Dog-friendly ski trails

At all times, dogs are supposed to be leashed. The exceptions are West Bragg Creek, Nipika, Strathmore, and Bearberry. Sandy McNabb is a mixture of off-leash and on-leash. If I’ve missed any, leave a comment or send me an email.

Dog are allowed off-leash at west Bragg Creek hut are supposed to be leashed in the parking lot

Dog are allowed off-leash at West Bragg Creek but are required to be leashed in the parking lot

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

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

Other

  • Lake Louise – Pipestone trails, #9 Bow River Loop, #10 Campground loop, #4 Lake Louise Loop.
  • Yoho – Yoho Valley road, Lake O’Hara fire road(this trail is trackset only in Feb and March), Monarch Trail (Yoho Brothers to Monarch Campground).
  • Nipika Mountain resort is off-leash
  • Strathmore golf course is off-leash
  • Ungroomed trails in Kootenay National Park: East Kootenay, West Kootenay, Simpson River
  • Sundre Bike ‘N Ski
  • Bearberry Nordic Centre http://www.bearberrycabins.com/

70 Comments:

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  1. Does anyone know if the Sandy McNabb trail network near Turner Valley allows dogs off leash? I am assuming dogs are allowed there on-leash.

  2. This list is awesome — thanks, Bob. A note about West Bragg. According to the Bragg Creek trail site, the on-leash area is a lit larger than the parking lot. It’s actually the Provincial Recreation Area which surrounds the parking lot in every direction. They show the area on a map here:

    https://www.braggcreektrails.org/trail-etiquette/

  3. bob –
    I Encountered skiers on the Spray east trail today with the dog and Another group coming from goat Creek onto the east spray with a dog.
    I spoke with the first group who said skier Bob said it was dog friendly
    and there was no sign for the spray east trail head off of the golf course ..
    they were right only the signs to share the trail with Bikes and hikers.
    Do you know why there’s no sign ?
    Intentional perhaps?

    • Spray East is not on my list of Dog-friendly trails and I’ve never said to anyone that dogs are allowed there. The Banff Winter Trails brochure indicates dogs are not allowed on Spray River East. I don’t know why BNP hasn’t put up a sign at the golf course end. Interesting that people will invoke my name to try and get away with things.

  4. Dog Friendly Castle Junction
    Hi Bob and fellow skiers-hoping someone can help clear up my confusion. I see here Castle Junction through to Baker Creek is listed as dog-friendly. On the Banff winter trail map brochure it shows Castle Junction to Castle Lookout as dog-friendly but no dogs Castle lookout to Baker Creek. My pup, Bodhi, and I are hoping the brochure is a mistake! Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Syncline Castle Trails (near Castle Mountain Resort). Just skied there last week with my dog. Signs posted at the trailhead and at synclinecastletrails.org note that the “trails are non-motorized and pet friendly, so bring along your companions.”

  6. Just curious if anyone knows about any dog friendly x country ski trails in Jasper. I am there for a few days with dog in tow and cannot seem to find much info, other than that dogs are not allowed on the Parks trails.

  7. Note Banff NP has closed a number of trails to dogs. http://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/scond/Cond_E.asp?oID=30208&oPark=100092

    • These trails have always been closed to dogs for as long as I remember. The only one which causes confusion is Tunnel Mountain where some trails are open to dogs and others aren’t. I hope Banff National Park will update us on the status of the Tunnel Mountain trails where dogs are concerned.

  8. Are there any dog friendly trails within Calgary? Thanks!

    • Try posting in comment questions section. But I’ll hazard anywhere dogs are allowed in summer then they’d be allowed in winter. So not on golf course but maybe Bowness Park?

      We took ours to Canmore Park to give the younger one on a shake down to the concept of human on skis.

  9. Whistler Olympic Park and Callaghan Country offer great trails to ski with one’s pooch. WOP has about 9km and Callaghan has 18km (although the dog needs to be on leash for the Mainline trail).

  10. After enjoying various loops on the main Lake Louise cross country ski trails, we checked out the dog friendly Campground Loop and the Bow River Loop, and we’re very impressed to find fresh grooming. In fact the groomer was working on them as we skied, and we were met with a friendly wave as she went by. By the way, Swix blue wax was working on every trail we went on.

  11. Dogs at West Bragg Creek can be a real joy (our dog comes for weekday skiing too!) but it’s nice when owners keep them under control. On weekends it can get a little crazy and occasionally dogs are in the middle of the trail risking a collision. While I am able to stop fully in most conditions, and make every effort to do so, owners must realize not all skiers are this proficient, or this covetous, and their dog could get clipped. Also, what’s with the dog poop? If you are not bagging it, at least kick it to the woods. Our volunteer groomers report filling bags of it every day.

