Snowshoe

Although this blog is aimed at skiers, there are many xc skiers who also like to snowshoe. Share your information with others on this page.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alf Skrastins November 6, 2014 at 10:58 pm

I just wanted to let everyone know that there are two new snowshoe loops at West Bragg Creek for this winter. I was out on one of them today, with a group of volunteers…pruning branches, clearing deadfall and placing bright orange snowshoe sign markers. The trails are now done and will be ready for the first snowshoers as soon as we get the next snowfall.
The Snowy Owl trail starts from the parking lot and goes west along Bragg Creek, roughly parallel to Mountain Road. It crosses Moose Connector, then makes a big loop to the west and south, around West Crystal Line and Loggers Loop XC trails until it intersects the Ranger Summit Trail. Then it goes east and south to a junction at the Strange Brew trail.
From the “Blue Bridge” at Mountain Road, the second snowshoe trail branches off. The “Snowy Owl Shortcut” takes a shorter, more direct route to the west edge of “Snowy Owl” trail and provides the option of shorter loops, when combined with “Snowy Owl”.
This is how parts of Snowy Owl Shortcut looked today.
https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/WBCSnowyOwlShortcutNov62014?authkey=Gv1sRgCPP5qLvWxo__SA

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2 Glenn December 5, 2014 at 10:18 am

1st timer. How do you get there from South Calgary? Are these trails suitable for beginners.

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3 Ray April 5, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Snowshoed into Chester Lake and to the Elephant Rocks today, under a cloudy sky with constant flurries. Trail is in very good shape, with some evidence of crusting on the lower section – but no problems. Off trail, the crusting prevents one from sinking too deeply into the snow. We had lots of fun scrambling around the rocks. Note – the Smith Dorrien road is starting to soften and have mucky stretches in the afternoons.

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4 Chuck February 28, 2014 at 7:24 pm

INK POTS
No, I haven’t turned to the dark side, but this is a lovely destination:
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2682192&code=98536b704df5a770d71cfdcd5fa02ec6
Snowshoe users have taken over this once popular ski destination. In fact, this route starting at Moose Meadows, is so well travelled, one could easily just walk.
We were the only people on this trail today, but that may have more to do with the ice cold forecast!

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5 Pete I March 2, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Did you ski or snowshoe the trail Chuck?

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6 Chuck March 3, 2014 at 8:00 am

We skied it, but also recommend it for snowshoe use.

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7 Keith Bagnall January 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Seven seniors from the Evergreen Seniors Outdoor Club snowshoe’d from Elk Pass Parking to Pocaterra Hut (12 km) in 5 hours. We started at the Boulton Creek / Fox Creek trail junction travelling down a good track along Boulton Creek. After approx.1.5 km, we crossed Boulton Creek and started breaking a trail.uphill to Moraine. We crossed through the Boulton Campground and broke trail through the interior PLPP drainage to Marl Lake. At the Amos / Wooley junction we picked up a track set on previous outings and, now making better time, we were soon at Pocaterra Hut. It was -14C at WWL at 10:00 am and stayed fairly cold all day. A great snowshoe trip in a part of PLPP that I have never trod. Highly recommended and requires two cars.

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8 pat davis January 5, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Snowshoed WBC this afternoon with a buddy from WI, USA. When we arrived I found I had a serious senior’s moment, having remembered the poles but forgotten the snowshoes. No matter: the trails were really well packed and snowshoes were not needed at all… and no, we did not leave indents.
Temperatures were “brisk” at about -18 but the smiles we saw on the faces of thew people we met on the trail said it all: A great day to be out!

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9 KT January 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm

We did the Highline Trail towards Paradise Creek starting from Fairmont Lake Louise and loved it (we’re new to this sport)! We only went the 3.5 km to the creek, but it was great to be among the trees on a narrow, undulating trail. If anyone is trying the new Loop A beside the hotel, and would like a bit more of a challenge, this is an excellent choice! The trail also extends to Paradise Valley and Moraine Lake road, but we haven’t tried that yet since it’s quite a bit farther.

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10 GordN December 22, 2013 at 8:27 am

Took the family out at Lake Louise for a first time on “shoes”. All my girls seemed to enjoy the shakedown on “Loop A”; I believe that will get a name via some contest soon. It’s a short trek starting by the Nordic Shop and back to the Hotel via the lake. As a skier mentioned it was quite cold, skated the evening before and it was Friday evening as well. Icy #1 too. BTW, the ice on the lake seems much smoother than previous years for skating. Didn’t have that usual cobblestone bounce. But there were random pits here and there that keep you on your toes. Hope to get them out again to try the Lookout, but, it’s a bit like herding cats….

