The trip up Skogan Pass is a classic XC Ski in Kananaskis. Starting at the Nakiska ski hill this cross-country trail is an uphill challenge all the way to Skogan Pass. The route down is fun, but can be challenging in icy conditions.
Park in the Nakiska Ski Hill parking lot. This trail starts in front of the main lodge.
|When to do|
Mid-November to April
Nakiska Ski Hill
Out and back
|Type of XC Route|
The cross-country ski trail up to Skogan Pass is a bit of a legend. When you’re just learning to cross-country ski, the goal of reaching Skogan Pass, with almost 700m of climbing, is a major goal. In truth, the XC Ski trail up Skogan Pass is actually not as hard as it sounds, as the grading is very well done, and there are few places that feel “really steep”. That said, if you have the wrong wax or there hasn’t been recent grooming, the Skogan Pass ski trail can be challenging.
Starting in front of Nakiska Ski Hill Day lodge, walk or ski north, with the Magic Carpet and Silver chair on your left. You will then ski down to your right on the Sweetgrass ski run (#24), and the Olympic Chair will be on your left. You will merge and cross the Sundance ski run (#25) and then head downhill, where you soon go under the Bronze chair and into the trees briefly. You will come out on Powderface (run #28), which you cross and head into the trees on the other side. Here the route turns to the left and you head in a NW direction.
Follow this route as it ascends along a break in the trees. After roughly 1.3km go right at the fork, and soon pass over Marmot Creek (you may miss the creek in winter).
Continue on this ski trail for 1.3km, until you are presented with an option of taking the Sunburst Variant (to the right), which adds 1.0km to the route. For the more direct ascent to Skogan Pass, and if this is your first time on this trail, cut back to the left (our map also shows the more direct route to Skogan Pass).
In about 800m pass the turnoff for the High Level ski route on your right (which connects with the Sunburst trail). Go left here and continue to Skogan Pass. Maybe consider taking this variant on your return descent.
In another 1.2km you have another option for a little diversion on a trail called the Skogan Loop, on your left. This route adds additional distance, but has two nice viewpoints. Again, for your first time we suggest going right here and staying on the Skogan Pass ski trail, bypassing the Skogan Loop.
In 1.5km pass the other end of the Skogan Loop (it’s on your left), and from here it’s 2.3km to Skogan Pass.
Once at Skogan Pass, you have nice views down to the Bow Valley and Canmore. It’s fun to explore a bit around Skogan Pass, and find a pretty viewpoint for lunch or a snack.
Once you’re ready, it’s a quick descent back down, with only a few uphill portions. It can also be very challenging in icy conditions, as it can be fast. The section between Marmot Creek and Ruthie’s Trail is the steepest section in our opinion.
In general, you should be able to get down in half the time it took you to ascend.
We love to combine the Skogan Pass route with a hike to Troll Falls. It’s nearby – you can either walk there or drive to the Troll Falls Trailhead.
The Nakiska Ski Hill is very popular with families from Calgary, and you can get fast food meals from the main lodge. If you want to learn to ski Nakiska is a great option!
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