Dog-friendly ski trails

At all times, dogs are supposed to be leashed. The exceptions are West Bragg Creek,  Nipika, and Bearberry. If I’ve missed any, leave a comment or send me an email.

Kananaskis

  • West Bragg Creek – dogs are allowed to run off-leash on the trails, but must be leashed in the parking lot.
  • Mount Shark
  • Ribbon Creek and Kananaskis Village
  • Wedge pond and Bill Milne

Banff

  • Healy Creek
  • Sundance canyon
  • Castle Junction to Castle Lookout
  • Baker creek to Castle Lookout

Other

  • Lake Louise – Pipestone trails, Bow River and Campground loop, Lake Louise Shoreline
  • Yoho – Yoho Valley road, Lake O’Hara fire road(this trail is trackset only in Feb and March)
  • Nipika Mountain resort is totally dog-friendly
  • Ungroomed trails in Kootenay National Park: East Kootenay, West Kootenay, Simpson River
  • Sundre – Bearberry Nordic Centre http://www.bearberrycabins.com/

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 GordN March 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Picked up the dog boots pawz Bob suggested, not only are they the only ones to have stayed on today at dog friendly castle area but we put the old booties over top and they stayed on the whole trip! This had never happened before. Petland or Walmart.

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2 Georgina March 13, 2014 at 11:34 am

I used to live in Whitehorse, Yukon where there is a fantastic ski area right in town. They have dedicated trails for dogs and they are really well used as most folks in the Yukon own dogs and also love to ski! The thing I miss most about living there was being able to pick up my dog after work and head over for a good 1 to 1.5 hr. ski with my dog. Win win for both of us!
I understand they are having difficulties managing the dog trails now, mostly due to increase membership of the ski club. I thought this link may be an interesting perspective for everyone here. I am impressed at how much effort and thought has gone into what appears to be an integral part of their ski club.

http://www.xcskiwhitehorse.ca/skiwithyourdog.html

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3 John March 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Hi All

We moved to Calgary last summer from the UK and have two dogs (GSD and Lab X) and want to take them on trails, I have two small children (8 & 5) as well so want easy and friendly trails that can be recommended around Canmore / Banff.

Many Thanks

John

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4 GordN March 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Welcome!

I’ve done these with both dog & kids

Kananaskis Village and around what’s left of what was Ribbon Creek.

Lake area of Lake Louise (some areas are ok for dogs some not, check the map from Parks Canada) but I found the horse and sleigh rides company working around the front of the chateau to be fairly anti-dog and pretty vocal about it.

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5 Keith March 5, 2014 at 4:44 pm

John,

The Lake Louise Campground Loop is a pretty easy trail which you can have leashed dogs on, and fairly gentle for the kids.

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6 John March 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm

We went to Mount Shark about 40 minute drive from Canmore, AB. the Trails werew groomed and the dogs were welcomed by the other skiers many of which had their own dogs as well.
Some good loops and short trails which was perfect for the kids and dogs… just now need to teach dogs not to stand on the Ski’s…

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7 GordN March 12, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Ya, what is about walking on the skis, when you’re moving! And they just can’t seem to figure it out!LOL

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8 Tim Mang March 12, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Nipika is my favourite dog friendly ski area. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND skiing at Nipika with dogs and in general. I can’t wait to stay there sometime with my family!!!! Lyle Wilson is amazingly nice and will be nice to you and your dog! Funny how a former National team coach is okay with the odd dog print. He always laughs at people like Chuper, after all deer make grooming a much bigger challenge than many fidos do.

Note that Nipika is 30 minutes from Invermere!!! I am astonished that this place isn’t busier with people staying in Invermere and skiing at Nipika…warning spring does tend to come early there. Make sure you talk to Lyle…he’s legendary!!!!

