Mount Shark is a great area for cross-country skiing, with trails ranging from beginner to expert. This is some of the best snow in the Canadian Rockies, and the variety of trails mean this is a great place to come and explore and work on your cross-country skiing.
From Canmore, drive out past the Nordic Centre and follow the road for 34.7km as it turns into the Smith-Dorrien (Hwy 742). The turnoff for Mt Shark is the same as Mt Engadine Lodge. Once you’ve taken the turnoff go past Engadine Lodge and follow the road for 5.0km, as it crosses over the bridge, and at the next intersection goes right.
|When to do|
Mid-November to April
Older Children only
|Type of XC Route|
Mt Shark is a great cross-country ski location, with a variety of trails to suit beginners to experts. Alberta Parks have made finding a suitable trail easier by creating three coloured routes: Green (15.0km), Blue (2.0km) and Yellow (10.0km). You can also ski out to Watridge Lake on the Watridge Lake Trail.
Our favourite route is the Green 15.0km route, which is shown on this map. The Green route goes back and forth at the start for roughly 4.5km. This section is narrow with what seems like constant up and down, and some tight turns at the bottoms of some hills, making this a challenging ski for intermediates.
Once you’re done with the back and forth section, our favourite section of the cross-country ski starts, as the route heads out across the valley, crossing over Watridge Creek along the way. The views from this part of the ski are wonderful.
From the far point, ski back towards the Watridge Lake Trail, eventually meeting up with this wide trail. You can go right and ascend a hill, which eventually descends down to Watridge Lake, a pretty lake that is also along the ski route into Mount Assiniboine.
If you don’t go and check out Watridge Lake, then go left and head back along the wide, double track-set XC Ski Trail to your car. Along the way you can try out some of the trails that branch off of the Watridge Lake Trail.
This is usually one of the first cross-country ski trails to open in November.
Pick a clear, sunny day to maximize your experience on this trip.
Consider staying at Mount Engadine Lodge, which has cabins, lodge rooms, yurt’s and new glamping tents.
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