If you’ve never tried snowshoeing before, you’re in for a treat. It’s the perfect winter activity and one that the whole family can enjoy. Here are a few of the best snowshoeing spots across the province.
Elk Island National Park
Elk Island is one of Alberta’s most beautiful and overlooked national parks. Situated near Edmonton, it’s home to 10 hiking trails covering 80 km that are all snowshoe friendly come winter time. There are various trails of different lengths and skill levels. The easier Simmons Trail will only take you an hour or two. If you want a day trip, consider the Tawayik Lake loop, which will take you over five hours.
Badlands Interpretive Trail
Everyone in Alberta knows Drumheller as the dinosaur capital of the province. If you’re like me, you’ve never been there in the winter, but it’s the perfect time to go! You can see the Badlands classics, like the hoodoos and eroded rock formations, in a completely different way in the winter. The trail is meant to be an easy walk, so it’s also perfect for people who are just dipping their toes into snowshoeing.
While Albertans should really see their whole province, Banff and Jasper do offer some of the most stunning and beautiful snowshoeing experiences in the world. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of trails to explore. Here are a few highlights:
- Maligne Canyon: You’ll want to join the tours heading out of the Jasper townsite, but Maligne Canyon is only more beautiful from the inside rather just than looking from above.
- Chester Lake: Not far from Canmore is the quiet Chester Lake and Elephant Rocks trail, an easy and beautiful walk through the mountains to a site where large boulders are scattered about the rocky ground. Consider this one a hidden gem adored by the locals.
- Prairie Mountain: For those who want a more rigorous adventure, the Prairie Mountain trail takes you right up its namesake for stunning views. What’s more, it’s dog friendly and great for a day trip from Calgary.
Where to Get Snowshoeing Equipment
If you're looking to go snowshoeing but don’t have the gear, don’t worry. Most urban centres in Alberta have sports equipment stores where you can buy all kinds of snowshoes, winter gear and even camping gear if you’re so inclined. Don’t want to take the plunge and buy all the gear? That’s fine, too. Local sports equipment rental shops can help you try before you buy.
As with all outdoor adventures, make sure you stay safe. Let people know where you’re going and when. Take all the necessary safety equipment and precautions and never head out on unsafe terrain or frozen lakes that haven’t been labelled safe by local authorities. And, of course, be sure to respect private property while out on any snowshoeing adventure.
Nerissa McNaughton is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.