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Kananaskis Country Snowshoeing: West Bragg Creek Trails

Kananaskis Country Snowshoeing: West Bragg Creek Trails

Kananaskis Country can get a lot of snow so it’s perfect for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Last week – by sheer luck – we ended up on the West Bragg Creek snowshoe trail and what a delight it was.

"The mountains are beckoning on the way up to West Bragg Creek Trail"

The mountains are beckoning on the way up to the West Bragg Creek Trailhead

Our intention had been to check out the Bragg Creek area. It’s a small community not far from Calgary and I’d heard that there was cross country skiing nearby. But that’s all I knew. Fortunately I have a nose for finding great trails.

"The start of the snowshoe trail"

The start of the snowshoe trail at West Bragg Creek

The west Bragg Creek trails – which are largely for cross country skiers – can be found at the end of West Bragg Creek Road – just 8.5 kilometres from the one major shopping area in Bragg Creek itself. There’s a big parking lot though by one in the afternoon on a perfect blue sky Saturday, it was overflowing. Fortunately there is loads of parking on the road – and it’s all free.

The Snowshoe Hare Loop

It took us some time to find a trail that catered to the snowshoeing crowd. But we found a loop – the 5.5 kilometre Snowshoe Hare Loop. It turns out dogs are allowed on these trails without a leash, a real bonus in my mind.

In our haste to get out of the house we hadn’t brought snowshoes or skis with us – thinking we would just be on a reconnoitering mission. But there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to get out and at least hike the snowshoe trail.

And no we weren’t one of those hikers – the ones that destroy tracks and make it difficult for everybody to snowshoe or ski. The trail was so firmly packed down that it was a piece of cake to walk on and you didn’t actually need snowshoes.

"Beautiful snow covered trees "

Beautiful snow covered trees

"Looking up through the trees"

Looking up through the trees

"Thick stands of trees near the beginning of the trail"

Thick stands of trees near the beginning of the trail

The trail was an utter delight – especially after the big snowfall we’d had just a few days earlier. Perhaps I should rephrase that. The trail was indeed wonderful but if you hike it in a clockwise direction, the first kilometer are two had the annoying buzz of wood chippers off in the distance. But once over the first hump, we were met with silence.

"My dog is allowed on the trail - off leash"

My dog is allowed on the trail – off leash

"Sun beams on the tree"

Sun beams on the tree

"A blast of sunshine on the forest floor"

A blast of sunshine on the forest floor

"It's dark in places "

It’s dark in places

"The only real open area we came across"

The only real open area we came across

All told the trail took less than 90 minutes to hike. The same would hold true for snowshoeing.

I look forward to another visit – this time with cross country skis in tow. As you can see from the map below, there are loads of interconnected trails. The longest one appears to be the 16.5 kilometre return Telephone Loop though there are lots of short loops to do too.

For easy access from Calgary you can’t beat the trails at West Bragg Creek.

"The snowshoe trail is in pink"

The snowshoe trail is in pink

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Leigh McAdam

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 10 Comments
    1. @Mette I need to get you to Canada to show you all the truly wonderful things there are to do. And yes snowshoes look like tennis rackets though they now come in many different forms – from light weight ones meant for running to big heavy duty ones meant for carrying heavy loads through deep snow.

  1. What a great hike! I’m not a fan of cold but I think snow is so beautiful and I love the quiet of a good trek in the snow-covered woods. Your dog looks so cute and happy, what is her/his name?

    1. @Krista Once you’re moving it’s not cold and in fact I was so warm I had my hat and mitts off or most of the hike. My dog’s name is Torrie. She is from the island of St. Maartens in the Caribbean – hates the heat, loves the snow.

  2. Check out Snowy Owl, a new snowshoe trail at West Bragg that’s not on the official map yet.
    We are also preparing another snowshoe blog with more ideas for snowshoeing/winter hiking at West Bragg.

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