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Winter Adventures in Banff National Park

by Chris Smith
Lake Louise skating on lake

November in the Canadian Rockies is a great transition month. Summer hikes gave way to fall, prepping our adventurous souls for a long snowy active winter. The months ahead will be filled with snow capped mountains and snow capped pines, your invitation to play.

Staying warm in winter means keeping busy, so grab your ice cleats and walking poles and take a walk up Tunnel Mountain. For those who want to get a head start, jump on the Roam public transit route 7 bus and save some of that enthusiasism for your hike. Maybe speed is more your style. Why not grab your fat bike and ride to Cave and Basin National Historic Site, riding along the river or the marsh loops trail. Cross country skiers can either glide out on the Spray River West trail or Cascade fire road, off the Lake Minnewanka road.

Thinking of visiting Lake Louise? Use Roam public transit route 8 to take you deeper into the Canadian Rockies. While at the lake, choose to walk, ice skate or ski the vast trail system, or just sit back and take in the spectacular view of Victoria Glacier. Track set cross country trails can be enjoyed on the Fairview Loop or the Moraine Lake road trail. The Moraine Lake road trail is wide enough for skate skiing as is the Old 1A or Great Divide trail. The viewpoint at Peyto Lake makes for a great snowshoe.

As majestic and alluring as the mountains are, remember to be prepared in the mountain region. Avalanche season runs from November to June and even short walks away from Banff and Lake Louise’s townsites will put you in avalanche terrain. If you are going to venturing off into the backcountry, be sure to check the the online trail report or stop into a Parks Canada Visitor centre to see if your route will require more than water and sunscreen.

Just like our thoughts, avalanche conditions change daily, so check online for the most current updates.

Here are some helpful links.

Trail report: parkscanada.gc.ca/banfftrails

Safety information: parksmountainsafety.ca

Avalanche forecast: avalanche.ca

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