You can snowshoe anywhere there is snow, but the best trails have lots of puffy snow and beautiful scenery. If the snow is packed down, go off trail! Not only will you get more of a workout, you’ll have way more fun log hopping and jumping in the snow.
- Hogarth Lakes Loop is a pretty, family-friendly snowshoe trail that is only 3.9 km return with 30 m elevation gain.
- Elkwood Loop Trail is scenic and not too long! Start at Elkwood Amphitheatre Parking Lot and snowshoe through trees and pretty meadows to Marl Lake. There are great views of Mount Indefatigable across the lake! 3.4 km, 23 m elevation gain.
- Ribbon Creek Snowshoe Trail, located near Kananaskis Village, has several bridges that kids will love to cross. We went over 5 bridges in just 1 km! 3.7 km one way with 60 m elevation gain. *Avalanche danger beyond the end of the trail!* Note that a couple sections are shared with cross country skiers; please be courteous and stay off the ski tracks. 🙂
- Black Prince Cirque is a fun and pretty trail with lots of snow to play in. Do not go past Warspite Lake as there is avalanche danger across the lake. Watch for skiers as this is a popular ski trail. 4.3 km round trip, 90 m elevation gain.
- Wintour Trail is actually Highway 40 past the winter gate. It may seem odd to snowshoe on the road, but the vistas are pretty amazing! Park near the winter gate and snowshoe south. 5 km return, 74 m elevation gain. *THERE IS AVALANCHE DANGER 2.5 KM PAST THE WINTER GATE. TURN BACK AFTER 2.5 KM.*
- Rawson Lake takes you along the shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake to Sarrail Falls, then up switchbacks through subalpine forest to Rawson Lake. Do not cross the lake as the awesome peaks overlooking the lake pose serious avalanche danger. 7.8 km return, 320 m elevation gain.
- Chester Lake is a good climb with awesome payoff at the end. Although you hike up through the trees, the meadows near the lake are expansive and just beyond the lake, snow covered boulders (the Elephant Rocks) make for fun climbing and cool photos. For more information, please see Year Round Fun at Chester Lake. 7.2 km return, 287 m elevation gain.
For more information, please see the Alberta Parks – Kananaskis Snowshoeing Brochure.
|Ribbon Creek Snowshoe Trail, Kananaskis Valley|
|Marl Lake, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park|
|Approaching Chester Lake, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park|
|Troll Falls in winter, Kananaskis Valley|
West Bragg Creek
- Snowy Owl Trail is great on a calm day as it’s quite open and gets lots of sun. It parallels the Mountain Road ski trail and is quite flat for the first couple kilometres. Download the West Bragg Creek Trail Map here.
- Option 1: Make the blue bridge your destination (1.3 km) and turn back for a 2.6 km snowshoe.
- Option 2: Do a 5.4 km loop by continuing on Snowy Owl 1.8 km past the bridge and returning on Snowy Shortcut, a 1.0 km connector that rejoins Snowy Owl. There is some elevation gain on the section between the bridge and the connector trail.
|Mountain Road, West Bragg Creek (snowshoe trail is to the right)|
Banff National Park (Banff & Lake Louise)
- Johnson Lake offers fantastic views of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain. You can take the flat and pretty trail around the lake (2.8 km), or snowshoe right on the lake once it’s frozen. Chariot friendly.
- Lake Minnewanka’s shoreline is gorgeous year round! If the ice is thick enough, you can snowshoe on the lake, but use extreme caution and stay close to shore. You can snowshoe to the first campground (LM8 at 7.6 km), but Stewart Canyon is a nice destination with kids. It’s only 800 metres to the bridge, or 6.5 km return to the river gorge (minimal elevation gain). For more information, see Hiking With Barry – Stewart Canyon.
- Tunnel Mountain Drive gives you great views of Cascade Mountain. 1.7 km one way. Start at Tunnel Mountain Drive and St Julien Way in the town of Banff. The upper part of the road is closed to cars in the winter! For a longer trip, hike to the summit of Tunnel Mountain! If the trail is packed down, snowshoes may not be needed, but ice cleats are recommended for traction (especially on the descent).
- Snowshoe across Lake Louise or take the Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail (4 km return) to 100 metre high Louise Falls. Both are Chariot friendly. For more information, see Snowshoe, Ski, Skate, and Walk on World Famous Lake Louise.
- Fairview Lookout is a steep, but fun trail that leads to a viewpoint overlooking Lake Louise and the Chateau. 2 km return, 100 m elevation gain. For more information, see Snowshoeing to Fairview Lookout.
- Lake Agnes Trail to Mirror Lake is a good climb through the trees that offers glimpses down at Lake Louise and a view of the Beehive from Mirror Lake. Do not go past Mirror Lake as it is avalanche terrain! 6 km return from Chateau Lake Louise, 300 m elevation gain. Follow the signs on the right side of the lake (opposite the boathouse).
- Peyto Lake Viewpoint. While not as spectacular as in summer when you can see the brilliant blue lake, the view is still pretty amazing and the trail is easy. 1.5 km return, 25 m elevation gain.
|Fairview Lookout Trail, Lake Louise|
|Louise Falls at end of Lake Louise, Banff National Park|
AMENITIES – BANFF
- Falling for Winter – Your winter recreation guide for Calgary, Banff, and Kananaskis
- 10 Tips for Fun Family Snowshoeing
- Children’s Snowshoes Reviews – Atlas Sprout, MSR Tyker, Snowtrek SS14
- 14 Things to Do in Canmore This Winter
- 9 Things to Do in Lake Louise This Winter
- 10 Things to Do in Banff This Winter
- Keeping Kids Warm in Winter – what to look for and what we wear
- Why You Need Avalanche Skills Training