What trails will be open in Banff?

I biked across the Goat creek bridge in August

I biked across the Goat creek bridge in August

Update Nov 20: Banff Trail Report indicates that Sundance Canyon and Healy Creek have been trackset. Access only from the Cave and Basin.

Just found this from Banff National Park. It’s very confusing. What I can decipher from this information is that Spray West will be the end of the tracksetting(10K from Banff), so why do they even mention the Goat Creek Bridge(at 12K) if they are not going to trackset beyond 10K?

It says, “travel is not recommended from Canmore to Banff due to the absence of the bridge.” The Goat creek bridge is still there, isn’t it? It is the bridge at 12K from Banff. Maybe I’m misunderstanding something. Can anyone figure this out?

I know the bridges are okay on Redearth Creek, so I’m assuming it will be trackset as usual.


Banff National Park

Here is an update on some XC ski information for areas of the park affected by 2013 flooding. 

Cascade Valley
Skiers will be able to ski 6.4 km to the Cascade River. The trail from the Cascade River to Stoney Creek will not be trackset due to the washed-out bridge over Cascade River. The bridge will be replaced in spring/summer 2014.

New trails will be groomed from the trailhead (Lake Minnewanka day-use area) to Upper Bankhead.

Spray River Trail West and East
A new bridge at the end of Spray West trail will arrive by helicopter on December 23, 2013, with immediate installation to follow. Depending on construction and weather conditions, Spray West and East trails may be trackset and available for skiing as early as Christmas.

Goat Creek Trail
Bridge reconstruction at the Goat Creek junction (12km from the Spray Trailhead) is scheduled for spring 2014. The Goat Creek trail will not be trackset. Although the trail remains open, travel is not recommended from Canmore to Banff due to the absence of the bridge.

New: Skiing at Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court
When conditions permit, Banff volunteers will groom Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court Campground.


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  1. I finally got through by phone and talked to a real live person about this. They think it was a mistake on their part to say the bridge at 12K(which would be the Goat Creek bridge). It should be 10K, which is the Spray River bridge. I still couldn’t get a firm answer on how far the Spray River trail will be trackset, so I think we can only count on having it trackset to the junction with Spray River East at 5.6K.

  2. We are hoping to organize a bus trip Jan 25 which drops us off at the Goat Creek parking lot and picks us up at the Bow Falls. Looking at the map Ian mentioned it looks like they have closed the bridge Bob has in his picture at the top of the page. I just can’t figure out if it will be open by that date. I sure would appreciate any info or opinions.

    We know from Chuck’s photos that the Spray River bridge is damaged. It is 8.8K from the Goat Creek trailhead, or 9.9K from the Banff trailhead. In any event, Goat Creek trail will not be trackset this winter. If you proceed with your trip, you’d be skiing in backcountry conditions to 8.8K at which time you’d come to the damaged bridge over the Spray River. -Bob

    • Hi Jennifer! The answer is ‘Yes’ – you can ski from Goat Creek parking lot all the way to Banff. The picture above is Goat Creek bridge and it’s okay. There is the second bridge on your way -Spray River bridge – and it’s indeed a little bit short now for the river. Howevere, if the skies are not a part of your body and you can take them off for a minute, you’ll have no problems to cross 3 meters on ice on foot from the right bank of Spray river to the bridge. The leg-made ski track is on both sides. Checked it today.

  3. On the Banff National Park page linked to by Bob, just below the Cross-Country Ski info, there are links to five maps. The maps are marked with the bridges that are out.

    Looking at the whole batch of them, all I can say is “Holy *#$%@#!!” While many of them might not relate to XC, there are a LOT of bridges out in the area. On one of the maps, I counted more than ten.

  4. I think by “Spray West” they mean just the west side of Spray Loop. The entire trail from Banff to Spray Lakes is actually called the Spray River fire road. It sounds to me like they’ll be grooming just Spray Loop once the bridge is helicoptered in (that might be fun to go and watch!). I took a walk out there about a week ago and it looks like they’re busy preparing the footings for it. They’ve also built a temporary “catwalk” type bridge over the river, presumably for the workers, but you can cross over there if you want to do the whole loop. The other bridge has to be the one over the Spray River that was also washed out in June but you are right, it’s at 10k, not 12k. Sounds like they just got their distances mixed up. Either way, we won’t be skiing Goat Creek on groomed trails this year, which is kind of sad.

    Thanks, Darrell. The distance mix-up really had me confused. I hope they correct it so it doesn’t continue to confuse people. I didn’t know that the Spray River Fire Road was the official name of the entire trail. -Bob

  5. I know for a fact that the Brewster creek trailhead just off the sunshine road was destroyed by the flood and that the bridge that was there is gone so the only route up Brewster would be from cave and basin. ( unless you try to cross the frozen Healy or Brewster creeks) .

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