No country does charming mountain towns quite like Canada: the crisp air, the breathtaking scenery, the adorable Main Streets filled with cozy cafes and restaurants…yes, it’s a good place to be for those who like life high above sea level. We don’t want to brag, but the mountain towns in Canada are some of the best in the world. And while the Rockies are great, there are tons of towns to choose from in some of the other Canadian mountain ranges, too. We’ve put together our top ten mountain towns—what would yours be?
- Pincher Creek, AB
Don’t try to tell the residents of Pincher Creek about Banff—they’ve got their own awesome national park, thank you very much. Take a day or three to explore Waterton Lakes National Park, then pay a visit to Castle Mountain Resort for a cat skiing adventure in the open bowls and freshies of the backcountry.
Explore outdoors: When you’re done on the slopes, enjoy some more classic wintery fun: ice skating with the locals on Beauvais Lake.
Warm up: There are all sorts of ways to warm up at Harvest Coffeehouse: daily homemade soups, warm bread, and of course, local coffee.
- Terrace, BC
This northwestern BC village has it all. Outdoor ice-skating, relaxing hot springs, and laid-back nightlife make Terrace a great pick for a weekend in the mountains. Even their snow sports are better: the local mountain is actually owned by the locals! My Mountain Co-Op is Canada’s first non-profit ski cooperative—and that’s pretty cool.
Explore outdoors: Off the mountain, spot grizzlies and glaciers with the experts at Split Mountain Tours—you might even see the rare white spirit bear.
Warm up: Located in a charming log cabin, Thornhill Pub is the perfect spot to sit near the fireplace with a beer and watch the snow fall.
When you’re a town with “Rocky Mountain” in your name, you know you’ve got to deliver on the high-altitude adventure. Rocky Mountain House certainly does, serving as a picturesque home base for exploring both Banff and Jasper National Parks. However, with all its cozy coffeeshops and galleries, you probably won’t want to leave town.
Explore outdoors: Soak in the dramatic landscape on the Forest Fires & Ice Bubbles Snowshoe Tour, offered by Pursuit Adventures.
Warm up: Curling up by the fire is a quintessential mountain town move—find homemade quilts at Beaver Creek Mercantile in nearby Caroline, and all you’ll need is the fireplace.
- Haines Junction, YT
There’s nothing quite like the wild beauty of Kluane National Park. It’s home to Canada’s highest mountain and its largest ice field. It has endless alpine forests, serene lakes, and miles of peaceful backcountry. Haines Junction is its idyllic mountain town, with friendly locals, a thriving arts scene, and even an annual sled dog race in March (the Silver Sled Stage Race).
Explore outdoors: Get a spectacular aerial view with Kluane Glacier Air Tours and pick out your future mountain hikes.
Warm up: What’s better than coffee? Homemade pastries, quiche, and breads from Village Bakery & Deli to go along with it.
- Mont-Tremblant, QC
Mont-Tremblant isn’t just a skier’s paradise, it’s a photographer’s paradise, too. Put your snowshoes on and explore Parc national du Mont-Tremblant, the largest and oldest national park in Quebec, in search of moose and white-tailed deer. Back in town, Rue de Saint Jovite has cute restaurants for every night of the week.
Explore outdoors: The slopes open at Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort on November 23, so start waxing those skis.
Warm up: After a day out on the slopes, a wintery beer from Microbrasserie St-Arnould will warm you right up.
- Norris Point, NL
You don’t have to live in western Canada to take a trip to the mountains. This Newfoundland and Labrador town is at the doorstep of the Tablelands, surrounded by beautiful Bonne Bay on three sides and Gros Morne National Park to the north. If you’re looking for small-town appeal and striking mountain scenery, this is your place.
Explore outdoors: Gros Morne National Park is home to Newfoundland and Labrador’s second-highest mountain, plus dramatic cliffs, plunging valleys, and towering plateaus.
Warm up: After a day exploring, the enchanting Chanterelles restaurant provides fine dining, wine, and friendly conversation.
- Uxbridge, ON
This popular resort town is just 70km outside Toronto and has not one, but three ski resorts, welcoming all those city dwellers with open arms. And with world-class restaurants, music venues, and art galleries, there’s plenty to do indoors, too. Don’t miss the Buckingham Gallery of Fine Art and Uxbridge Music Hall to get your culture on.
Explore outdoors: Find your favourite ski resort: Dagmar has the area’s largest terrain park, Skyloft is known for family-friendliness, and Lakeridge has awesome tubing.
Warm up: Back in town, retreat to the warmth of the quaint, wood-and-brick Hobby Horse Arms Restaurant & Gastro Pub.
- Sun Peaks, BC
If you’re looking for a mountain experience straight out of a dream, look no further than Sun Peaks. Stay in a romantic A-frame lodge or ski chalet and take horse-drawn carriage rides through snowy wonderlands. Whether you live for that early morning powder or want to keep the party going late into the night, Sun Peaks has you covered.
Explore outdoors: Celebrate opening weekend at Sun Peaks Ski Resort on November 18 with live music, a film premiere, and more.
Warm up: Dance away the winter chill to the live DJs at Bottoms Bar & Grill, the hottest apres-ski spot around.
- Hinton, AB
Hinton had to make the list: its motto is “Gateway to the Rockies,” after all. With the Athabasca River to the north and Jasper National Park right in its backyard, this is a postcard-perfect mountain town, with all the winter festivals and outdoor fun you’d expect.
Explore outdoors: You’re sure to find your Zen on an ice fishing adventure with Rocky Mountain Fishing Adventures.
Warm up: The latte art experts at The Old Grind will make you a beverage that’s pretty and tasty.
- Courtenay, BC
In Courtenay, you can go from sand to ski in no time flat. Located on Vancouver Island, this town of 25,000 attracts outdoorsy types year-round, but especially in winter. Go ocean kayaking in the morning and downhill skiing in the afternoon—it’s all just part of the laid-back Courtenay lifestyle.
Explore outdoors: Mount Washington Alpine Resort has it all: downhill, terrain parks, night skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing.
Warm up: The name of Hot Chocolates café says it all—but if you need it spelled out, they’ve got the best hot drinks in town.
Looking to “elevate” your next holiday? Whether you’re a snow sports enthusiast or just want to stay warm and snug by the fire, you certainly have plenty of amazing places to visit in Canada. We hope we’ve helped you narrow it down—or you’ll just have to visit all ten!