Tibits Quarry - Canmore - Hiking Alberta


Long abandoned Tibits Quarry hangs on north-side slopes west near Canmore, Alberta.



There is an excellent map available from the Alberta Visitor Centre on the west side of Canmore.  The map is called 'Canmore Pathways and Trails'.  Access to the Visitor Centre is clearly marked on the TransCanada Highway and a stop is recommended to speak with knowledgeable, friendly and helpful staff who can provide documentation for a wealth of hiking opportunities.


Tibits Quarry, Bow Valley Corridor. Canmore, Alberta, Canada


Several less commonly known trail systems and historic locations exist within this pioneer town.  Today's objective will hike easy trails above Harvie Heights in the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park

The parking area is obvious on Palliser Parkway and a metal trail map on a post is accompanied by the traditional trail-head sign.  The hiking route is comprised of four trails in the relative configuration of a rectangle.  They are the Ridge Traverse Trail, the Tibits Quarry Trail, the Montane Traverse Trail and the Meander Trail

The combined distance is 7.2 KM (4½ miles) on easy, excellent quality trail which is predominantly flat with minor, gentle elevation on the Tibits Quarry and Meander trails.


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada The trailhead at the base of Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park with Princess Margaret Mountain in the background


The short 0.7 KM (0.4 mile) access leads to a left turn onto the 1.0 KM (⅝ mile) Ridge Traverse trail, on good surface, through forest with the occasional view to mountains on either side of the Bow Valley Corridor

Wildflowers are prolific with orange lilies stealing the show.  The Ridge Traverse trail travels through an old area of forest fire and skeletons of charred trees and stumps coexist with new growth forest.


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada The Ridge Traverse trail along the bottom between Meander and Tibits Quarry Trails


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada Wildflowers are prolific in the area but these orange lilies are plentiful and steal the show


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada Trail characteristics vary from one section to another. Wetlands nearby have affected this surface.


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada Wetland bog supports this fascinating carpet resembling green clouds with 'floating' logs


Along the Ridge Traverse trail there are open areas which provide mountain views.  At the trail T-junction a kilometer later, a right turn transfers to the Tibits Quarry trail, predominantly in forest with a gradual and consistent uphill grade.  The single lane trail has small berms on either side which are overgrown with smaller trees, shrubbery and wildflowers, so obviously, many years ago this was a road access to Tibits Quarry

At the old, overgrown, rundle stone quarry site there are a myriad of side trails.  One short excursion to the left gains access to an open ridge with outstanding views into Banff National Park and mountains on the far side of the Bow Valley Corridor.


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada A view from the Ridge Traverse trail to Princess Margaret Mountain and Squaws Tit


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada Gradually gaining elevation on the trail centered on the old road to Tibits Quarry


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada The remains of Tibits Quarry where rundle stone was extracted for building purposes


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada The remains of Tibits Quarry where rundle stone was extracted for building purposes


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada To the left of the quarry an open ridge provides an excellent view of Mount Rundle


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada To the left of the quarry an open ridge provides an excellent view of the Three Sisters


The Tibits Quarry trail turns right to cross the wide, dry, stony creek bed which originates from the draw between Princess Margaret Mountain and Squaw's Tit (which is really an outlier of Mount Charles Stewart).


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada A downstream view from the stony creek bed near Tibits Quarry across the Bow Valley Corridor to Mount Rundle


Caution must be exercised here.  The metal trail marker on the post shows the Tibits Quarry Trail turns right and becomes the Montane Traverse trail on the other side of the wide stony creek bed.  There are many trail starts on the other side and the trick is to find the correct one.

This confusing situation forces me to head upstream to find a rustic and overgrown but seemingly credible trail which should be named, the Trail of Lost Souls. Although this trail is not the Montane Traverse trail the assumption is the trail may lead into Montane Traverse or, alternatively, create an exciting new and challenging adventure. 

Wrong!  The trail eventually leaves the ridge and plummets the wrong direction into a valley, then into a very beautiful, wetland bog which tests the sense of humor.  Hopping over streams and bailing out boots is involved in this seldom-seen wilderness paradise.


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada My trail choice drops steeply into a valley which leads to a wetland bog and challenging terrain


The correct Montane Traverse trail must be further up the other side of the stony creek bed near Tibits Quarry, so be advised to search carefully for a very good quality trail and avoid this mistake. 

Eventually the exercise pops out onto an excellent trail and hike to the left.  A few minutes later arrival at a trail junction leads to discovering the Meander Trail.  The impromptu route has partially bisected the 'rectangle' with an angular route from Tibits Quarry to about half way up the Meander Trail

There is an unmarked trail at the three-way junction.  There are a lot of unmarked trails but metal trail signs make the correct trail clear.


