Snowy Owl Trail is in the West Bragg Creek area of 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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.