  12. I was at West Bragg yesterday, came around a bend downhill (nice and slow) and boom, there was a dog right in the middle of the trail coming up toward me. I love dogs, so rather than run into it I went down. I think I broke by thumb, and bruised my hip. Please, if you bring your dog to the trails try to play safe.

  13. Hi Bob,

    If you want to add some dog friendly trails under the “other section” the following trails in the elk valley (i.e. Near Fernie) are dog friendly:

    – Sparwood sunset ridge X-country trails
    – Fernie alpine resort Manchuria loop
    – Island lake trails
    – montane trails (for now, at least)

    Allison creek, boivin creek, Fernie golf course and elk valley Nordic centre are not dog friendly.

  14. Just wanted to mention that Panorama nordic centre also allows dogs on their beautifully groomed trails. And there is a rustic warming hut!
    Not sure if the dogs are allowed off leash, my guess is not. Fantastic terrain though.

  15. Coming in to Lake Louise for spring break, 2016, and looking for pet friendly hotels / condos.

    I skijor with my border collies and I’m looking for skate ski trails in the Lake Louise area, so this page is great. What’s the local knowledge on which trails will still have snow at the end of March?

    • At the end of March, in a “normal” year, all the Lake Louise trails would still have snow. No guarantees, but your chances of having skiable snow are pretty good.

    • Emerald Lake Lodge (one of the most beautiful places on earth) has numerous guest rooms that are pet friendly and it is a super bargain mid week (see Bob’s link on this site). it is only about 30 minutes drive west.

    • The ski pamphlet (maybe under resources here?) shows where dogs are ok, Or ask at the Lake Louise Park office for one. It’s a little confusing,

  16. I recently got posted back to Calgary last year from a three year posting to Edmonton, which is like a Cross Country Ski heaven, especially with Goldstick & Goldbar Park evening skiing with the reddish low intensity night lights. I was even impressed to see the Ski-Jooring crowd with their dogs well trained and sharing the trail systems very well. If Heaven does not have a set up like this, I am in no rush to go there anytime soon!
    Hitting various trails last winter around Calgary area, I was as always uber impressed with Canmore Nordic Centre, as always. Kananaskis Village area apparently bought the XC Ski Grooming equipment from the Whistler Resort from the 2010 Winter Olympics, and their trails are like skiing during an Olympic Biathlon or Cross Country event.
    I was really disappointed with the excuse the language “shit show” I saw at West Bragg Creek, with the trampling all over the trails, pedestrians walking all over the ski tracks, and the “wanna-be” amateur Ski-jooring groups getting yanked all over the trails by their dogs out of control. After a few outings at this area, I stayed away from it like the plague. What a shame, as I live in South West Calgary and front door to West Bragg Creek parking lot is about 25-30 minutes.
    Is their any formal training being given to these Ski-Jooring “wanna-be’s” so they can be formally trained on how to control their dogs? Or will I just have to watch out for not getting an eye poked out from an out of control ski pole, and/or just freeze in my tracks until they pass by, I have had my laugh and I can continue on the trial?

    • Hi Kelly,
      So I am curious, where are the “wanna-be’s” supposed to go while their dogs are learning? Any dog owner would know there is a learning curve, so there is no exact science to “keeping dogs under control” at all times. I have a near perfectly trained dog. Still, learning ski-jouring is no easy fit for her.

      There are so few dog-friendly xc ski areas around Calgary, and thanks to Chinooks, likely even fewer than around Edmonton. Where should one go with there “new to skijoring” dogs with imperfect manners?

      Cheers,
      V

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

    • 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.

    • John,

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

    • 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…

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

        • My dog learnt to stay away from skis instantly after I took her alpine touring. She had also tried walking on xc skis before. With alpine touring skis she quickly learnt that the metal edges hurt, and now she stays away from all skis.

    • 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!!!!

  20. 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.

  21. 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

    • Life is to short to be angry Chuper !

      • 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

        • 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.

    • 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.

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

    • Chuper,

      It is truly a shame you are broken inside. My pups wish you good luck with that.

      woof,

  22. 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

  23. 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

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

      • 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.

        • 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 🙂

          • 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.

            • Crap! I did the same thing!

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

        • 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!

          • 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.

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

  25. 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

    • 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!

  26. 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!!!

  27. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  28. 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?

  29. 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

    • 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.

      • 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!

  30. 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/

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

      • 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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