks; for me, it’s a great way to get from one end of Canmore to the other, avoiding the roads.
The trail has multiple entry points, and you can adjust the length of your walk according to your needs. The trail and boardwalk also connect to the town’s trail system, offering you many options for extended walks.
Where To Start
The most popular starting point for the Policeman’s Creek trail is near the intersection of Main Street and Spring Creek Drive, opposite the iconic Big Head sculpture. From here, you walk south along the boardwalk.
Policemans Creek Parking Options
Given the trail’s central location, it’s a short walk from almost anywhere you park in town. On-street parking is available in the town and Spring Creek’s residential area. Alternatively, Canmore’s public car park between 7th and 8th Streets offers plenty of parking space. Note that parking charges do apply in the town centre.
What To Expect Along The Trail
The Policeman’s Creek Trail is a flat, easy hike, making it suitable for all ages and fitness levels. There are also plenty of benches along the trail where you can relax and enjoy the views. As you meander along the trail, you’ll be treated to birds singing, a diverse range of flora and fauna, and swimming ducks.
In addition to its natural beauty, the trail has numerous scenic points, including mountain views of the Three Sisters, Ha Ling Peaks, and Mount Rundle. Whether you’re looking to capture the perfect photograph or soak in the views of the mountains, you won’t be disappointed.
Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk
The most popular portion of the Policeman’s Creek Trail is the Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk, which begins at our recommended start point (opposite the Big Head sculpture). This section is particularly enchanting, with wooden boardwalks guiding you over the gentle waters of the creek.
Policemans Creek Trail Variations
If you have limited time, your best option is the 1.3km loop that starts opposite the Big Head sculpture. Head south until you reach a bridge, then turn right to cross the bridge and return down the other side of the creek.
If you want a longer walk, you can start at the south end of Spring Creek Drive (near Bridgette Bar) and walk the trail’s total length. This runs alongside Policeman’s Creek for 2km, and you will turn and return when you reach 17th Street.
Combine Policeman’s Creek Trail with the Bow River Loop Trail if you want a more ambitious route. To access this river trail, head west up Main Street and continue until you hit the trail. Maps are available at regular points on the river walk.
Best Time To Visit Policemans Creek
The Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk Trail is open year-round. The trail is in full bloom in the spring and summer, with vibrant greenery everywhere.
However, my favourite season on the trail is in the fall when the aspens turn vivid shades of yellow. I also love the trail in winter when the creek freezes, and the landscape transforms into a winter wonderland.
I find that the best time to visit the trail is early morning, ideally as the sun rises. The morning colours are more vibrant (you can get some great pictures), and you will avoid the crowds that can build up later in the day.
Safety, Etiquette, And Rules
Safety first! While this boardwalk trail is relatively safe, it’s essential to be cautious during winter when the boardwalk can become slippery due to snow and ice.
The only other real risk is from wildlife. Bears do sometimes make their way into the town, and it’s common to spot elk. Most wildlife will likely steer clear if the trail is busy, but you should always be on the watch.
Dogs are welcome companions, but they must always be on a leash.
Nearby Attractions And Amenities
The Policeman’s Creek loop takes you past the Canmore Opera House replica, with the original dating back to 1898 and now located at Heritage Park in Calgary. Another historical landmark is the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP) Barracks, built in 1893. This small log building on Main Street (at the end of the loop) makes for a good photograph.
Once you’ve completed your walk, Main Street (8th Street) awaits with its shops and eateries. And while the trail doesn’t have amenities such as public washrooms, you can find these in the town, on the corner of 9th Street and 7th Avenue.
The Policeman’s Creek Trail in Canmore uniquely blends natural beauty and historical significance. The scenic trail provides breathtaking views, diverse flora and fauna and seamlessly integrates with the town’s amenities. It fits perfectly into a visit to downtown Canmore.