Cascade Valley

The trail to Cascade Valley

Judging from all the skiers on the Cascade Valley trail, I think people took the advice and left PLPP to the racers. 

I met Ray and Jeanne at the top of the big hill

Many of our popular ski trails start with a strenuous climb and Cascade Valley is one of them. If you make it over the hill, you are rewarded with a beautiful trail consisting of gentle, rolling terrain and numerous interesting features. 

Glenna and Denise on the Cascade Valley trail

One of the features is the little house on the banks of the Cascade River at 13.4K which I wrote about in a previous blog post… The little house in Cascade Valley. It’s a fascinating story about the Carleton family who lived in the house once upon a time. It’s also the site of the warden’s cabin which offers a nice lunch spot in the sun. 

Starting up the big hill

I didn’t ski all the way to the to the cabin today. I went to 7.5K and turned around.

With yesterday’s winds, I keep expecting to see a severe case of needlemania on the trails, but I’m happy to report that Cascade Valley escaped any significant damage.

The end of the Cascade River bridge at 6K is a popular gathering spot

There was a little bit of drifting on the paved road and the meadow, but once on the trail proper, it was all fine. 

Skiing down to the Cascade River bridge

The temperature at 1:30 pm at the very crowded Lake Minnewanka parking lot was -7°C. The VR45(-2/-8) which was already on my skis worked well to get me up the big hill, but the snow was colder on the other side and my wax was grabbing a bit, but not enough to motivate me to re-wax. 

I skied to the Cascade river on reasonably good tracks. Past the bridge at 6K the trail narrows to a single track and a skating lane. The track is in better shape past the bridge as it doesn’t get as much use. 

Cascade Valley is single trackset beyond the Cascade bridge

A few skiers who were new to the trail were asking about distances. It’s 13.4K to the picturesque location of the warden’s cabin(and the little house) on the bank of the Cascade River.  If you bypass the side trip to the warden’s cabin it’s 14.5K to the end of the tracksetting. The Cascade bridge is 6K. 

Small amounts of snow are in the forecast for overnight and tomorrow, so any tree debris which resulted from yesterday’s winds should get covered. The forecast is predicting sub-zero temperatures for the foreseeable future, so these excellent conditions should continue. 

I was happy to get Tony’s update from the Cookie Race saying the conditions were wonderful. It makes for a nice day for both the racers and the volunteers. Cookie Race Results. 


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  1. Hey there! Just wondering if you think Cascade Valley is a viable option for someone who has only ever cross-country skied Mt Shark/Watridge Lake and Castle Lookout to Baker Creek. Endurance is not an issue, but general technique/confidence with going uphill and downhill still needs some work 🙂

    • Hi Camille, the big hill near the start would be the stumbling block on this trail. I’ve seen others refer to the hill as a “gentle incline,” but you will be disabused of that notion when descending at the end of your trip. If conditions are favourable, you can control your downhill speed by snowplowing, but if conditions are fast, and the critical areas are scraped bare, it would be a challenge. I’d suggest waiting for more snow and fresh tracksetting before attempting it.

  2. I knew it was you Bob (we talked a bit at the end of the ski day) :-)! It was our first time there, but we truly enjoyed the day. Great report! Love your site! Very informative! For newbies like us… fantastic! Thank you.

    I enjoyed talking with you! -Bob

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