Great Divide 1A

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2.5-4h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
20.0 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
140 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.5
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama of Great Divide 1A XC ski trail in Banff National Park, Alberta

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.

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Route Description for Great Divide 1A

Cross-country skiing on the Great Divide trail, near Lake Louise, is a great pleasure, especially for novice skiers. There are usually great conditions, gentle grades and pleasant views from the track-set trail, which is an out-of-commission highway.

The Great Divide XC-ski trail never feels overly steep. This gentle grade, combined with the wide trail, means it is great for families or beginner skiers. So don’t feel compelled to ski the entire trail, you can stop part-way if the total distance is too long.

You can start at either the Great Divide Parking Lot near Lake Louise or the Lake O’Hara parking lot. The best views are near the Lake O’Hara section of this ski, but that is also where the most ascent and descent is as well, as you quickly start to ascend from the parking lot.

We usually ski this route from the Great Divide parking lot, near Chateau Lake Louise, as it saves about 15 minutes of driving each way. From the Great Divide parking lot, you mostly descend for 10.0 km, ending up in the Lake O’Hara parking lot, before returning.

Along the way, you take in the historic Great Divide monument before skiing over the border into British Columbia and into Yoho National Park.

For those looking to cut their trip in half by skiing one-way, you can arrange to leave another car at the Lake O’Hara parking lot to shuttle you back to Lake Louise.

Insider Hints for Great Divide 1A

  • Start early to see the dogs and dogsleds at the Great Divide parking lot. The noise the dogs make is incredible in the morning, but by the time you return. You can book a (highly recommended) tour with Kingmik Dog Sled Tours.
  • Pick-up your pre-ski snacks at Laggan’s Mountain Bakery in Lake Louise Village.
  • Check out Bill Peyto’s Café at the HI Lake Louise Hostel for a hearty lunch after skiing.
  • Just up the hill from the Great Divide Parking Lot is Deer Lodge, an historic mountain lodge. Stop in for lunch at the Mount Fairview Dining Room and bask in the history of this lodge.

Getting to the Great Divide 1A Trailhead

From Lake Louise village, drive up towards Lake Louise, passing the Moraine Lake Road along the way. Soon after, look for signs on your right for the Great Divide parking lot. You can park in this parking lot, and find the trailhead kiosk to begin your tour. You can also park at the Lake O’Hara parking lot and ski this route in the reverse direction.

Route Information

  • When to do

    Mid-November to April

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    Trailhead

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Avalanche Risk

    Simple

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

  • Type of XC Route

    Double Track-set

Great Divide 1A Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Great Divide 1A Reviews

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