Snowshoeing in Calgary and the Kananaskis Rockies
Snowshoeing is as easy as walking, but much more fun if you get off trail in the powder and explore. Snowshoeing is much more fun when the snow is deep, and you could not walk there with boots alone. It is rare to have that much snow in Calgary, but on occasion we get a big snowfall in March and this would be a great time to head out in the city.
There are many wonderful, designated snowshoe routes in the Kananaskis, and when Calgary has snow, you can explore in the city as well. Here is an overview:
Calgary and area
- on the golf courses.
- Sandy Cross Conservation Area (22 x and 130 St)
- Any park that is covered in snow
West Bragg Creek
The West Bragg Creek recreation area is multi-use. Cross Country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking (fat biking in the winter) and dog friendly activities area all supported in this incredibly popular (busy) area. You will see a map of the designated snowshoe trails here. This area is very close to Calgary, but the snow cover is minimal most of the year. While find for track-set cross-country skiing, it is not necessary to have snowshoes most of the winter. With the chinooks that role in, the snow becomes very packed and boots with traction devices suffice unless the hiker plans on going off trail into the woods and the clear-cuts. So, snowshoeing is best in this area after a fresh snowfall.
The Spray Lakes Provincial Park and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park have the best snowshoeing within an hour-1.5 hours drive of Calgary. These areas are in a snow belt and the snow last until June. Even when there is not snows in Calgary and very little snow along Hwy. 40, there will be over a meter of snow in the Spray Lakes area. Designated snowshoe routes have been created, with signage to ensure that you do not enter avalanche terrain. This is the biggest issue once into the mountains. You need to know what avalanche terrain looks like so that you do not accidentally enter into it, or even walk at the base of an avalanche slope.This area is popular but much less busy that West Bragg. It is also more remote. When travelling on the trails in this area you should have the snowshoe trails maps AND the trail and topographical map in hand and know how to use it. It is easy to get disoriented with all of the unofficial trails that scatter the area. And if you do not know what an avalanche slope is, then DO NOT enter this area. You need to learn about avalanche terrain before stepping out.
Here is a great website with a review of 5 wonderful snowshoe trips in the Kananaskis.