Canmore is the obvious destination when it comes to buying property in the Bow Valley. But there are several other places in the mountains west of Calgary where you can buy real estate.

Some areas have factors that would limit their appeal to the majority of buyers. However, if you're willing to do some searching, you'll find there it more to the Rocky Mountains than just Canmore.

Banff: While you can own property in Banff, park regulations mean you probably won't be able to use it as a vacations home, says Drew Betts, an associate broker with the Brad Hawker Real Estate Team in Canmore.

Anyone can buy or lease a property in Banff, but the town's "need to reside" rule limits its usefulness, says Betts. The rules state in order to live in Banff, you must either work there, own a business, be a student or have retired there.

You could buy property in Banff as an investment and rent it out to a local resident, says Betts. But the cost of the property makes it hard to generate a positive cash flow.

Prices in Banff range from a typical two bedroom apartment condo at about $180,000 to townhouses starting at about $342,000.

Harvey Heights: A small hamlet right on the boundary of Banff national Park, Harvey Heights has been a highly sought-after area for recreational property for years.
Most of the homes in the area are more rustic and cabin-like than in Canmore and some still rely on well water, says Betts.

Listings are relatively scarce and many properties have been passed down through generations of a family.

The most recent property that sold in Harvey Heights was a 3,400 square-foot home on a half acre (0.2 hectares) that went for $900,000, says Betts.

Dead Man's Flats: Most people notice only the gas stations along the highway, but Dead Man's Flats also has some real estate development – with more coming.
The Copperstone project is underway, and there is an existing condominium development with about 44 units, says Betts.
A recent sale in that development was a 800-square-foo unit that sold for $235,000, he says.
Exshaw: There is real estate in Exshaw, about 10 minutes east of Canmore on the old 1A Highway.

But with the communities' location right on the highway and next tot the local mining plant, it has limited appeal as recreational property.
Some Canmore residents looking for more affordable property have instead moved to Exshaw and commute to Canmore, says Betts.

Kananaskis Country: Unknown to most people who visit Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, a side road in the park leads to an area of 70 cottages that date back to the early 1960's.
Developed before Kananaskis Country was established, the cottages are on leased land and rarely come on to the market. There have been only three sales of the elusive properties in the past four years, says Betts.

The most recent was a property which sold for $555,000. Its lease with the province is set to expire in 2016.

Written by: Gerald Vander Pyl and published in the Special to Calgary Herald.