The coldest season of the year is here, but that won’t stop the mountains from calling! No matter the temperature, those who love the great outdoors will still find a way to enjoy our backyard – after all, not everyone is so lucky!

It is important, however, that you know where to go and what to bring if you’re headed to the Rockies in December which is why we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to winter hiking in Alberta.

From the most scenic destinations to ice-friendly gear, here are just a few things to note when braving the elements. As always, stay on the trails and be safe while hiking out there!

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Photo via Curiocity Group

Before heading out on icy walks, ensure you are well-dressed for the weather – and we mean from head to toe!

Albertans should invest in a pair of proper boots to keep them upright – whether they plan on going hiking or just running errands.

Our advice? Get something with IceFX technology! Sold exclusively at Mark’s stores across Canada, these anti-slip foot-huggers are not only incredibly warm, but they’ll keep you from slipping or sliding this winter season.


Now, this should go without saying, but a warm jacket is a MUST when hitting that snowy trail. Whether you buy from North Face or Patagonia, this jacket should be insulated and leave you just enough room to wear a warm base layer.


When it comes to base layers, you can never go wrong with a cozy set of thermals. Canada’s Helly Hansen has a wide variety of tops in different patterns and bottoms that’ll keep your tush super warm on your winter hike.


Whether you shop at MEC or Mark’s, snow pants are an investment worth making. Though it’s not a requirement, a good pair will keep you dry and above all, cozy.



If you already know – you know! Johnston Canyon, one of Banff’s most popular hiking trails is as suitable for all skill levels, as it is beautiful! With several viewpoints of its icy waterfalls, we’d definitely recommend checking this one out.

Where: Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB
Distance from Calgary: 163 km
Distance from Edmonton: 452 km
Difficulty: Moderate


Photo via Curiocity Group

Another popular destination for those in and around the area, Quarry Lake offers some incredible views and a ton of wildlife. It’s safe, it’s easy and there are a ton of opportunities to take photos and, of course, breathe in the fresh air.

Where: Spray Lakes Rd, Canmore, AB
Distance from Calgary: 102.9 km
Distance from Edmonton: 392.6 km
Difficulty: Easy


Maligne is an all-season beauty – however, there’s something truly spectacular about it in the winter. Completely frozen over and 50 feet deep, this incredible trail is one of the most magical on this entire list – though we’d recommend taking a guided tour of this one.

Where: Directions here – Jasper National Park, AB
Distance from Calgary: 459 km
Distance from Edmonton: 404 km
Difficulty: Easy


Looking for something truly dazzling this season? Gear up for one of the most incredible winter experiences in Alberta. Located along the Columbia icefields this one-of-a-kind spot is an iconic tourist destination – and it’s pretty clear why. Surrounded by rich blue ice, the Athabasca caves are a frozen sight to behold – though, like Maligne, we’d recommend checking this one out with an experienced guide.

Where: Glacier Rd, Jasper, AB
Distance from Calgary: 310.5 km
Distance from Edmonton: 438.6 km
Difficulty: Moderate


Photo via Curiocity Group

Looking for something easy, yet impressive? We’d loosely consider this a ‘hike’ – but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular or worth taking this winter. Located in Canmore, those looking to get some fresh air without working up a sweat are encouraged to check this one out. It’s beginner-friendly, has stunning views and is only minutes away from restaurants and shops – so what’s not to love?

Where: Spur Line Trail, Canmore, AB
Distance from Calgary: 104.6 km
Distance from Edmonton: 391.0 km
Difficulty: Easy


Even in the wintertime, the Grotto Canyon Trail has something for everyone. The best part? This particular trail is easy so it’s great for kids as well as dogs, though –  veteran hikers do recommend appropriate footwear.

Where: Grotto Canyon Trail Parking Lot, Bighorn No. 8, AB
Distance from Calgary: 93.2 km
Distance from Edmonton: 380 km
Difficulty: Easy

And there you have it, folks! Where to go & what to bring on a winter hiking trip in Alberta, now get out there and enjoy!

The author was hosted by Mark’s.