The Three Sisters Viewpoint hike in Canmore, Canada was one of my favorite points of interest we hit during my last trip to Alberta.
After a long morning spent hiking to the Johnston Canyon Ink Pots, we were looking for a more relaxed activity to do during the evening upon returning to our VRBO in Canmore.
The Three Sisters Viewpoint hike in Canmore is conveniently located on the south side of town. While it’s easiest to reach by car, you could also reach it by foot depending on where you’re staying in Canmore.
Although a popular spot in Canmore, the parking area and trail are not well marked. You’ll want to park at the off leash dog park and then cross Bow Valley Trail Road to reach the viewpoint.
This area isn’t well marked, but if you find yourself crossing under a small bridge in a dry rocky creek bed, know that you’re in the right place!
This is a great activity to enjoy in the evening after a more active morning since the roundtrip distance is only about 0.6 miles (1 km). Not only that, but the Three Sisters light up beautifully during sunset so try to time your visit for golden hour.
To kick the experience up a notch, be sure to pack some snacks and drinks to enjoy while soaking up the views. A blanket or fold out chairs would be great if available as well!
In this blog post, I aim to cover everything you should know when visiting the Three Sisters Viewpoint hike in Canmore, Canada while sharing some of my favorite photos from our visit.
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Where is the best place to stay when visiting the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore?
The Three Sisters Viewpoint is located on the southern side of Canmore in Alberta, Canada. The two best options for lodging during your trip to this area will be the towns of Canmore and Banff.
Staying in Canmore offers the most immediate access to the Three Sisters Viewpoint. With the viewpoint essentially located within town, you’re just a few minute drive away. During our trip we split our stay between Canmore and Banff.
We found a great home rental on VRBO for our time in Canmore. Hotels in Canmore are more budget friendly than Banff, so by splitting your trip up you can experience both towns but also save a few bucks like we did, versus staying in Banff the entire time.
Alternatively, the drive from Banff to the viewpoint is approximately 26 kilometers (or 16 miles) which should take you around 25 minutes to reach by car.
We spent our two nights in Banff at the Brewsters Mountain Lodge which is a slightly more budget friendly option than other hotel options in Banff. It’s also located across from my favorite restaurant in Banff, the Three Bears Brewery. Definitely check that out during your trip as well!
Do you need to rent a car when visiting the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore?
While you can reach the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore without a vehicle, you’re probably going to want one for the rest of your adventures through the area.
Even though there are a decent number of shuttle and tour options available for accessing Banff National Park, these can add up in cost or prevent you from reaching less popular areas of the park.
Additionally, being beholden to public transportation or private shuttles will put you on a much stricter schedule during your trip. The flexibility of having a car, being able to go through the park at your own pace and the ability to make stops along the way is a huge plus.
Other to dos like swimming in Emerald Lake or visiting Takakkaw Falls require you to travel to nearby Yoho National Park. While these stops are just as far as anything else in the area, you’ll definitely want a car to reach them.
Chances are you’ll be flying into Calgary, which is where you’ll also want to rent your car from. Alternatively, you can hire shuttles to get you from the airport to Canmore and Banff. The drive from Calgary will take most travelers around 90 minutes.
Be sure to book your car well in advance using a price comparison tool to ensure you get a good price on your rental. Summer is peak season in Banff which means higher prices and the risk of some agencies running out of cars to rent!
What are the Three Sisters in Canmore named after?
The Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore derives its name from its iconic natural rock formation, comprising three neighboring mountain peaks.
These peaks, standing side by side and aptly named as the Big Sister, Middle Sister, and Little Sister, dominate the landscape and provide an awe-inspiring backdrop to the scenic town of Canmore. The mountains are also referred to as Faith, Charity and Hope, respectively.
Is there cell phone service at the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore?
Thanks to its close proximity to the town of Canmore, you can expect reliable cell service when visiting the Three Sisters Viewpoint. This is a luxury you shouldn’t expect to have during most of your activities throughout Banff National Park!
Are dogs allowed at the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore?
Not only does the Three Sisters Viewpoint welcome dogs, but the parking lot you’ll start from also services an off leash dog park. That combo makes this a great activity to bring your dog along on!
Are there bathrooms at the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore?
