Snowy Owl - West Bragg - Hiking Alberta

 

Snowy Owl Trail is in the West Bragg Creek area of Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Snowy Owl, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

On the south side of the West Bragg Creek parking area, a labyrinth of cross country ski, snowshoe and bicycle trail provides a wide variety of winter wilderness opportunity for a variety of disciplines and experience levels. 

A new snowshoe trail named Snowy Owl is chosen which initially parallels the south side of Mountain Road on the north side of a picturesque creek where ice crystals sparkle in the sun.  The trail is predominantly thin snow cover over ice so the option for the use of less cumbersome hiking crampons is chosen over snowshoes.  The day is warm from reflected sun on thin snow beneath an impressive bluebird sky.

 

Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Accessing the Snowy Owl trail in West Bragg Creek with Moose Mountain beyond in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
 

Snowy Owl, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

The adjacent, small creek, to the south of the trail, is adorned with ice formations that sparkle like diamonds in the sunlight.  Clusters of snow and ice create artistic borders and there is peace watching the moving mosaic against snow-capped mountains in the background.

 

Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Photo by Seija

 

Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The view from the Snowy Owl snowshoe trail across Mountain Road clearly shows the lack of consistent snow cover.  This winter has been unseasonably mild and this winter day hosts chilled air tempered by the warmth of the sun on this spectacular bluebird day in late February.  This hike will cover the short distance to the bridge over the creek where the junction of Snowy Owl with Snowy Shortcut provides a variety of variable length options. 

The signage is frequent and excellent.   Volunteers from the Greater Bragg Creek Trail Association, in concert with the Friends of Kananaskis Country, were involved in the construction of this new trail about a year prior.  They deserve credit for a job well done.

 

Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Thin to no snow cover on south facing slopes near Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada The blue bridge o Mountain Road near Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Rocky borders along Mountain Road near Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Near the blue bridge, Snowy Owl trail continues west with a short loop option named Snowy Owl Shortcut to the left heading south.  The Snowy Owl trail veers west and south along the bottom of Ranger Ridge and eventually links up with Strange Brew for a long loop return via Boundary Ridge.  There are many options and the recent addition of the Snowy Owl trail brings the combined length of trail at West Bragg to more than 100 KM (63 miles). 

There is plenty of opportunity for a great day of adventure in the wilderness.  The frequency and quality of the new map signboards is a substantial improvement.  Excellent trail descriptions can be found on the website Kananaskis Trails at 'Snowshoe Snowy Owl at West Bragg Creek'.

 

Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Snowy Owl trail, West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The return from the blue bridge proceeds along the side of Mountain Road which is a cross country ski route.  The trail has been groomed but there is insufficient snow for track setting.  Several families with broad smiles sweep past on the return walk.

Photographs for this Snowy Owl post were captured on February 22, 2015.

 

 

 

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Comments

"A small, adjacent creek to the south of the trail is adorned with ice formations that sparkle like diamonds in the sunlight. Clusters of snow and ice create artistic borders and there is peace watching the moving mosaic against snow-capped mountains in the background." Definitely my sort of place. Beautifully captured in words and photos.

Glad to see that you are out enjoying the trails, trust all is well with you. We love all your comments, descriptions and photos of the trails you hike. The Snowy Owl snowshoe trail is another beautiful achievement that my husband and I have enjoyed many times this winter. Our thanks to all the volunteers for their dedication and for a job well done. We are out there 3 to 4 times a week and have hiked every trail they have built so far :) Have you hiked Merlin View in West Bragg Creek? We love it and recommend! Thank you for everything Barry. Take care. Maria and Mike.

Thanks for your comment and kind words, Maria. My recovery is frustrating and slow but moving in the right direction, albeit inconsistently. Did a snowshoe of 8 KM (5 miles) Snagmore recently on thin snow and enjoyed the vistas over Elbow River. I have not hiked the 6.3 KM Merlin View Loop but thank you for the recommendation. I have put it on my list. Good to be back.

Your photos are fantastic, as always. My hubby and I managed to get out to Snowy Owl this past winter and really enjoyed the experience; hope to have more time for snowshoeing this coming winter!

Thanks, Sheryl.  There is a great selection of snowshoe trail in West Bragg,  I hesitate to say anything but perhaps next year we could have a tad more snow.  Just a tad.

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