Boom Lake in Banff National Park is a popular destination in both summer and winter. I can’t say that there would be much appeal for me to hike the trail in summer as it’s primarily in the trees. But in the winter, the trail is cross-country skier’s delight. The trees muffle the sound and hold the snow. And they keep the wind at bay so it’s not so cold.
Located in Banff National Park near the boundary of Kootenay National Park, it’s an easy five kilometre ski into Boom Lake. The total elevation gain is only 180 metres (590 feet).
For the first 1.5 kilometres, the trail climbs at a moderate rate. Then it levels out and merely rolls up one small hill and down another. The final run to the lake is all downhill; it’s fun but the trail wiggles and there are some tight corners which might not appeal to everyone.
My first impression of Boom Lake was WOW! What a place.
Humans look puny next to the cliffs rising 600 metres up from the lake.
Exploring Boom Lake
A lot of people call it quits when they reach the lake but if conditions are good then you can ski for at least a kilometre in either direction on the lake itself. Out in the middle there seemed to be some surface water over the ice so we backed off and stuck to the shore.
Be aware of your surroundings on the lake. There are several avalanche paths that come right down to the shore. If it’s snowed recently, you’re going to want to give them a wide berth. Unless you’re an expert in reading the snow pack, play it safe.
There are several frozen waterfalls around the lake. The intense blue of the ice is truly beautiful.
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All told it took us about four hours to ski in and out. That included a lunch break and several extra kilometres of skiing on the lake itself. Parking is excellent. Look for the large signed parking lot on the north side of Highway 93, just 6 kilometres from Castle Junction and only a few minutes away from Storm Mountain Lodge. There are no services but there are washrooms.
***If you’re looking for more ideas on where to cross-country ski in Alberta I highly recommend the book –Ski Trails in the Canadian Rockies.***
Where to stay near Boom Lake
While you could stay at nearby Storm Mountain Lodge, there are lots of other options in Lake Louise. It’s a 25 minute drive from Lake Louise Village.
For good value for money stay at the Lake Louise Hostel. Deer Lodge is close to the actual lake and the renovated rooms are excellent. As is the dining room. The Mountaineer Lodge is a stone’s throw from the village – and offers comfortable rooms.
Further reading on places to ski in Alberta
- Lake Louise Skiing: The Fairview & Tramline Trails
- Skiing Chickadee Valley in Kootenay National Park
- The Top 18 Places in Canada for Cross-country Skiing
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