Upcoming trip in Banff/Canmore area - need ideas - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Default Upcoming trip in Banff/Canmore area - need ideas

Hi all,

Planning for a trip coming up March 26-30. Originally I planned on doing some cross country skiing/snowshoeing, but after doing more research I'm worried the trail conditions will be less than ideal due to it being late in the season. I have only ever visited the mountain parks before in the summer.

I will be staying in Banff town, and am looking for daytrip ideas anywhere between Kananaskis and Lake Louise. XC Ski, snowshoe or hike.

Trust me I have a long list of things I want to do, but wondering what is most enjoyable if conditions are melting and sloppy.

Thanks.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 11:04 AM
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Someone more local will hopefully chime in on the specific recommendations, but my suggestion would be to go find a visitor centre when you show up and get some advice on what's open and what's safe. Be extremely mindful of avalanche risk at that time of year.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 10:33 AM
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Gee the Alberta section really giving the cold shoulder here.... not even Zeljkok has chimed in. I don't know about x-country conditions, but there will definitely still be snow in the alpine. You could search this site for trips that were posted around that time and see what people were up to. You could also contact the Canmore Nordic center and chat with someone there about x-country ski conditions. I think they operate a webcam too.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 01:06 PM
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Maybe personal message Zeljkok here on CT. His knowledge of all things Banff/Canmore is legion

Also, loads of info here http://www.canmorealberta.com/webcams/main-street-2 check out all the webcams for local conditions

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 03:34 PM
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Conditions can be anything that time of year. I.e you can have bluebird & sunshine with summer-like conditions in front ranges, or you can have pacific front coming over from BC dumping half of meter of snow.

As a general rule of thumb: North side of Bow Valley above Canmore tends to be drier (it is half dry even now); this makes peaks like Grotto, Lady Mac etc feasible early season scrambles. In the other side of valley Ha Ling / Miners Peak is done year-round, but could be icy. Similar idea with East End of Rundle (EEOR). In the Foothills Yamnuska area (Yam, Doorjamb/Loder, Association, ...) is equally good.

In Kananaskis Porcupine Ridge or Midnight Peak are good choices that could also be dry. Smith-Dorrien corridor will have considerably more snow & I'd probably stay away that time of year.


Around Banff Minnewanka shoreline trail with hike up to Aylmer lookout is personal favorite & I do it every year around that time.

Louise area will have snow with fair possibility of avalanches. Ski Tour (or snowshoe trip) into Skoki would top my list of recommendations. Heather Ridge would be one idea.

Finally further up on Icefields excellent choice is trip to Glacier Lake. Water is low & you can walk along Howse River flats; it is very scenic and very historic.

All the trips I mentioned & linked were done that time of year (+- 2 weeks)

Last edited by zeljkok; 02-21-2017 at 04:16 PM.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 10:46 AM
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this is impossible-for me anyways-to respond to as I have no idea of your abilities, nor do we know whether you're traveling solo. Once those facts are known I could make suggestions
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions, Zeljkok. That website you linked to is a great resource, I'm surprised I never came across it while researching in years past.

Woodenshoes, you are right - I should have provided more detail. First of all, I am travelling with my girlfriend. I am probably looking for something in the 4-8 hour range, up to 20k distance, and total elevation is not really a concern as we are fit enough. If one thing causes me hesitation it is the part of going off-trail in the winter, and we have never done much scrambling - we would probably be more comfortable with that in summer conditions. Overall, we do tend to stick to the 'official' trails. Shorter activities are fine too, since my girlfriend is recovering from plantar fasciitis I don't want her to overdo it.

Our original plans involved cross-country skiing in Kananaskis on groomed trails, as well as the Pipestone Loop and Great Divide trails near Lake Louise, which are also groomed.

I guess if there is no snow, we will hike somewhere. I realize a lot of what I have read in the past on this forum is trip reports of people following GPS routes off-trail to scramble or climb peaks, but hopefully there is still some room here for less epic stuff.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smron View Post
I realize a lot of what I have read in the past on this forum is trip reports of people following GPS routes off-trail to scramble or climb peaks, but hopefully there is still some room here for less epic stuff.
yes, and that's where this Forum can really shine and can be Canadian leader for general outdoor information. There is no "small" report, or report that is not "worthy". Anyone that visits should also try to give something back! Walk in Ravines around Toronto? Put up few words on Club Tread! Visit Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park, ride a bike in surf of Long Beach near Tofino, climb Mt. Temple in Rockies or Sky Pilot near Squamish? Put up few words on Club Tread. List goes on...

Glad you found info helpful. Banff / Canmore area is beautiful by world standards and can be explored year round, regardless of skill and fitness level. If you and your gf are more used to "non-epic, trail hiking" then definitely go to Aylmer lookout. Shoreline trail will be dry, Minnewanka is beautiful and views from the lookout are among the best in Banff area.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smron View Post
I realize a lot of what I have read in the past on this forum is trip reports of people following GPS routes off-trail to scramble or climb peaks, but hopefully there is still some room here for less epic stuff.
I am going to echo what @zeljkok has already said - this community is open to any and all types of Trip Reports. The aim is, and has always been, to be the top resource for outdoor activities in Canada. The site did start in the West, and there is a heavy presence from BC and AB, but that doesn't mean you Manitobans and we Ontarians shouldn't share our local trips as well! Our country is absolutely beautiful, coast to coast, and we should be rubbing it in the face of the rest of the world

I hope you and your girlfriend have an amazing trip! I too am collecting information for my own trip out west later this year. I'll be looking for your Trip Reports since I will also be swinging by the Banff area
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Just to update - the trip was great. Spent three days cross country skiing and snowshoeing (day trips) in Kananaskis and one day cross country skiing near Lake Louise and it was amazing. Will definitely be thinking about making it an annual trip. Sure feel silly now, having been worried about there not being any snow. Although it was brown grass as far as the eye could see when driving in from Calgary, I was pleasantly surprised by all the snow at the higher elevations.

On a side note, I drove the length of the Spray Valley road on Sunday, March 26 and it was a mess. Someone told me you could drive 120 on it?? I think I got up to 70 once and most of the northwest portion I was going 20-30 to avoid potholes and ruts. Do they fix it up after the melt or is it like this all the time? I am anticipating needing to use this road again mid-July.
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