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada On the Meander Trail continuing left will lead up to the Montane Traverse trail


The Meander Trail is aptly named.  The good path twists and turns its way upwards on a gentle grade.  Some of the turns are so tight the fanny is visible without turning around. 

The good quality Meander Trail does intersect with the Montane Traverse trail, confirmed by hiking a short distance of it, but resisting the urge to hike the 1.5 KM (⅞ mile) back to Tibits Quarry to discover where the trail begins on the far side of the stony creek. 

Alternatively, the Meander Trail returns to the beginning of hike parking area. 

The Tibits Quarry Loop is an excellent, easy hike on very good trail which is predominantly through forest with the occasional view of mountains.  Off trail adventures are available.  The hike is worth the time for fresh air, exercise and the wildflowers, especially those beautiful orange lilies.


Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada







To Sandra, In further review of your comment, I believe you are speaking of the Policeman's Bridge, on what is currently 8 Ave. in Canmore, crossing the Bow River. I believe there is a good chance you are referring to climbing up Whiteman's Creek, around and past the waterfalls to a flat plain area backed by the cliffs which are the sheer faces on Mount Lawrence Grassi and Chinaman's Peak (now known as Ha Ling Peak). The only unknown is the site of the stone quarry. On the flat plain there is a recreational area containing Quarry Lake. My understanding is that Quarry Lake was originally part of an open pit coal mining operation. I am not aware of it ever being a stone quarry. If you examine the photographs on my Canmore's Coal Mine # 1 post there may be some images there which appear familiar. Hope this helps.

Thank you for your comment, Dr. Sandra. The quarries near Canmore, Alberta which I mention in two of my posts do not match the terrain you describe. I would like to tell you precisely where your quarry is located but the truth is, I do not know. I ask for assistance from my readers regarding the location of the quarry you mention. Here is the situation. Your description is reminiscent of several locations near Mount Rundle. The slate you mention is called 'Rundlestone' because great quantities of it are found near the base of Mount Rundle. Mount Rundle is a long mountain stretching many kilometres between Canmore and Banff Townsite. It has two sides; on the northeast in the Bow Valley and on the southwest in Goat Creek Valley. The detail you provide of the terrain is excellent. If you can remember and share more global information about location, that could be helpful. Also names of people could provide links and clues. You may provide the information in this forum if you wish. All comments are moderated and I edit for anonymity before the comments are published. Email addresses are kept private. And, BTW, we welcome you back to Canada and hope your visit will be hugely successful, amazingly productive and pleasant, and forever memorable. A lot has changed in 40 years but Alberta remains as spectacular as you remember.

I am returning to Alberta for a holiday next year. I am Albertan but have lived in Oxford for 43 years. In the 1960's my family bought slate from a quarry owner in Canmore, Alberta. He lived by the river where it bends and it flanked one side and the back of his property by a bridge. The quarry he took us to was not far. There was a stream which was fed by a step-waterfall so that it was possible to climb and then there would be a flat bit and then one would climb again. There were many fossils in the rocks. My brother and I climbed the waterfall whilest the parents were selecting the slate. I would dearly love to visit this site again. Is there a chance you know of it? Is it a bit of Mount Rundle? The back of the chap's home faced towering cliffs. I would appreciate your help.

This sounds like Quarry Canyon to me. Located in behind Harvie Heights. Not certain but the waterfall part fits.

Not certain, Dave, but if I recall correctly Tibits Quarry is towards the west side of Canmore on the north side above the TransCanada Highway.  I believe the location is marked on the trail signage in the area.  Tibits Quarry is also identified in hiking guide documentation.  Sorry I cannot be more specific.  Perhaps another hiker more familiar with the area can be helpful.  I enjoy hiking in the Canmore area but I am by no means an expert in Canmore trail specifics.  The Visitor Center may also be able to help in providing clarification.

Quarry canyon is one canyon West of Tibits canyon. You need permission from the Quarry to use their access road.

Thanks for the information, Dave.

Can you tell me how to get to that horsetail forest you referred to as the wetland bog? We used to go there with our kids and now my daughter wanted to take a few wedding photos there. I can't remember which trail it is off of and exactly how to get there. Thanks! MJ

MJ, The way I stumbled into the horsetail area was via an incorrect trail exit after crossing the rock fall chute from the Tibits Quarry Trail.  The exit I took would be below the Montane Traverse Trail which I was aiming for.  My guess is the horsetail field is in the southeast quadrant of the area contained by Tibits Quarry Trail, the Meander Trail, the Montane Traverse and the Ridge Traverse.  Also, this hike was pre 2013 floods so the area may not even exist anymore.  However the area was so beautiful it is worth seeing if still there.  Locals may be more helpful than I can be several years later.  The memory for this level of detail does not serve me well anymore.  The blog post pictures are shown in the sequence taken so the horsetail should be near the Ridge Traverse Trail. Good luck.