Snowshoeing is a fun, family friendly and economical sport. It doesn’t take long to learn – if you can hike, you can snowshoe! The sport is growing in popularity and is a past time that the entire family can enjoy. Snowshoes are highly manoeuvrable and can get you to places where snowmobiles and cross-country skis cannot. With Canada’s long winters and plenty of backcountry to explore, Canada is a snowshoer’s paradise!
Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler Ski Resort, more recently well-known for being the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic World Games, offers plenty of opportunities for snowshoeing. Any of the summer local hiking trails transform into snowshoeing trails, where snowshoe rentals and guides are readily available. Lost Lake Loop, around the valley trail is a popular, beginner level snowshoeing trail, which is about a 45 minutes in length.
There are many snowshoeing companies available offering full lessons, rentals and tours that follow summer mountain biking trails.
Callaghan Valley, 14 kilometres south of Whistler, is a snowshoer’s winter wonderland. It is an old-growth forest full of giant cedar, fir and hemlock trees. This valley gets 40% more snow than Whistler ski resort. It offers more than than 8,000 acres (3 237 hectares) of high alpine terrain and unlimited snowshoeing. Some of the backcountry lodges are only accessible via helicopter, snowmobile or snowcat.
The Rockies and Interior of British Columbia
Many of the ski resorts in the Interior of British Columbia and the Rockies region offer snowshoe rentals and guided tours. Snowshoe ski resorts include Sun Peaks, Panorama Kimberley and Fernie. Wildlife, such as elk and deer are often spotted on tours, and of course, spectacular mountain views. The Rockies have many natural hot springs throughout this area – a perfect way to relax after a day in the fresh air.
Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta
In the Banff ski resort area, a great beginner snowshoeing trail is through the Vermillion River Valley to the Paint Pots. The majority of the trail is flat and there is the opportunity to spot moose, wolf and snowshoe hare tracks.
For the more advanced snowshoer, the Bow Summit, close to Lake Louise is well known for it’s picture-perfect viewpoint overlooking Peyto Lake. Since the elevation is at 6,000′, this area gets an abundance of snow annually.
If groomed trails, with access to hundreds of miles of backcountry trails and breathtaking views of lakes and mountains, is more what you are looking for, then the Lake Louise area is the perfect place to go and explore. Lake Louise is home to 31 miles (50 km) of trails, with a nearby network of trails named Pipestone Loops with 12 miles (20 km) of snowshoeing opportunities.
Today, of course, you don’t need to strap on snowshoes and hit the trail to enjoy the alpine wonderland that Banff, Alberta, becomes in winter – but it is a nevertheless excellent way to enjoy the winter scenery up close. If you want to see the beauty of the Canadian Rockies wilderness in an authentic, traditional way, you can’t get much better than snowshoeing. It’s also an excellent opportunity for viewing wildlife of the area.
Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Mont Tremblant Ski Resort features snowshoeing for all levels. Most trails are found within the National Park area, where trails wind through birch and maple forests and offer opportunities to take in spectacular views of lakes and wildlife.
There is a total of 48 km of trails within two networks of marked and groomed trails. Ungroomed backcountry trails are available as well.
The Diable network of trails is 23 km in length, of which one of the trails follows the eastern shore of Lac Monroe. Other trails include: La Roche, La Corniche, Lac-des-Femmes and Les Ruisselets, which leads to La Hutte hut. The popular Centenaire trail is also accessible on snowshoes.
The other network of trails, La Pimbina offers 25 km of snowshoeing trails, which includes a 10-km trail leading to Chute-aux-Rats waterfall. There are also fantastic views at Envol and Mont-des-Cascades.