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9 Coreen Nelson February 17, 2014 at 11:49 am

Heritage Ranch in Red Deer is also Dog friendly. Trails are multi-use trails but most users are polite and respect the track. I wouldn’t say its a destination trail, but it’s beautiful and great to ski if you are in the area. There is also 5 Km of dog friendly trails at River Bend, if you ski the Perimeter trail, which is also pretty.

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10 Chuper November 15, 2013 at 8:50 pm

dog friendly ski trails omg what next dog friendly golf courses (what a lame sport) oh yeah now I know why I quit going to those places , dog crap , but all of you dog people say ” I always clean up after my dog ” yeah right

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11 oldtroll November 16, 2013 at 9:05 am

Life is to short to be angry Chuper !

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12 Chuper November 16, 2013 at 7:45 pm

oldtroll whatup ,( btw I like your handle ) ; you stand corrected sir I am not angry but rather frustrated by the total lack of respect that this fabulous sport deserves and dogs running @ large on ski trails are not welcome (neither are those snowshoers) . Hey dog people how about getting up an hour earlier and going out with your dog and then going for a ski , i’m absolutely certain the dog couldn’t care less , oh and just to wrap this up I was out running in a very popular dog area today and didn’t see any because the heavy hitter owner was laying low because of this blizzard ha ha

Considering that dogs are allowed off-leash at West Bragg creek, your logic and reasoning could easily be used against you. Perhaps you should be skiing in a place where dogs aren’t allowed? -Bob

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13 Shannon November 17, 2013 at 8:58 am

I have to agree with Bob. There are few places where us dog owners can take our animals with us. If you find this a problem there are many trails that don’t allow dogs. That might be where you would find more pleasure skiing.

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14 Tim Mang March 12, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Chuper, dogs aren’t holding you back, but your attitude is! I think you should go on a really long solo ski tour to sort out your inner anger towards canids.

Remember skiing is a luxury…and the mountains are for everyone to enjoy not just stuck up, snobby people that have some set belief about how XC skiing should take place and how exactly it should be done. Try wearing baggy pants sometime….oh the freedom of not conforming.

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15 Tim Mang March 12, 2014 at 5:38 pm

By the way Chuper, I would love to see a dog friendly golf course. Great idea!!!

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16 Don November 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Check out the dog freindly trails at Sun Peaks.
Since they opened the one trail to dogs, their skier visits have increased a lot.
It has now become one of the most popular areas near Kamloops and even
some of the hotels are now dog friendly. They have had very little
problem and the owners respect this.
Thanks Don

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17 GordN May 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Off topic but does anyone have an opinion on a pet kennel they like? Little over a week stay, prefer North West Calgary but I’ll listen to any ideas.

Thanks,
Gord

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18 Sian October 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

We always use Springbank Pet Resort near Calaway Park, vet run, all staff are friendly and our dog comes back happy and fit

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19 laz January 30, 2014 at 12:59 pm

thanks Bob and Shannon, I have to agree. Maybe Chuper would feel more at peace if he had a dog or some sort of companion? there surely are endless places to go in this area that don’t allow dogs, so hopefully my family (which includes our dog) wont have to run into him.
aside from that, Does anyone know of any x-country skiing or snow shoeing trails in the Golden/kickinghorse area where dogs are allowed? I found the Nordic centre online but I assume we cant bring our furry friend there.

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20 laz January 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Sorry! this reply was meant for an earlier post but ended up here somehow! sorry.
to answer this question- we leave our lab at k9 to 5 on bowness rd in calgary. it recently changed ownership but the new owner seems really nice. We’ve always had a tired, happy dog when we pick her up :)

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21 GordN March 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Welcome!

I’ve done these with both dog & kids

Kananaskis Village and around what’s left of what was Ribbon Creek.

Lake area of Lake Louise (some areas are ok for dogs some not, check the map from Parks Canada) but I found the horse and sleigh rides company working around the front of the chateau to be fairly anti-dog and pretty vocal about it.

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22 GordN March 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Crap! I did the same thing!

to respond to laz, thanks! I’ll re-post the other in it’s place, sorry Bob.

