Hiking season doesn’t end when the snow hits! It just changes a little.
Alberta is home to some of the most beautiful hiking spots both in the mountains and outside of them. Winter hiking comes with a few challenges like staying warm, layered clothing, knowing your terrain, timing since the sun sets earlier, and the extra gear you might need.
These are some awesome spots in Alberta that are totally worth suiting up to go out and explore.
Located in Kananaskis is hike is a gorgeous one with beautiful mountain views. The trail starts fairly flat and easy and then get a little tougher with a 300m climb just past the Sarrail Waterfall. Don’t venture beyond the near end of Rawson Lake as its avalanche terrain.
Trailhead: Located at the Upper Kananaskis Lakes day use parking area
Distance (return): 8 km
Time (return): 3 – 5 hours
Located near Bragg Creek, this is a steep hike that will make you sweat! But it is oh so worth it when you reach the top. This hike will test your fitness so maybe not one to do on a whim, unless you love a good challenge. Ice cleats are recommended by many that have done this hike.
Trailhead: Look for the trailhead across from the Elbow Falls parking lot by the winter gates.
Distance (return): 7.6 km
Time (return): 2.5 – 4 hours
Johnston Canyon in Banff is a very popular spot in both the summer and winter months for hikers. At the Lower Falls be sure to cross the bridge and and go through the tunnel to see the frozen icefall. Carry on to the Upper Falls and take in the views of the frozen gorge and cathedral of ice.
Trailhead: Near the rear of the parking area of the Bow Valley Parkway
Distance (return): 5.2 km
Time (return): 2 – 2.5 hours
Located in Jasper this hiking spot is consider quite easy but is also very beautiful. Not only that it is important to note the recession of the glacier of the years. It really puts it into perspective when you are standing right on it. Guided tours of the glacier are also available, here.
Trailhead: Glacier Rd, Jasper, AB
Time: 28 min
Elk Island National Park has 21 great trails for hiking, birding, and snowshoeing and more all located just outside Edmonton. There might not be mountain views but the scenery is full of nature, animal sightings, and lakes.
The trails range from easy to moderate and have a variety of distances. See the list of trails, here.
Located in Jasper this enchanting trail is of moderate difficulty and provides views of he deepest accessible canyon in Jasper National Park. For the fullest benefits and views it is recommended to do a guided tour, but can still be thoroughly enjoyed on your own as well. Ice cleats are recommended here.
Trailhead: Maligne Canyon parking lot at the first bridge
Time: 1-3 hours
Book an ice walk here