Pipestone, Lake Louise is a cross country skier’s paradise with varied terrain, gorgeous views, and great snow. Best suited for intermediate-level skiers due to the narrow and rolling trails, it is definitely worth the drive!
Pipestone has a fantastic network of nordic ski trails just past Lake Louise (next exit) with rolling terrain, ponds, mountain views, and pioneer cabins. It’s the perfect place to ski once you’ve mastered the easy cross country ski trails at Lake Louise. You can make your day as short or long as you like as several trails connect to each other. I recommend skiing Pipestone first, then cooling down on the green trails (Hector, Drummond, and Merlin). If you’d like to see the old pioneer cabins, they are along Merlin Trail.
Pipestone Loop (13.3 kilometres) should be skied in a counter clockwise direction as it is narrow and winding. There are a few fast and twisty hills and you wouldn’t want to be skiing up when someone’s whipping down the hill! The first part of Pipestone is mostly steady climbing in the trees, but eventually you cross a meadow and shortly after, come to Pipestone Pond. The pond makes a good snack spot as there is plenty of space off the trail for packs and skis. From here, you have many options, but we chose to finish off Pipestone Loop before hitting the other trails.
Carrying on, you soon get to a fun downhill section. Give a holler as you approach corners, so folks ahead of you can double pole or move to the side. One of my ski buddies sacrificed himself and dove into a snowbank rather than take out a timid skier parked in the middle of the hill (don’t do that!). Luckily everyone was ok!
After a thrilling ride to the bottom of Pipestone, we headed back up to the pond via Hector Trail. It was a steady, but gentle climb (95 m over 3 km). We then skirted the lower edge of the pond and took Drummond (2.7 km) down to Mud Lake. The hill down to Mud Lake is not as bad as it looks from the top, and is totally worth the short climb on the way back! The view from Mud Lake was amazing!!
From here, it’s only a couple kilometres back to the car via Pipestone Trail, or you can do another loop like we did (Drummond – Pipestone Pond – Pipestone). I had such a great day, I can’t wait to ski here again!
Where do you like to nordic ski near Lake Louise?
Know Before You Go
When accessing Pipestone’s trail network, please close the wildlife gate behind you to keep wildlife off the highway and railway tracks.
For the Banff-Lake Louise Trail Report, please visit Parks Canada.
Weather conditions change rapidly in the mountains. Always carry The Ten Essentials.
Directions From Calgary
Take Hwy 1 west past the Lake Louise turnoff. Take the next right at “Pipestone Trail Head”. Click here for the Google pin.
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- What to Look For When Buying Cross Country Skis