When the weather gets cold and the snow flies, Alberta snowmobile trails will put a smile on any sledder’s face. Alberta is home to plenty of wide-open country just begging to be explored, and with lakes and rivers mostly frozen in the winter months, the opportunities to discover new vistas is just a throttle turn away! We’ve put together a list of some of the best places in the province to shred some snow.
Riders heading north to find Alberta snowmobile trails will find lots to like in the Fort McMurray area. With over 275 km (170 mi) of groomed trails along with unlimited pipeline runs, finding a great spot to snowmobile is pretty easy. Two awesome loop trail systems just south of town include the Stony Mountain Trail and the Anzac Area Trails. Both have convenient staging areas right at the trailhead and a connector trail links the two loops together.
The Stony Mountain Trail, which sits at a higher elevation, enjoys a longer snowmobile season, while the Anzac Trail is relatively flat with good rest areas, washrooms and fire pits, making it an ideal family route. Sledders should be aware that oil development continues in this area in winter months, so be careful of industrial traffic.
Photo Credit: fortmcmurraytourism.com
Heading slightly south from Fort McMurray will take sledders to the Athabasca area. A large trail network west of Baptiste Lake offers over 300 km (186 mi) of trails over undulating hills, through forests and across river valleys. The 45 km (28 mi) Biskey Loop is a popular ride that can be accessed from just outside the town limits, while a trip up to Spotted Horse Lake with a return on the Trapper Trail makes another great day outing. With numerous staging areas, warm-up cabins and fire pits, it’s hard to go wrong snowmobiling in the Athabasca area.
Photo Credit: athabascacounty.com
The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle, found in Central Alberta, is a 350 km (217 mi) loop connecting the towns of Whitecourt, Swan Hills and Fox Creek. The groomed and very well signed loop travels through heavily wooded areas and while it could be completed in one day, most take advantage of the many snowmobile friendly hotels and motels along the route and make it a two or three day excursion. Staging areas can be found throughout the trail along with plenty of huts to warm-up at before continuing the journey. Snowmobile trail maps can be found at vendors in all three towns on the route.
Golden Triangle. Photo Credit: Don Price / snoriderswest.com
Looking for some Alberta snowmobile trails off the beaten path? Why not check out the 150 km (93 mi) of groomed trails in Westlock, about an hour north of Edmonton. Comprised of a 40 km (25 mi) main loop, two additional loops branch north and west at 80 km (50 mi) and 30 km (18.5 mi) respectively. The North Loop takes riders up and around Cross Lake Provincial Park where one of the area’s warm-up cabins can be found.
NOAB 9/E6-G4, Northern Alberta Backroad Mapbook
Sledders will find boreal forest and numerous lakes riding in the Bonneyville area. The local snowmobile club has two main loops, The 80 km (50 mi) loop north following the Iron Horse Trail, which is a great family ride, and the 128 km (80 mi) South Loop which heads down to Garnier Lake. Both loops have warm-up cabins at their furthest points to take the chill off before continuing. If you are in the area and looking for something different, hook up with a local rider and have them take you on the unmarked Bangs Lake Trail. The route heads west over Moose Lake to Thin Lake and another of the local club’s warm-up cabins.
CEAB 64, Central Alberta Backroad Mapbook
Looking for the best Southern Alberta snowmobile trails? Crowsnest Pass is one of the country’s premiere sledding destination. There are over 200 km (124 mi) of groomed trails and a total of 1,200 km (745 mi) of maintained trails in and around the Crowsnest Pass area. Riders can head south to Castle Mountain and to the border of Waterton Lakes National Park or north to the Cataract Creek staging area, which offers great access from Calgary. Popular destinations include the North Fork Pass, Window Mountain and Lost Lake, and with the hundreds of kilometres of trails to choose from, riders will never have to travel the same trail twice. Be sure to check the current avalanche conditions before heading out, as well as packing along a GPS and a set of topographic maps.
Photo Credit: Dennis Turner
No matter where you choose to ride, Alberta snowmobile trails offer plenty of powder and excitement for all skill levels. Isn’t it time to hook up the trailer and head out?
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