3798
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Goat Creek Cross Country Ski

Where:

  • Goat Creek

 

When:

  • January 5, 2020

 

Who:

  • Ed, Dave, Lorna, Feiko, Sasha

 

Trailhead:

  • a ten-minute (8 km) drive south of Canmore on the Spray Lakes Road
  • park in the lot on the right-hand side of the road that is also used for the Ha Ling trail
  • the trail starts off the nonroad side of the parking lot

 

 

Degree of difficulty:

  • 200 meters elevation (downhill on the way out and hence uphill on the return voyage)
  • 15 km round trip to the first major bridge crossing Goat Creek and back
  • just under 3 hours total time on the trail
  • out and back on the same trail
  • the most challenging sections are the initial downhill descent at the start of the trail and the first Goat Creek bridge, 6.5 km in, where there is a steep winding corner leading into it (inexperienced skiers or during icy conditions I recommend walking down this section)
  • as well the first 500 meters of the trail are often chewed up from other people (snowshoers in particular) using the trail, but it gets much better after this point
  • the trail is typically double-tracked which makes it easy to avoid oncoming traffic (assuming people understand how to share the trail which isn’t always the case)
  • on this particular day, they had only one set of tracks, so we kept having to move aside for people coming downhill on our return voyage

 

 

Interesting notes:

  • a nice advantage of this trail is the proximity to Canmore which leaves more time for the apres fun
  • the trail is surrounded by the Rundle Range on the north side and The Goat and Sulphur Mountains on the south side
  • there is no avalanche risk on this trail although we did hear three avalanches going off on the surrounding mountains
  • the trail is heavily used, so be aware of slower, faster, or inexperienced skiers
  • we typically go to the second bridge (Spray River) which is an 18 km out and back (on this day we cut it short as Feiko injured his shoulder on a fall during one of the downhill sections)
  • you can take the trail all the way to Banff and it ends at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (18 km and 300 meters)
  • you can either ski back to the Goat Creek parking lot, leave a vehicle at each end, or take the Roam bus ($6 one way) back to Canmore