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11 GordN December 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Tried to share this on Bob’s FB page but it wouldn’t let me. Some updates via Barry Taylor

From Alberta Parks, maybe a new trail map? Not sure

http://www.albertaparks.ca/peter-lougheed/information-facilities/trails/sawmill-loop-snowshoe-trail.aspx

https://www.facebook.com/AlbertaParks/posts/686283781405887

Maybe Bob can make these links live

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12 GordN December 14, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Nevermind, it did all by itself!

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13 Tyler December 15, 2013 at 9:24 am

Thanks for this Gord. I am curious as to what the layout of the trails looks like after the flood. I use the Sawmill parking lot to access some of the backcountry areas. The last pictures I saw of the area didn’t look to promising. As for the new trail map, it looks as though proper snowshoeing etiquette as been clearly spelled out which is good to see. Making sure it is adhered to would be a different story. We all play a role in ensuring that each trail pertains to a specific activity. Hopefully we see less damage to the groomed trails and a peaceful coexistence between skiers and shoers.

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14 Dave November 14, 2013 at 10:50 am

This isn’t a trip report, and I’m not sure I’m posting in the correct spot. However, can anyone tell me if it’s worth snowshowing Chester this weekend? The trail report says 24cm on Nov 10th, and expecting say 10-15 on Friday. I’m very new to snowshoeing and will have to rent a pair to go… so I’d like to know if it’s worth it?

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks,

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15 Tyler November 14, 2013 at 10:59 am

You should be alright. I believe someone was out there skiing last weekend that posted on here. I haven’t checked the weather in terms of temperature, but it usually is cold enough there that melting shouldn’t be an issue. Myself, I usually wait till December to go when there is a really good base.

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16 Ian November 24, 2013 at 8:17 am

I went 2 weekends in a row recently (Nov 9th and Nov 16th). Good snow already BUT be sure to take the correct trail off the start! I never went before the floods so I’m assuming the damage caused the beginning to be ‘less clear’.

Once you leave the parking lot, about 150-200M up the trail (past the gate) you will see a fork. A wide, well beaten down path goes slowly uphill to the right while a much, much narrower path goes to the left, down into the creek bed and right back up on the other side. Remember the poem and ‘ Take the path less traveled’ aka TAKE YOUR LEFT into the creek! Smooth sailing from there on.

The first weekend we wrongly went right at the fork and ended up meeting group after group of people looking for the lake only to find out after giving up and going all the way back to the parking lot that we missed the initial left fork only 3 minutes into the hike!

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17 Tyler November 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Went out to West Bragg today. Did a loop consisting of Braggin Rights and Long Distance with a little bit of Reconnect thrown in. Enjoyed it enough that I decided to do it again right after, only this time is was Braggin Rights, Long Distance, Demi-Tel and Snowshoe Hare. Braggin had just enough snow to render snowshoeing useless in the higher stretches. The lower stretches in the valley had enough. Other than a short stretch of Long Distance that was the same way, all other trails had a sufficent amount for the shoes.

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18 Helen Read April 30, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Tried Rockbound Lake trail today on the mini MSR’s and quite icey first 200 m. up. The last 500 m. were much better and started to clump a little at Tower Lake open areas when the snowing stopped briefly enough for the sun to emerge. No signs of animal tracks and turned around where the trail comes rather close to the snow slopes of Eisenhower Tower.

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19 Helen Read April 26, 2013 at 8:47 pm

This time at the end of the season, I find it perfect for snowshoeing on trails such as Healy Pass. Since I have never skied up to Healy Pass it gave me a chance to check it out before adding it to next winter’s “to do” list. Started at Bourgeau parking lot and went up to the open meadow, 1.5 kms. shy of the Pass. 500 metres elevation was a good workout. Trail snow supported my MSR Juniors, even in the open sunny parts. No animal tracks seen (or people for that matter). Enjoyed lunch in the meadow in heavy wind.

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20 Darrell April 22, 2013 at 11:16 pm

There’s still lots of snow for snowshoeing on the Chester Lake Trail. The temperature at the parking lot today was +2. The lower part of the trail was a bit soft but no sign of the ice that Andrew mentioned. It was -4 at the lake with the snow still crunchy under foot. Those big rocks looked pretty amazing all covered in snow against a perfectly blue, cloudless sky. I didn’t see anyone else on the trail but there was one other car in the parking lot when I got there. I think they might have been skiing because I saw fresh ski tracks at the lake. I checked out the lower part of the XC trail on my way out and it was a thin layer of new snow over glare ice. Glad I was on snowshoes today!

