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Quarry Lake is 129-acre lake located one hour west of Calgary and five minutes from the town of Canmore and Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. As the name indicates, Quarry Lake began life as a quarry that was eventually lined with clay and allowed to fill. Today, Quarry Lake is a favorite recreational area used by families for walking, swimming, and picnicking in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter.
Granite was first mined from Quarry Lake in the early 1900s. Coal was mined from underground shafts in 1906 and 1907. Open pit mining took place from 1967 to 1971 altering the landscape significantly and created a quarry 82 feet deep. In 1976, debris and equipment were removed from the quarry, the disturbed land was leveled and grass seeded and the quarry was lined with clay and allowed to fill. A dam controls the water level in the lake. For the last 25 years the land has been used as a recreation site known as Quarry Lake Park. Plans are underway to further develop Quarry Lake Park in a non-intrusive, environmentally friendly way for public recreational use and enjoyment.
Quarry Lake Park is jointly managed by the Town of Canmore and the Rocky Mountain Heritage Foundation. Located on the south side of the Bow Valley, the park offers spectacular views of Ha Ling Peak, Mount Lady MacDonald, and the Rundle Range. The lake is currently over 328 feet deep in some areas and is fed by an underground mountain spring making it suitable for swimming only in July and August. The area connects to extensive trails in the area for walking, biking and cross country skiing. Features of the park include public bathrooms, over three miles of hiking trails, a sandy beach area, and a designated off-leash section for dogs.
The town of Canmore, just east of Quarry Lake, lies nestled along the banks of the Bow River in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Known for its endless outdoor recreational opportunities, Canmore has seen a substantial population growth while still maintaining a small town atmosphere. There a several walking and cycling trails throughout the town along with gift shops, museums, and art galleries. For the outdoor enthusiast, there is skiing, hiking, and biking. The fall welcomes the annual migration of the eagles over the Bow Valley, bringing birders from around the world to participate and enjoy the phenomenon. Thousands of tourists visit Canmore each year.
Located five minutes west of Quarry Lake, Banff National Park is one of the best known National Parks in Canada. Established in 1885 the Park covers over 2,548 square miles. Declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations in 1995, its beautiful scenery, majestic mountains, alpine meadows and turquoise cold waters form a natural protected habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including elk, bighorn sheep, black and grizzly bear, fish and over 260 species of birds. Over 95% of the Park remains a pristine mountain environment. Hiking and equestrian trails make up much of the park and there are numerous backcountry and serviced campgrounds within the park for visitors to use.
Whether you're looking to enjoy a quiet walk in a natural setting or a hike into the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Quarry Lake is a definite must visit if you are spending some time in the area.
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