Cross-country skiing in the Sandy McNabb area can be brilliant, though it is the area with the worst snow conditions. When there is good snow and recent grooming, the ski trails at Sandy McNabb offer cross-country skiers with a wide variety of skiing options.
From Turner Valley, head West on Highway 546 for 15.5km. Turn right into the signed Sheep River Park Headquarters and park in the parking lot there.
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The Sandy McNabb cross-country ski area is an under appreciated gem, largely due to the variable snow conditions there. Due to being on the front ranges, it gets subjected to warmer weather and chinook winds, which means the trails often need a bit more snow.
If you find a day where there has been recent snow and grooming, then this is a great cross-country skiing day trip very close to Calgary.
There are two cross-country trail networks to ski, north and south of the highway. We prefer going north of the highway, and the Pine Ridge Loop is a fun loop with nice views.
The Pine Ridge loop sets out from the parking lot and goes straight north, before splitting after 1.0km. We go counter-clockwise at this junction, so go right here and follow the trail for 1.3km, until you come to the Pine Ridge connector.
In our map we returned on the Pine Ridge connector, as the trails were in rough condition, however in good conditions doing the entire Pine Ridge Loop (another 3.8km) is highly recommended.
The route back is clear, with the descent from the Pine Ridge connector having some steep sections.
Other great trails in the Sandy McNabb area are the Long Prairie Loop (6.9km) and the Sandy McNabb Loop (6.3km)
Check the recent grooming before you head out.
For classic down-home cooking in a great old barn, stop off at the Chuck Wagon Café and Grill in Turner Valley.
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