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21 Helen Read April 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Decided to follow alongside Graeme’s great tracks up Skogan to top of Screamer. Being in my mini 20″ MSR’s, I noticed a snowmobile trail that had been packed down and chose that easier option. It was minus 6 and a steady climb of 400 m. to Nakiska Mid Mountain Lodge, where I enjoyed watching a few AT skiers doing their S-turns in fresh powder way above the top lift. Ski hill only open on w/e’s. It got sticky on way down and passed a few other snowshoers coming up. It beats the rain predicted for Friday. Guess we’ll all have to wait for skiing up Skogan Pass until next winter.

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22 Graeme P. April 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Good on you Helen.
I didn’t know your real name was Jaime Sommers (Google it if you have to).

For those who don’t know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaime_Sommers_(The_Bionic_Woman) – Bob

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23 Helen Read April 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

12 days of not finding anywhere decent to ski, I took the MSR Junior’s (20″ and perfect for “track” snow-shoeing) and headed up Redearth. I still hope for one more ski into Shadow Lake and wanted to check the snow. No one around, the peace and serenity was restored going up to the open meadow just beyond the campground. It was zero at noon and zero where I had some tea, then turned around. 2-3 cms of fresh snow atop of last track-setting about a month ago. The poles were easy to plant so if it had been frozen, it had softened enough. Fun to observe all the animal prints and did not run into any scary ones.

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24 Andrew Rowe April 3, 2013 at 4:15 pm

I went snowshoeing up to Chester Lake on March 29. The trail was very busy with other fellow snowshoers. The trail was well worn and there was an enough snow to allow for snowshoeing. I found that going up the steep hill was difficult because it was very icy that day. I had to dig my snowshoes into the snow in order to maintain my balance. Once I had made up the hill, I found the snowshoeing more pleasant. Along the way, the views of Mount Chester were spectacular. When I had reached Chester Lake, I was greeted with fabulous vista’s of Chester Lake and Mount Chester. Overall, I would recommend this snowshoe trail to anyone who is looking for an challenge.

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25 Ray Perrott March 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm

With the PLPP ski conditions getting so challenging, we decided to snowshoe some trails instead. Starting at Elk Pass parking, we took the snowshoe trail that heads to Elk Pass, but left it along Hydroline where we headed up to Lookout. Its quite a climb, but easy on the edges of the groomed ski trails. Fantastic at Lookout – great views, blue skies, little wind, +6C. After a pleasant lunch, we headed north, eventually returning to Boulton by the Whiskey Jack trail. A 2 Km walk on the road got us back to Elk Pass parking, making for 15Km total. Interesting to get the different perspective of walking trails we so often ski.

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26 Jeff B March 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Hiked Rawson Lake today. The trail up to the lake was very well beaten and did not require snowshoes. Put on the shoes for a tromp to the end of the lake where we watched many avalanches thunder their way down. Kept the shoes on during descent for the grip.

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27 Lynn Bowers March 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Despite weather we drove out to Upper Lake parking in Kananaskis to climb & descend Blueberry Hill. Weather cleared somewhat as day progressed, & we got good viewing conditions atop the hill. As we descended there would have been more views but we were focussed on keeping upright as we twisted & turned through the glading on the way down.

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28 Darrell February 13, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Went up to Bow Summit yesterday in search of some snow worth snowshoeing in. The loop trails around the viewpoint were pretty well tramped but the trail to the Summit looked like it hadn’t been travelled in a few days. We were able to follow a vague trail for maybe a kilometre or so before we lost it and spent several minutes thrashing around in waist-deep powder looking for some footing. It was getting late in the day so we gave up and went back but for anyone looking to break some trail in a really beautiful area, I’d recommend it. The wind wasn’t too bad and it was snowing gently the whole time we were there. Just beware of the killer attack grouse at the Peyto Lake lookoff1 This guy was pretty aggressive, at one point jumping on the back of my snowshoes and pecking at my legs. I got the feeling that people have been feeding him and he was upset with us for not doing the same. For a look at this ruffian, check out http://mojointhemountains.blogspot.ca/

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29 Oleg January 30, 2013 at 9:25 am

Chester Lake, January 27 2013
I snowshoed the Chester Lake trail on Sunday with a group of friends, and hundreds (literally!) of other snow adventurers (including skiers and walkers). What a busy trail it is, I have never expected to see so many people on a winter day.
The trail itself is very well packed yet still soft (meaning not icy), and does not really require showshoes (spikes may be beneficial though), unless you want to venture into the woods off the trail. Snow depth is more than 1.5m (5 ft) as my poles went all the way down when I tried it.
Trail to the Elephant Rocks is well defined as well.

