Wintour Snowshoe is an easy, beginner snowshoe in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
The early day drive west from Calgary holds promise for a variably sunny day and the 50 KM (31 mile) drive south on Kananaskis Trail is on good road under lightly overcast sky.
As always, the views never cease to amaze and a few photos are collected of The Fortress for my son to enjoy. Some of the best views are from Wedge Pond beneath The Wedge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
The Fortress from Kananaskis Trail
Mount Kidd from Boundary Ranch in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada
The Fortress from Kananaskis Trail near Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
The Fortress across Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
There are sweeping views over mist trapped in the Kananaskis Valley. The Fisher Range of mountains is on the left and the Opal Range is on the right.
It is a practiced art to drive safely, keep an eye out for wildlife and enjoy this spectacular scenery all at the same time.
At the winter closure gate (December 15 to June 14), near the junction of King Creek and Kananaskis Lakes Road, there are plowed spaces for parking at the gate.
View into King Creek Canyon near the winter closure gate in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
The winter closure of Kananaskis Trail is the beginning of the Wintour Snowshoe Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
Snowshoes will allow continuing the journey along Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40) past the winter gate.
Sun is beginning to peek around mountains to the left, causing the camera to rebel against the broad range of light and stark contrast.
Looking down on the Pocaterra Power Plant in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
The trail is well packed on shallow snow. Tips of hiking poles are frequently striking the pavement beneath, where wind has swept away surface layers of snow.
The view of mist in Kananaskis Valley is a very beautiful, mesmerizing and recurring image as the heat of the sun gains strength and the mist gently begins to lift. The broad road provides intermittent sweeping vistas worthy of taking time to stop and enjoy.
At the turnoff to Elpoca Mountain viewpoint and Opal Creek Waterfall, the trail continues south but is close to where avalanche risk terminates safe travel without appropriate gear and training.
The following photos are captured on the return snowshoe over the same trail. The best views are near the beginning of the Wintour Trail.
The Opal Range on photo left and the Fisher Range to the right on this return snowshoe along the Wintour Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
There are several artistic photographic image opportunities on the return snowshoe as the sun swings around to the west.
There is great beauty here. Elevation gains and losses are subtle and sweeping bends open revised views.
Roadside creeks under the snow create moguls enhanced by contrast from the low angle of the sun.
A water seep over rock along the east side of the Kananaskis Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
Ripples on this rock at road side on the Kananaskis Trail show this now vertical slab, long ago, may have been horizontal and under water near the shore of a shallow sea or river bottom.
Near the end of my Wintour Trail Snowshoe, traffic signs, relevant in the spring, summer and fall, announce arrival at the gate as magnificent views north unfold through Kananaskis Valley.
Wintour is an ideal first snowshoe for anyone wishing to try the sport or for those learning new skills.
Expansive views are spectacular but intermittent and redundant. The wide road is highly exposed to wind and, when chilling wind is an issue, the snowshoeing opportunity might be wisely exchanged for another nearby trail alternative where forest provides shelter.
On the south leg there was no chilling breeze and on the return north a gentle, developing breeze provided an encouraging push against the back. The Wintour Trail is 5 KM (3⅛ mile) of relatively linear trail on a wide road with 75 m (246 ft) of gentle elevation.
A map of the Wintour Trail Snowshoe route can be found on page 2 of the free Alberta Parks Snowshoe Trails Map.