While you won’t find any facilities at the Three Sister Viewpoint itself, there are typically portalets available near the off leash dog park area. If you’re staying in Canmore, your best bet would be to use the bathroom back at your hotel before coming here.
Can you swim at the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore?
To our surprise, there were actually some places where you could swim near the viewpoint. Policeman’s Creek and Cougar Creek cross through the viewpoint area before dumping into the nearby Bow River.
There were pools of water that people were swimming in while we visited which could make for a nice spot to cool off on a warmer afternoon. If you’re in the mood for a quick dip while you soak up the views here then don’t forget to pack a swimsuit!
If you’re a photographer, don’t overlook these pools of water since they’re great for reflection photos of the Three Peaks. However, you won’t get that still glassy water needed if people are swimming in them during your visit.
What is the best time of year to visit the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore?
One of the joys of visiting the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore is that there really is no ‘wrong’ season to go. Whether under a warm summer sun, amid the vibrant hues of fall, or within a snowy winter wonderland, this easy to reach viewpoint adapts to each season’s unique charm.
That said, most visitors will plan their trips to Banff and Canmore around summer. During these months, the weather is warmer, providing ideal conditions for exploring the many miles of hiking trails that take visitors up into the Rockies.
Keep in mind that the viewpoint area can be buggy at sunset, especially near the thicker sections of vegetation. Consider bringing bug spray with you if you have it.
What is the best time of day to visit the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore?
As I’ve mentioned earlier in this post, viewing the Three Sisters at sunset makes for an excellent evening activity.
After a day full of exploration and adventure in Banff National Park, visitors can unwind by taking an easy stroll out to the viewpoint and soaking up sunset as it paints the mountain peaks with vibrant colors.
How long does it take to visit the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore?
The walk to the viewpoint is relatively quick, and should take most visitors no more than 15 minutes in each direction. Beyond that, allocate however much time you think you’d want to enjoy the beautiful view.
We brought a few beers and hung out for about an hour during sunset which felt like the perfect amount of time for this activity.
How difficult is the Three Sisters Viewpoint hike in Canmore?
In terms of difficulty, this hike definitely fits into the easy category. The short distance and absence of elevation gain means this hike is really more of a walk.
The path to the viewpoint itself is only about 0.6 miles (1 km) long. While the distance here is extremely short, I would add that there’s quite a bit of rocky terrain to navigate near the start as you cross over a dried up creek bed.
Everyone in our group had left their hiking boots behind in lieu of more comfortable foot wear since we weren’t anticipating such bumpy terrain. While the hike is easy, make sure you’re wearing footwear that’s sturdy enough for walking across large rocks!
Check out these activities available in the Banff area
Looking for more ways to fill out your trip itinerary? Be sure to check out the list of activities below from GetYourGuide.
Is visiting the Three Sisters Viewpoint in Canmore worth it?
A visit to the Three Sisters Viewpoint hike in Canmore Canada is not only well worth it, but super easy to fit into even the most jam packed Banff National Park itineraries.
One of my favorite memories from our week long trip through Banff National Park was heading down to the viewpoint with a group of friends and a cooler full of Kokanee’s for sunset.
No trip to Canmore or the surrounding area is really complete until you’ve checked this spot off your list. If you’re looking for other things that pair well with this activity, consider heading over to Canmore Brewing Company for a flight of local craft beers to round out your evening.
Our trip to Canmore and Banff National Park lasted a full week and even though we did a ton of hiking and sightseeing, I already have a pretty strong itch to get back to the Canadian Rockies.
If you’re looking for ideas on other things to do during your trip to Banff National Park then consider checking out my posts on the Larch Valley to Sentinel Pass hike which originates from the Moraine Lakeshore or the Lake Agnes Tea House to Big Beehive hike which starts near Lake Louise. These were two of my favorite hikes in the area and should be on your hit list as well.
For anyone trying to pack for a weeks long hiking trip through Alberta, Canada, I’d suggest glancing over my complete day hike checklist. It’s the perfect resource for making sure you don’t over look any essential hiking gear when packing for your vacation.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! I hope you decide to visit the Three Sisters Viewpoint hike in Canmore and stop back by to let me know what you thought of it.