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30 Tyler January 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Went snowshoeing at Sandy Mcnabb today. Did a quick trip on Death Valley Loop. Snow is marginal to nonexistent in places and in some areas it was decent enough to not be kicking up debris but felt like I was walking on plywood. Probably could have done the loop without the shoes. Came across both wolf and cougar track and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Good day to be out.

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31 Lynn Bowers January 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Snowshoed the Elkwood Loop today. The designated trail is all packed by snowshoers & we added our usual variation with a circuit of Marl Lake, lunch-with-a-view in the sun by the lake.

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32 Tyler December 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Snowshoed Sawmill to Chester Lake today (Dec 30). Conditions on the Sawmill trail were good to excellent with good snow depth. I got started a little later than I wanted to. My thighs wouldn’t let me out of bed as I didn’t do a proper pre-shoe stretch before my outing yesterday ( See my comments for West Bragg under Snowshoe). Otherwise I would have been able to go further. Spent just under 8 hours in snowshoes today for a total distance of 13.7 miles. Not bad for the last trip of the year. Bring on January 1, 2013! It was nice to see a lot of people out on the Chester Lake trail. Some with dogs and a lot of kids. Really nice to see. We truly are blessed with having the biggest and most beautiful outdoor playground with in an hours drive of Calgary and am truly thankful for all the experiences and opportunities that wait in my adventures out there. Some suburb snowshoeing conditions right now for sure!

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33 Lynn Bowers December 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

Have tried snowshoeing off-trail down a couple of creeks, Chester & James Walker (off the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Rd.) & eventually had to abandon the goal of getting back to the road. Maybe later in the season the snow accumulation will smooth those routes out some more. Monica Brook, on the other hand, down from the meadow below Tent Ridge was great much of the way. The last bit close to the Mt. Shark Rd. & the route up – there’s supposed to be a more open approach – to the Tent Ridge meadow not so pleasant.
The route into Sherbrooke Lake just W of L. Louise was packed by snowshoers on Sat. (Dec. 8) & the loop E from Ross Lake – also just W of L. Louise – was packed on Sun. (Dec. 9).

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34 David Bynoe November 18, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I snowshoed up to Tower/Rockbound Lakes on Sunday (Nov 18). Trail is mostly snow covered but snowshoes aren’t really needed for the first 4k or so. Beyond that to Tower Lake the snow gets deeper but there is a good well packed trail. Unfortunately for me the big group that did such a wonderful job at grooming turned around at Tower Lake leaving me to break the trail beyond to Rockbound Lake. Its now broken in and my legs are tired. About 2-3 feet of snow at the lakes. Really fluffy unsupportive stuff too, in spots I was sinking up to my knees even with the snowshoes. Also the boulder field by Rockbound has a few invisible traps you can fall into, the snow bridges have no strength. If anyone asks I was deliberately making snow angels.

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35 Andra November 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

David,

It was myself and six friends that cleared the way to Tower Lake for you. We had chatted about trying to get to Rockbound Lake but we were exhausted by the time we reached Tower Lake and it took us longer than expected to get there. We took turns breaking trail and it was hard work being our first snowshoe trip of the season. I really wanted to see what Rockbound Lake looks like at this time of year but no luck!
http://alexmac2008.blogspot.ca/2012/11/a-day-of-sharing.html

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36 David Bynoe November 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Nice blog! Makes me want to get off my duff and work on my own. Till then I did get a shot at the top (sorry for the blurry bits, some blowing snow landed on my lens) http://i.imgur.com/YcPpm.jpg

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37 Gary Millard November 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I snowshoed up to Taylor Lake (south of Lake Louise) yesterday (November 12th). There were some existing tracks there, both snowshoe and ski. At the beginning, there was just enough snow to allow snowshoeing, but within a kilometer or two, the snow depth was sufficient to require snowshoes. It was great travel up to the lake, with light snow and some sunshine. Up at the lake, there was over a metre of snow, and absolutely fabulous views of the mountains rising up from the far shores. Overall, I would recommend this trail as a great early season destination.

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