For a fun snowshoe outing, combine parts of Snowy Owl Trail and West Crystal Line to make a loop. This 2.7 kilometre snowshoeing route is suitable for kids and first-time snowshoers, and is located only ten minutes from the hamlet of Bragg Creek.
Snowy Owl / West Crystal Line Snowshoe Loop
The trailhead is located just west of the Trails Centre Building at West Bragg Creek. Look for an orange snowshoe marker (it’s an actual snowshoe) next to Mountain Road and follow the trail west. Snowy Owl Trail parallels Mountain Road and offers nice views of Moose Mountain. Bragg Creek is the creek meandering to your left. Watch for thin ice and open water in times of warm weather (it’s usually pretty shallow but if the kids get wet, they’ll get cold!). At 1.3 kilometres, you reach a bridge with a picnic table near it; the perfect snack spot!
Across the trail from the picnic table is the Snowy Shortcut Trail. Take Snowy Shortcut trail south, and climb a small hill through the trees to meet up with West Crystal Line. At the junction, turn left to return to the parking lot. Follow the orange snowshoe trail markers.
Snowy Owl / West Crystal Line Loop at a Glance
Route: For the best views, take Snowy Owl Trail west to the blue bridge, go south on Snowy Shortcut, then east on West Crystal Line. Going counter clockwise allows you to have mountain views as you travel west. See map below.
Distance: 2.7 km loop
Elevation gain: Minimal. Small hill on Snowy Shortcut.
Amenities: There are picnic tables, a heated warming hut (“Trails Centre Building”) with AED and cellular hotspot for placing emergency calls, and outhouses near the parking lot.
West Bragg Creek Trails Map
Image credit: Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association
Know Before You Go
For current conditions, check the Alberta Parks | West Bragg Creek Trail Report.
This is a multi-use trail, so watch for bikes and horses. Hikers/snowshoers yield to horses.
Where the trail is shared with skiers, please snowshoe beside the cross country ski tracks (not on them).
While some parts of West Bragg Creek are designated offleash areas, for the safety of your dog and other trail users, you are advised to keep your dog on a leash. Bears, cougars, and coyotes frequent this area.
What to Bring
For a complete snowshoeing pack list, read our story: Snowshoeing Gear List.
Directions to West Bragg Creek from Calgary: Take Highway 1 or Highway 8 west, then take Highway 22 south to Bragg Creek. Turn right onto Balsam Avenue. At the T-intersection, turn left onto West Bragg Creek Road. Stay on West Bragg Creek Road for 8.9 kilometres and park in the lot closest to the Trails Centre Building.
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