23 Tim Mang March 12, 2014 at 5:51 pm

I am really sad Dawn Mountain (Kicking Horses XC system) does not allow dogs anywhere. Chuper better get out there haha, hes to worried about what is cool I think to bother.

If you have not skied Dawn Mountain, you should; it has a unique mix of deciduous and coniferous trees and is simply fabulous! If you get the weather right, it will have snow more like Silver Star BC then the places Calgarians are used to. With all the positive said, I feel they should decriminalize dogs on at least one trail…if you feel the same, please contact the Golden Nordic Club.

Dog friendly around Golden: Blaeberry River area is not groomed, but track set by locals regulary. This area is fantastic!!! Basically follow directions to the “Northern Lights Wolf Centre” (also worth a visit – this place is not a zoo rather an education centre) but continue past the turn for the Wolf Centre, turn left at the next intersection and continue straight to a fairly obvious parking spot that leads to the flood plain of the river, which is where the trails are at. This place is flat, but simply beautiful and definitely dog friendly!

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24 Sanne October 24, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Hi Tim,

We have often discussed the options of having dogs on our trails over the years at executive meetings. Last ski season, we had a new ski trail that is multi-use, so also for dogs, starting right from the parking lot and leading to the Kicking Horse Mountain Ski Resort village trail system. Just cross the road and continue on! It was great to ski with my dog before/after skiing there before heading off on my own to ski the beautifully groomed trails that you mentioned at Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre in Golden.

Hopefully next time you ski in Golden, you’ll try it out!

Cheers,
Sanne
p.s. I also really enjoy the skiing with my dog in the Blaeberry! It sure is a beautiful spot there.

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25 Andrew Rowe April 3, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Another Dog – Friendly Trail is Chester Lake Snowshoe Trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.

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26 Shannon February 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Another place you can ski with your dogs is in Bearberry nordic center just west of Sundre.
http://www.bearberrycabins.com

I go their often with my border collie. The owners have a golden retriever that joins us. Its a beautiful location, groomed runs (most times) and no crowds.

Also with in the town of Sundre there is a hill called Snake hill that is groomed regularly where dogs are more than welcome. This year it has also been groomed through the town onto the paths running along the Red Deer river following onto the Bearberry creek. Well worth a drive!

I’ve always wondered about that place, but have never skied there, so thanks. I’ve added it to the “Dog-friendly” page. Can the dogs run off-leash? -Bob

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27 Shannon February 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Yes you can let your dogs run free. We stop by the house to pay and that’s when the owners retriever usually joins us, running along side our vehicle to the parking lot. The dogs must run twice the distance that I ski!

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28 Barb November 18, 2012 at 11:48 am

Hi all you dog lovers!
Smithers is a great place to live. The Smithers Nordic Center grooms the ‘ski with your dog trails’ first thing in the morning. The trails are beautiful and the dog owners keep it pristine…at least it was when I skied there. Yes, there should be trails designated for people to enjoy Nordic skiing with there dogs!!!! We are so slow to embrace this concept?? Skiing on the Lake Louise trails this week there have been people skiing with their dogs off leash. It is very annoying to get tangled up with dogs on a trail where everyone knows dogs are not allowed. Parks needs to make it clear where people can and cannot ski with their dogs. If people with dogs don’t like the areas where they can ski with their dogs then they should have a discussion with Parks….but not just go against the rules. It can be a hazard when dogs run all over the trail and sprint up to greet others who are not expecting this. A hazard for the dog and for the people. I think people that bring their dogs on trails where dogs are not allowed are being disrespectful. There seems to be enough of this in the world at this time. I am ALL FOR wonderful places where people can ski with their dogs…maybe we should have more!!!

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29 Hugh Burton November 16, 2012 at 10:40 am

In response to skiing with dogs in BNP, check this out http://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/tcond/cond_E.asp?oPark=100092
It appear one can ski with your dog on the Campground, Bow and Pipestone loops. Moraine Lake Road has been no dogs for as long I can remember.

