Snagmore Trail is at West Bragg Creek in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
Access to Snagmore Trail from the south is gained by new parking near the Ranger hut on the north side of Hwy 66 across from Allen Bill. This day requires layering up for brisk winter temperatures before beginning the snowshoe on the Elbow Trail.
A platform bridge crossing leads immediately to a short ascent through forest, then meadow and descent to trail beside the Elbow River where hoar frost sparkles in early morning sun above the partially frozen river.
After 1.1 KM of clear and frequently traveled path, the clearly defined snowshoe trail continues right past the junction for Fullerton Loop and an additional 200 m for a right turn from Elbow Trail onto clearly-signed Snagmore Trail. The ascent proceeds up the hill where predominantly evergreen forest occupies the left and aspen to the right provides clear, sweeping views of the river valley.
The trail segways from scenic overview into dense evergreen forest before emerging into new views along the Elbow River Valley. At the top of the first hill, a small and inviting log bench motivates a relaxing pause to enjoy a snack in the sun as time is taken to absorb the sweeping vistas and to examine an old 'North of 60' movie set directly beneath on the other side of the Elbow River.
As the moderate ascent continues to the high point at 150 m (490 feet) above the trail-head, there are several open areas commanding spectacular views beneath dramatic skies. Snow cover is thin and rocks beneath are clearly evident.
Snagmore trail continues on relentlessly upward ascent, curling left to the hilltop where spectacular long views over the foothills are often bracketed by forest.
Snowshoeing on Snagmore Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada
The predominantly forested loop descent is more gentle and there is a bit more snow on the north side of Snagmore Hill. Frequently it is better to snowshoe beside the trail rather than on the trail. Significant dead fall in the forest provides plentiful photographic opportunity.
A small and sunny forest opening near the trail with two conveniently placed logs will provide seating for lunch. There are more people on the trail now including riders on fat-tired mountain bikes. After a satisfying lunch in the sun, the descent continues to arrival at the intersection with the Iron Springs cross-country ski trail. Snowshoeing a short distance north on Snagmore trail leads to off-trailing a short down slope through forest onto Elbow Trail for the return descent along the edge of the groomed cross-country ski trail.
Elbow Trail is groomed but there is insufficient snow for a track set. A few skiers pass the snowshoe trail along the edge of the groomed trail. Soon the trip passes the intersection with Snagmore trail and continues on Elbow Trail past the intersection to Fullerton Loop. Air temperature has risen substantially. Snow is heavier and there are many more people beginning their day on the trails as the 8.0 Km (5 mile) snowshoe achieves completion on the final stretch along the Elbow River.
This day which began with brisk temperatures is now warm and sunny. The Snagmore Trail would be tackled in the opposite and easier direction (clockwise) on a subsequent mission. Snagmore Trail is also accessible on a longer route from West Bragg Creek.
Photographs for this post were taken on Sunday, March 1, 2015 in Kananaskis Elbow west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.