10 of the Best Snowshoe Trails in the Rocky Mountains

Strap on your snowshoes and explore!

In the colder months, Canada’s Rocky Mountains fit the true definition of a winter wonderland. Once that first snowfall hits, the entire landscape looks as though it belongs on a postcard. If you don’t want to be cooped up inside, then strap on your snowshoes, bundle up in your warmest layers and explore these snowshoe trails in Alberta and BC.

1. Tunnel Mountain Summit

Banff National Park

Length: 2.4 km one-way

Time: 1 – 2 hours

Elevation Gain: 300 m

Escape the crowded streets of Banff during the winter season with this moderately steep but short trail. Don’t let the title of being the smallest mountain in Banff deter you, as you’ll still get to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the town and surrounding peaks like Mount Rundle.

Where can I find this trail? The trail begins off of St. Julien Road near the Banff Centre.

Read More: pc.gc.c 

2. Sulphur Mountain Trail

Banff National Park

Length: 5.5 km

Time: 2 – 3 hours

Elevation Gain: 655 m

A more strenuous trail for those looking for a challenge, the Sulphur Mountain Trail is a popular hike because of its spectacular views of the snowy peaks of Bow Valley. Work up a sweat snowshoeing to the top and then reward yourself by taking the gondola down.

Where can I find this trail? The trail begins at the Upper Hot Springs parking lot.

Read More: banff.ca

3. Bourgeau Lake

Banff National Park

Length: 7.2 km one-way

Time: 6 hours

Elevation Gain: 725 m

This is a moderate trail through deep woods. Bourgeau Lake hugs the base of amphitheatre-shaped towering mountains behind it. For those wanting to extend their adventure, continue an extra two kilometres past the grand Bourgeau Lake toward Harvey Pass.

Where can I find this trail? This trail can be accessed off the Trans-Canada Highway, about 13 kilometres west of Banff.

Read more: pc.gc.ca

4. Rawson Lake Trail

Kananaskis Country

Length: 3.9 km one-way

Time: 5 hours

Elevation Gain: 320 m

Get up close and personal with towering snow-capped mountains on this trail. A steady incline takes you through spruce trees, over a rustling stream and below the cliffs of Mt. Sarrail. The lake might be completely covered in snow or partially frozen depending on what time of year you visit.

Where can I find this trail? The trail starts at the Upper Kananaskis Lake Day Use Area.

Read More: albertaparks.ca 

5. Medicine Lake – Watchtower Canyon

Jasper National Park

Length: 2 km

Time: 1 hour

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Admire the crystal blue colour of the frozen Watchtower Canyon waterfall on this short but rewarding trail. Although Medicine Lake is a popular destination for snowshoeing, few know about the waterfalls. They can be found on the west side of the lake. Follow the rustling stream roughly one kilometre and you’ll come across them.

Where can I find this trail? This trail is along Maligne Lake Road, west of Jasper.

Read More: trailpeak.com 

6. Emerald Lake

Yoho National Park

Length: 5.2 km

Time: 2 hours

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Enjoy incredible views without the huge crowds—or huge effort. This mostly level trail loops along stunning Emerald Lake, with views of the mountains and glaciers the whole way.

Where can I find this trail? This trail begins at the Emerald Lake parking area.

Read More: pc.gc.ca 

7. Lake O’Hara Lodge

Yoho National Park

Length: 11 km

Time: 4.5 hours

Trek through a snowy winter wonderland towards the famous Lake O’Hara Lodge, built in 1925 by the Canadian Pacific Railway. In the winter, the lodge is only accessible by skis or snowshoes, which makes warming up and enjoying hot chocolate upon arrival even sweeter.

Where can I find this trail? This trail begins at the Lake O’Hara parking lot off of the TransCanada Highway

Read More: lakeohara.com 

8. Wapta Falls

Yoho National Park

Length: 4.6 km

Time: 1 – 2 hours

Elevation Gain: 30 m

Discover the largest frozen waterfall on the Kicking Horse River. Walk along the crystal blue Wapta River as its icicles sparkle in the sunshine before coming across the falls that stand 30 metres tall. Depending on what time of year you visit, the falls may either be completely frozen or partially frozen, but offer a stunning sight either way.

Where can I find this trail? The trail begins either in the Wapta Falls parking lot off the Trans-Canada Highway.

Read More: pc.gc.ca 

9. Dog Lake

Kootenay National Park

Length: 5.2 km

Time: 1 – 2 hours

Elevation Gain: 40 m

Normally a busy summer hike, this trail can be perfectly quiet and peaceful to snowshoe in the winter season. Trek through deep pine tree forests and over the Kootenay River to Dog Lake, which is surrounded by towering white mountains.

Where can I find this trail? This trail begins at McLeod Meadows picnic area.

Read More: pc.gc.ca 

10. Paint Pots Trail

Kootenay National Park

Length: 2 km

Time: 1 hour

Elevation Gain: 25 m

This easy trail takes hikers over the frozen Vermilion River and between mountain peaks towards a collection of natural ponds. These ponds are exceptionally unique because of their rich caramel colour. The colour is formed due to the accumulation of iron oxide.

Where can I find this trail? This trail begins in the Paint Pots parking lot.

Read More: pc.gc.ca 


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