Hiking trails in Alberta

XC Ski Trails in Alberta

Province in Canada

The Canadian Province of Alberta is an outdoor-lovers paradise. World famous destinations like Jasper, Lake Louise, Waterton and Banff draw the crowds, and for good reason – they’re beautiful. Big mountains, stunning emerald coloured lakes, abundant glaciers, forests, game and fresh air make Alberta one of the best places for your upcoming holiday.

With most of the accessible Rocky Mountains in Alberta protected by national and provincial parks, a holiday in Alberta is special. There are big mountains, stunning emerald coloured lakes, glaciers, forests and fresh air. Alberta has some of the best, untouched wilderness on earth, and the ideal way to explore this wonderful province is on foot, ski or bike.

In winter, there are downhill ski areas, most famous are the ski resorts Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. Winter is not just about downhill skiing, there is also abundant xc-ski trails and exhilarating backcountry skiing options. Winter is also low season, and a trip to Alberta in winter means great hotel rates.

Summer sees Alberta’s national parks fill up with eager outdoor explorers. Luckily there is just so much nature that you only notice the crowds in a few places, the rest of the Canadian Rockies stay peaceful and tranquil. While hiking is the most popular summer activity, you can also climb, bike, canoe and kayak.

After a hard day outdoors, one of the best parts of Alberta are the great mountain towns. Full of everything from campsites to 5-star hotels, these towns allow you to enjoy some civilization, which means great coffee, good food and fun bars!

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XC skiing regions in Alberta

Best XC Ski Trails in Alberta

Open details for Goat Creek to Banff Springs

Goat Creek to Banff Springs

Hard
19.8 km
178 m
3-5h

Cross-country skiing from the Goat Creek parking lot above Canmore to the Banff Springs Hotel is a classic XC ski in the Canadian Rockies. This ski trail takes in some epic scenery. The first half of the route is infrequently track-set, while the trail improves markedly once you enter Banff National park.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.5
Technical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Fairview Loop

Fairview Loop

Easy
6.2 km
50 m
1-1.5h

The Fairview cross-country ski trail is a stunning XC ski trail near Chateau Lake Louise. It’s also not too busy, as other nearby trails are more popular, however we love the scenery of a cross-country ski trip on Fairview. We often combine this route with a return on the Moraine Lake Road trail.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.3
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Canmore Nordic Centre

Canmore Nordic Centre

Easy
13.3 km
156 m
2-3h

We love to cross-country ski at Canmore Nordic Centre. The trails are usually in great condition and there are so many variants to explore, from beginner to expert. This is our favourite loop, which goes out on Meadowview and back on Banff Trail.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
8.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Lake Louise Lakeshore

Lake Louise Lakeshore

Very Easy
4.0 km
5 m
1h

Cross-country skiing on Lake Louise is the classic beginner XC ski trail in Banff National Park. This XC route goes over frozen Lake Louise, providing incredible views you can’t easily get in summer. This is also a fun trip to do with headlamps and some hot chocolate at dusk.

User Ratings
No Reviews
Open details for Ribbon Creek

Ribbon Creek

Moderate
11.3 km
288 m
1.5-3h

We love to ski at Ribbon Creek when conditions are good. This is some of the closest cross-country skiing to Calgary, and the trails are fun and usually kept in good condition.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Goat Creek to Banff Springs

Goat Creek to Banff Springs

Hard
19.8 km
178 m
3-5h

Cross-country skiing from the Goat Creek parking lot above Canmore to the Banff Springs Hotel is a classic XC ski in the Canadian Rockies. This ski trail takes in some epic scenery. The first half of the route is infrequently track-set, while the trail improves markedly once you enter Banff National park.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Pocaterra

Pocaterra

Moderate
22.9 km
521 m
4-6h

The Pocaterra cross-country ski area in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park has some of the best snow in the Kananaskis region. While we have shared our favourite XC ski loop, there are plenty of easier loops to do in the area that are both shorter and with less elevation gain.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Great Divide 1A

Great Divide 1A

Moderate
20.0 km
140 m
2.5-4h

Cross-country ski through history on the old Lake Louise highway 1A. This ski is very popular with novice skiers, who often don’t complete the whole trail. You’ll pass the Great Divide and continue into British Columbia on this family-friendly out-and-back trip. The Great Divide typically has great snow and the wide road means you get better views than many other cross-country ski trails in Banff National Park.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.5
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for West Bragg Creek

West Bragg Creek

Easy
9.2 km
152 m
1-2h

The West Bragg Creek cross-country ski trails are an outstanding network of XC ski trails a short drive from Calgary. There are trails for all abilities at West Bragg, and the higher elevation means their snow is typically far superior than that found in Calgary.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Cascade Valley

Cascade Valley

Hard
22.6 km
500 m
3-5h

This sunny, wide trail through the forest is the gateway to Banff’s backcountry. Ski as far as the Cascade Bridge (7.2 km one-way) for an enjoyable tour, or continue to Stoney Bridge near doubling your trip distance (15.4 km). With some wonderful views and a tranquil setting, this is a great day out cross-country skiing.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.

Change happens, fees shouldn't

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