5 Great Places to Snowshoe in the Columbia Valley
When the snow starts to fly in the Columbia Valley, it’s time to head outdoors and enjoy some of our favourite local activities. Sunset may come earlier in the winter, but there is plenty of time to head to the great outdoors for a snowshoe, followed by a rewarding soak in either of the Columbia Valley Hot Springs and a delicious meal at one of the many local restaurants.
In the Columbia Valley, snowshoeing can be done anywhere there’s enough snow on the ground, but if you’re headed to the backcountry be sure to check on avalanche conditions and be prepared before you go.
Enjoy serene woods, scenic views, and have some winter fun on a snowshoe romp with this list of our favourite snowshoe trails in the Columbia Valley.
Snowshoeing in Invermere
There are several popular ice rinks throughout the Columbia Valley, including Lake Windermere, where you can skate the world’s longest ice skating trail, The Whiteway, boasting over 30km of picturesque ice-skating. We also recommend lacing up your skates at the volunteer-maintained outdoor skating rinks, and on Columbia Lake in Canal Flats.
Lake Windermere Whiteway
Maintained by the Toby Creek Nordic Club, the Lake Windermere Whiteway is over 30km of multi-use trail for snowshoeing, ice-skating as well as groomed skate and classic cross-country ski trails and was named the world’s longest skating trail by Guinness World Records in 2014.
Two access points are available, one at Kinsmen Beach in Invermere and one at Windermere Beach. Visit the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club’s Facebook page for trail reports to learn more about current conditions or to purchase passes online.
Markin-MacPhail Westside Legacy Trail
Bring your snowshoes or your cross-country skis and enjoy a trail that is made for everyone. The Markin-MacPhail Westside Legacy Trail is a 25km multi-recreational trail that links communities of Invermere and Fairmont Hot Springs.
Access to the trail is via one of four parking areas located along Westside Road. Travellers are encouraged to bring a snack and enjoy one of the five scenic picnic areas, take a rest around the large beaver pond or stop at one of the seventeen benches to take in the surroundings. Pause your trek and enjoy some nature, punctuated by seven interpretive signs.
Also maintained by the Toby Creek Nordic Club, Lake Lillian composes a northern section that is part of the Whiteway above (although not connected) and is located 10 minutes outside of Invermere offering a 3km lake-based trail. Access Lake Lillian is via Toby Creek Road – on the other side of the road you can also access the 3 km Junior Johnson Trail for a longer loop.
Snowshoeing at Panorama Mountain Resort
Panorama offers four beautiful snowshoe trails at around 4km each (taking about 60-90 minutes to complete). Stop at the Placer Hut for a break and a beautiful view over Toby Creek, continue on and make your way to the Hale Hut. This groomed path is shared with snowshoers, cross-country skiers and fat bikers. This cozy warming hut, located on the Delphine loop of Panorama’s nordic trails, was built in the Fall of 2000 and named in memory of Dennis Hale, an avid local skier.
The Valley Trail is a 3.5km undulating forested trail that departs from the village and winds above Greywolf Golf Course before crossing over the course halfway to continue beside Toby Creek on the way back, while the South Face Trail is a 2.2km loop with spectacular views looking back at the resort and the mountain. Grab a copy of their ski map for trails.
Panorama also offers regular guided snowshoe tours and rentals available at Mountain Outfitters.
Snowshoeing at Nipika Mountain Resort
Nipika Mountain Resort is located just 35 km from the Village of Radium Hot Springs, surrounded by a magnificent trail network along the Kootenay and Cross River Valleys. Take in stunning mountain, river, and forest views while enjoying year-round trails frequented by cross-country skiers, fat bikers, and snowshoers in the winter, or head to the variety of dedicated singletrack snowshoe trails running through the trees, along clifftops, and beside the rivers. Trail fees are in effect, passes are available at the barn/day lodge.
Nipika Mountain Resort also offers Interpretive Snowshoe Tours where you can embark on a guided two-hour snowshoe tour to learn about the region and take in the best views and trails Nipika offers.
Snowshoeing at Fairmont Hot Springs
There are plenty of trails and fresh snow surrounding Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, so before/after you soak in their hot springs take some time to explore! The Activity & Experience Centre (located beside the check-in desk) can help you on your way and also offers snowshoe rentals with sizes for adults and children (4-12 years).
Are you ready for winter? Grab your snowshoes, dress warmly, and get out to the Columbia Valley for some fantastic winter trails!
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