Classic snowshoeing experiences near Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
In Alberta, snowshoeing is a popular and outstanding winter sport which offers quality exercise in cool, crisp air with spectacular and unique mountain vistas.
Following is a sample of easily accessible snowshoe trips in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta. These snowshoe opportunities will appeal to beginners and to those who have a bit of hiking or snowshoeing experience.
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Snowshoeing at Hogarth Lakes along the Smith-Dorrien Trail, about 40 KM (25 miles) south of Canmore, Alberta is an ideal and relatively flat place to begin. On the weekend it may be more crowded. There are a variety of loops available.
Beacon Hill is close by for some recreational, easy sledding with young children. A shallow excursion can be made into Burstall Valley towards Burstall Pass, however, you will be approaching avalanche terrain. Watch for indicators and Do Not Enter areas with avalanche potential without being fully trained and equipped.
All these trails are in the same general area, south of Canmore where you can stop on the way home for refreshment or a fine meal.
Chester Lake is a classic snowshoe for those getting into better shape and having some initial snowshoeing experience. Chester Lake is arguably the most popular snowshoe experience In Kananaskis Country.
The Rummel Lake Snowshoe Trail is just a few kilometers north of the Chester Lake trail-head at an unmarked trail-head. Park at roadside across from Mount Engadine Road. The trail is not signed but is easy to find on the east side of Smith-Dorrien Trail. There are plenty of excellent snowshoeing opportunities along Mount Shark Road as well, for future reference.
The well-signed trail-head for the Rawson Lake snowshoe is off the far end of upper parking at the Upper Kananaskis Lake parking area. The first kilometer is flat and over a bridge past Sarrail Waterfall to a trail junction. The snowshoe to Rawson Lake is a sustained ascent and an excellent aerobic workout.
Not a season opener for many. The final, flat approach to Rawson Lake is welcome relief. To continue on slopes across the lake may enter avalanche terrain. To be avoided without proper training, experience and full avalanche gear.
For those who would like to try this sport, there is logic in renting the equipment first and taking a course to learn fundamental skills. Snowshoeing is easy and fun to learn. Anyone can learn quickly.
Attending a course with a well-respected hiking club in your area or a more formal course at an excellent training center will guarantee a more successful beginning. Where there is snow, it is likely a local university, hiking club or sports store will provide an outdoor program to assist.
In Calgary, the Calgary Outdoor Centre is an excellent resource. Often snowshoes and poles are provided for courses or available to rent. Your height and weight will determine individual need. Weight is fully dressed including backpack so calculate that weight and, if you are going to make a mistake, make it a bit on the high side. It is better to have more snowshoe than you need than less.
Avoid heavy winter clothing and dress in layers. Gaiters are important. A carrying bag to stow and protect your snowshoes is also a wise purchase. You will be out and snowshoeing in no time at all. If rental is a personal, positive experience, you can shop for your own gear. There is a broad range of gear from beginner to advanced. Get help from a reliable store or take an experienced friend with you.
After enjoying these five snowshoe treks, you may wish to check the link below: