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Grotto Mountain Trail is a 5.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Canmore, Alberta, Canada that offers the chance to see wildlife and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and nature trips and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 5.5 mi Elevation gain 4,435 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Hiking Nature trips Running Forest Views Wildlife Rocky Snow Off trail
Description
Waypoints (0)

This is a very steep trail that involves some serious scrambling. We do not recommend attempting this hike alone. Very pretty views at the summit and Grassing Lake is a tranquil spot.

Weather
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Daylight
Reviews (345)
Photos (344)
Recordings (233)
Completed (725)
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JareJae Pro
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 1, 2020
Hiking
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Anabel Montplaisir
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 20, 2020
Nature tripsGreat!IcyMuddyOff trailRockyScrambleSnow

It was quite a tricky hike, with the snow covering the ground at some point I was not sure if I was on the right path ... but the view was completely stunning, overall I recommend this hike but be ready to suffer a bit. Also I was alone, maybe was not the better idea because there is some dangerous part...

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Serena Wiber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 12, 2020
Hiking

Did this in June, was still a significant amount of snow near the summit. It is a grind for sure, great early season conditioner!

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Oakley Morton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

Counter-clockwise is the way to go. Steep incline and steep decline, but not as bad as going clockwise. Good hike with great views!

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brendan oreilly
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 9, 2020
Hiking
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P P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
HikingRockyScramble
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Pamela Burke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 4, 2020
HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into! As per the advice of other comments, we went counter clockwise. The ascent was gruelling but with stunning views along the way. Getting closer to the ridge was dicey for us novice hikers but we basically rock climbed our way to the top. Absolutely amazing viewpoints along the ridge. The descent was steep with lots of loose gravel but with a nice obvious path to follow. Took us about an hour longer than it should have as the descent was tricky with all the slipping and sliding. Definitely not for beginners, but totally worth the adventure!

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Lance Floreani
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great views and fun ridge traverse. Took the loop counterclockwise. Descent was loose and steep.

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Matthew Swinton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

Super steep. Barely any scree to slide down after. Views up top are nice. But all in all this is a one and done

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Maria Liu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful views during the hike and at the ridge line if you hike clockwise! A gradual steep ascend the entire way u till u hit the ridge line. The view was amazing! BUT, be mentally prepared to have a long strenuous decent. Give yourself at least 3-4 hours to decent if you hike clockwise, and make sure u have strong ankles and hiking shoes with ankle support and good grip. Try to stick with the All trails path at the beginning of the decent, we went down the scree hill and ended up being at least 0.5 miles off of the trail, had to cut thru the tree lines and get back on the trail. From there it’s about 0.5 miles of lose and slippery dirt path with deadly drops. If you can be REALLY careful and tough through this part, the rest is a breeze. Thank god we brought our headlamps, had no idea how long the decent took us as we are both fit and experienced hikers, our headlamps definitely saved the day! Don’t recommend hiking clockwise if your not mentally prepared or unfit. Trails are not marked on the decent (until you hit the last mile or so), not recommended for inexperienced hikers. If I had to do this again, I would definitely go counter clockwise.

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Erin Holmes
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Great hike! We accidentally took the clockwise route but were thankful for its marked path on the ascent. Hard to get off-track, yet the steepness is unrelenting! Once we got to the ridge the views were unbelievable! Would have been even better minus the smoke. The ridge walk took about 30-45 minutes with a few stops...you are quite exposed to the elements so be sure to pack extra layers. The clockwise descent was pretty dicey in places and hard to keep on the trail, especially once you hit the tree line, had to refer to GPS quite a bit. Very scrambly at the top and quite slippery and steep in the trees. All in all, fantastic hike if you're looking for a challenge with some of the best 360 mountain views we've seen. Took us 6.5 hours with stops, and it's definitely longer than 9k (our GPS said 14k) so be prepared. Bring lots of food and water. Not dog or child-friendly in my opinion.

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Rod Conde
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Hiking
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Eric Bailey
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Hiking

I strongly recommend doing this trail counter-clockwise. Although the clockwise route gets you better views during the accent, descending the eastern side is pretty treacherous because of the amount of scree and loose dirt. If you're looking for a physical challenge and don't mind slogging through some scree, it's a good hike. If you're more interested in gradual ascents and scenic trails, look elsewhere.

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Marcel Gruber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 19, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Beast of a hike! In my opinion, this is definitely the hardest of the all the other mountains in the Canmore Quad. It’s well worth doing at least once, but be prepared. For example, bring warm and windproof clothing. It can get freezing cold at the top, especially when strong winds roll in. I’d also recommend goggles and hiking poles. It's easy to get the first fork mixed up. Be perceptive. We ended up accidentally starting to go clockwise (we wanted to go counter clockwise) and had to cut through down into the valley and traverse over to the counter clockwise path. The ridge walk was definitely the best part of the hike. It can look daunting from a distance, but once you’re actually doing it, it’s not as gnarly as it seems. The hike took us 7.5 hours, which included the fork mixup in the beginning, a short lunch break, time to take in the views at the top, and many short water / map check breaks throughout. The most time consuming portions were the steep inclines and declines about one quarter to half way up on each side due to the long portions of loose dirt, which was particularly challenging when we came back down; we had to go very slow to avoid slipping. I never use hiking poles, but this would be a hike where I certainly would have appreciated them. Overall, this is a hike that keeps on giving. It's a great challenge. Highly recommended.

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Oliver Wells
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 13, 2020
Hiking

Very steep incline with tight switchback. Dry conditions. Hazy with smoke in the distance.

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Ross Rempel
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Hiking
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Jacob K
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 10, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Absolutely gorgeous hike with some nice views up top. This was my first time solo, second time going clockwise and third in total. Went through 2.5L of water but brought 4. Exhausting climb, but the view as you ascend on the left is much better in my opinion since you can see the summit from pretty much square one. The scramble down is pretty tough, but I still prefer it over going counter clockwise which is full of false summits and you can't see the top at all until you're there. Took me 8 hours total with some exploring and loads of short breaks. Unless you're a well seasoned hiker, take the 4-6 hour reviews with a grain of salt or two. Cross all the way from the farthest peak to the summit, and descend right along the ridgeline to hit the trail. Mountain sheep like to hang out at the tree line and aren't shy about saying hello.

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Soban Tahir
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking

A difficult but satisfying trip for hikers. Trail is steep from the beginning all the way to the summit. If doing a loop make sure to do so counter clockwise so you’re going up the steepest areas and not down. Downloadable GPS track is quite inaccurate and I ended up off trail more than once. I recommend following the base layer map under the All Trails GPS track. If you’re doing a counter clockwise summit it’s called ‘Grotto Mountain Hard Route’.

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Brooke Anderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking

Definitely do the loop counter clockwise, Bit of a challenge but a much easier climb. Path seems to disappear half way up but found our way no problem following along the canyon. Rocks are grippy and sturdy to climb on at the top. Lots of exposure so bring an extra layer for the top. Ridge line was peachy! Decent was long and slippery, steep lose gravel. Fitbit said closer to 12.9 km

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