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30 Shaun November 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I appreciate the reply Hugh. It appears that Parks has some contradictory info out there. Here is the parks page I was looking at.
http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/activ21.aspx

But indeed, it appears from your link Moraine is not dog friendly.

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31 GordN November 17, 2012 at 6:21 pm

According to the map I picked up from the visitor centre Moraine has a big red line through a dog.

We were on Great Divide last weekend, There was a dog there, unleashed, about a one chicken mcnuggins bite to any mammal.

Around the lake and by the river is where we take ours when he comes along. I prefer NOT around the lake, the horse drivers seem to be overly snarly to dogs, and to people not on their sleigh ride.

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32 Shaun November 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

I was on the Parks Canada Website and it has the following posted regarding dogs on xc trails in the parks;

DOGS

If you are planning to take your dog out on a trail, please respect the following:
“Dogs are not allowed on the following groomed cross country ski trails: Cascade Valley, Spray River Trail, Goat Creek and Spray River, and Redearth Creek.”

To me this is pretty straight forward. With this information in hand I took my family and dog to Lake Louise to ski the Moraine Lake road, (which is in great condition I may add).

I received numerous dirty looks and one person confronted me saying that dogs have never been permitted on the road for the last 30yrs, regardless of what parks has posted.

Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

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33 Scott August 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Can someone provide a link to documentation that West Bragg Creek allows dogs off leash? I’d like to be prepared in case I run into an issue, as I recently heard of someone getting a ticket in Kananaskis (albeit on a different trail, but it shows that they are sufficiently dog hating enough to hand out tickets in the area). I’m also curious to know whether the rule changes with the season; is hiking with a dog off leash permitted in the summer?

Thanks so much for the web site. Amazing resource.

Scott;
I see the link which I posted doesn’t go to the “permitted uses” anymore. It just takes you to a page which doesn’t say anything specific. Unless something has changed in the past year, West Bragg Creek ski trails are classified as Provincial Forest Lands(where dogs are not required to be on leash) and there’s a map which you can buy for about $15 at the Visitor Centres which show it. My understanding is that it’s a map which is popular with hunters. As I’ve mentioned before, the West Bragg Creek parking lot is classified as a Provincial Recreation area and dogs are required to be on leash. The rules don’t change with the seasons. -Bob

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34 Sandra December 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm

At West Bragg the signs posted indicate that dogs need to be on leash. I spoke to a woman who got a ticket recently in the parking lot while preparing to go skiing. I have a dog and I don’t think dogs should be off leash in track-set areas, it is too dangerous for other skiers, and wildlife encounters. I figure that if my dog is going to make someone fall, it should be me, not someone else. Personally, I find it really unpleasant when someone else’s off-leash dog rushes up to me and my dog while my dog is leashed to my body. And let’s face it, we dog owners need to remember that we share the trails with people big and small who might be afraid or uncomfortable around off leash dogs. On-leash is a win-win solution. The dogs get to come out and the people we share the trails with are willing to have them while they are under control.

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35 Diana Piggott November 16, 2013 at 10:43 am

Thank you, Sandra! Responsible dog owners are greatly appreciated :-)
Dogs can be very hazardous on ski trails, and I’m really glad to see a dog lover appreciate that fact. We don’t hate dogs, we just want to enjoy our skiing!

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36 Larissa December 19, 2011 at 10:22 am

Another fantastic place to cross-country ski where dogs can be off-leash is Kelowna Nordic – there is significant mileage available & the grooming is done often and is awesome :) Wish I lived closer to it! Good place to go holiday :)

See:
http://www.kelownanordic.com/index.php/trail-info/ski-info/

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37 Henry Leparskas January 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I checked the Kelowna Nordic web site. It looks like 15km of the total of 75km is available for dogs.

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38 Larissa January 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

They say on the canine trails page that they have 16km, but that is one-way, so if you skied all & returned to start you’d have 32km.

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