Snoeshowing 101

Snowshoeing 101

Every snow often, we all enjoy a little snow adventure! Snowshoeing is an excellent way to stay active outdoors during our coldest months. In addition to the snowshoes themselves, the sport requires little specialized gear and if you can walk or hike, you’ll be able to snowshoe. Here’s our guide to getting started and some recommendations for where to snowshoe near Calgary.


-Be bold, start cold! Remember to dress in layers (refer to our previous post about dressing for winter activities), so you can regulate your temperature effectively during periods of activity and rest. 


-Snowshoes (if you don’t have your own you can refer to this post for our favorite rental places).

-Poles (they can provide added balance on shifting snow and necessary flotation in deep powder).

-Avalanche Gear (beacon, shovel, and probe if your chosen route passes through avalanche terrain).

-The ten essentials for outdoor adventures.


-If you’re brand new to the sport you might consider taking a guided tour before heading out on your own. Professional guides can help with proper technique and will keep you out of harm’s way, such as avalanche terrain. Some reputable guiding companies include Kananaskis Outfitters, White Mountain Adventures, Get Outside Adventures, and Banff Tours, but that is by no means a comprehensive list.

-If you’re looking to explore even further, you should consider getting avalanche certified by taking an Avalanche Skills Training (AST) course. A number of companies offer courses and you can find a detailed list on the Avalanche Canada website.

-If you’re already certified and your chosen route will be passing through avalanche terrain, always check the forecast before leaving.

Trail Suggestions:

Family Friendly Trails:

-Troll Falls: a 4km loop when combined with Hay Meadows Trail. Park at Stoney Trailhead near Kananaskis Village.

-Elkwood: a 3.4km loop with minimal elevation gain. Park at Elkwood Amphitheater in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. 

-Hogarth Lakes: a 4km loop with approximately 30m of elevation gain. Park at Burstall Pass Trailhead along the Spray Lakes Road.

Intermediate Trails:

-Black Prince Cirque: a 4.3km loop with 90m gained in elevation. Park at Black Prince Trailhead along the Spray Lakes Road.

-Snowshoe Hare: a 5.4km trail with about 175m gained in elevation. Park at the West Bragg Creek Trailhead.

-Highline Trail: a 9km loop with only 60m gained in elevation. Park at the Lake Louise parking lot. This trail begins at World Heritage Site rock. This trail crosses the runout zone of an avalanche path.

Challenging Trails:

-Chester Lake: a 7.2km return hike with 287m gained in elevation. Park at Chester Lake Trailhead along the Spray Lakes Road.

-Rawson Lake: a 7.8km return hike with 320m gained in elevation. Park at Upper Kananaskis Lake Trailhead. Please note significant avalanche danger exists on the peaks surrounding the lake.

-Ink Pots: a 11.2km return hike with 340m gained in elevation. Park at the Moose Meadows Trailhead along the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park.

Trail Maps:

-Kananaskis Valley and Peter Lougheed Snowshoe Trail Map

-West Bragg Creek Trail Map

-Banff area, Lake Louise, and Icefields Parkway Winter Trails Brochures