Bragg Creek Ski Trail Descriptions
A network of 50 kilometers of cross country ski trails are groomed and trackset between late November and late March, snowfalls permitting. The trails north of the parking lot are sunnier and offer more views, but are more prone to the affects of sun and winds. The south trails tend to hold the snow better and are often better groomed for track skiing. Most trails start from the southwest corner of the West Bragg Creek Day Use Area. Hostel Loop and the east half of Telephone Loop start from the centre of the north side of the parking lot.
Most trails are 10 to 15 feet wide, and groomed with classic tracks on both sides, with skate skiing on 5 km (East Crystal/Sundog loop). When skating, the recommended direction of travel is clockwise. Telephone Loop is a more rustic trail, is groomed less frequently, and only for the first 6 km on the east side. The remainder is either machine packed or skier tracked due to its narrow track.
For a complete description of trails, go to Kananaskis Country Trail descriptions:
East Crystal Line
Distance 2.8 km, Elevation 45 m, Rating Easy/Intermediate
East Crystal Line is the core access trail for a variety of loops south and east ofthe WBC parking lot. The initial 100m is an access route for all XC and all-season trail users. After turning east to parallel the access road, the wide, undulating trail is double track-set and groomed for ski skating. About .5km east are two junctions. The first leads onto the steep hill portion of Sundog Loop, the second is the connector for an easy 1.5km circuit via Bunny Loop. East Crystal Line continues east, then curves around the north end of Boundary Ridge and up to a higher junction with Sundog Loop.
Distance 3.8 km, Elevation 60 m, Rating Intermediate
Sundog is a fun loop on it’s own that also serves as the start/finish of longer loops, including the new skate ski loop. From the trailhead, go east through Bunny Loop, cross a bridge over Bragg Creek, go up a short hill then turn right at the first junction. Cross East Crystal Line and go up a daunting looking hill. The hill crests at a large meadow and then continues up to the end of East Crystal Line. The rest of Sundog Loop is wide, double trackset and groomed for skate skiing. Going south for .5km brings you to the Iron Springs Trail junction. Turn west to meet Elbow Trail and Loggers Loop junctions, then turn north for the curvy, rolling final leg of Sundog Loop.
Distance 5.3 km, Elevation 100 m, Rating Intermediate
East Crystal Line and most of Sundog is designated as a skate ski loop. These trails have been widened to allow for the grooming of a skate lane and two lanes of classic tracks.
Distance 4.3 km, Elevation 100 m, Rating Easy / Intermediate
Iron Springs is a lovely wide, rolling, winding trail that traverses along the west base of Boundary Ridge and Snagmore Hill. It starts at the southeast corner of Sundog Loop and connects near the south end of Elbow Trail. It includes sunny viewpoints, aspen groves and pine forest. It is usually combined with Sundog and Elbow to make a larger loop.
Distance 6.0 km, Elevation 120 m, Rating Intermediate
Elbow Trail connects Sundog Loop and the West Bragg Creek trail system to the Allen Bill trailhead at Highway #66. It runs along the shady east side of Ranger Ridge, before heading southwest to the Elbow River. Elbow Trail is usually combined with Iron Springs to make a loop that includes Sundog, Loggers or Crystal Line.
If you are starting from Highway #66, the new trailhead is on the north side of the highway, opposite Allen Bill parking lot. The first kilometer of trail from Highway #66 is a brand new replacement for the portion of trail that was lost in the June 2013 flood. The new trail winds across a gentle bench, passing through pine forest, aspen groves and meadows up to the junction with the Fullerton Loop.
Distance 1.9 km, Elevation 105 m, Rating Intermediate
Loggers Loop is a scenic, hilly semi-circle that connects West Crystal Line with the south edge of Sundog Loop. This is one of the best trails for snow quality. It allows you to make a bigger, more interesting ski out of any loop that combines Crystal Line and Sundog.
West/Middle Crystal Line Loops
Distance 3.6 km, Elevation 65 m, Rating Easy/Intermediate
West Crystal Line encircles a group of linked trails that allow you to make an amazing variety of loops south and west of the parking lot. Starting just south of Mountain Road, Lower West Crystal Line heads west and immediately provides the option of going around the easy Chickadee Loop or through the practice grid. After crossing Bragg Creek on a lovely new bridge, you come to the first of 4 connector junctions. Crystal Link #1 (intermediate) takes you up a short hill to Middle Crystal Line. Crystal Links #2 and #3 (easy) connects to Middle Crystal Line and then loops back to Lower West Crystal Line for an enjoyable, novice loop. Crystal Link #4 is a steep hill that makes an exciting intermediate loop with #1 and Middle Crystal Line. Lower West Crystal Line rolls up and down a few times to a major junction with Moose Connector, the new Mountain View trail and a bridge that marks the start of upper West Crystal Line. The upper trail features a several hills and brings you back east to Sundog Loop. Along the way, you have the option of connecting onto Loggers Loop, or Middle Crystal Line or any of the links in between.
Distance 1.5 km, Elevation 70 m, Rating Intermediate
Mountain View is the newest trail and it extends the XC ski network west from West Crystal Line. It curves through alternating forest groves and cut-block openings and goes up, over and around a set of small hills before connecting with Mountain Road. As the name implies, this trail provides some of the best views in the area.
Distance 1.3 km, Elevation 45 m, Rating Intermediate
Moose Connector is an important link between the south XC trails and the trails north of Mountain Road. The south half of Moose Connector is a lovely rolling link between West Crystal Line and Mountain Road. The hilly north half of Moose Connector takes you to Moose Loop and the west side of Telephone Loop.
Distance 2.6 km, Elevation 60 m, Rating Easy / Intermediate
The Mountain Road starts from a gate near the SW corner of the parking lot. It is a wide, gentle route that is shared by skiers, dog walkers and other users. (The adjacent Snowy Owl trail now provides a more appealing option for snowshoers and hikers.) Mountain Road is sunny, with good views, but it is also exposed to Chinook winds, so it may have the thinnest snowpack in the trail network. After 1.7km, the trail climbs a short hill to meet Moose Connector and then continues gently west for .9 km to the Mountain View junction.
Distance 6.3 km, Elevation 80 m, Rating Intermediate
The north half of Moose Connector meets Moose Loop at the top of a short hill. The east half of the Moose Loop begins with a short downhill S-curve, but is mainly gentle, with a few short, steep dips. It is quite open, with views across the broad moose marsh towards Moose Mountain. Because of the exposure to sun and wind, this half may have some areas of thin snow cover. At the north end of the loop is a picnic table, marking the start of the west half of the loop. The west loop is more forested, twisting and rolling. It is sheltered and holds the snow very well. After following the edge of a low escarpment, with views to the east, the trail descends to the marsh, before re-entering the pine forest for the final roller coaster portion back to Moose Connector.
Distance 3.7 km, Elevation 45 m, Rating Intermediate
Starting from the centre of the north side of the parking lot, the Hostel Loop begins with a short, steep uphill climb, which is shared with the Telephone Loop. It levels off and curves north to a junction 0.3 km from the start. The east half of the Hostel Loop passes through sunny aspen groves and several meadows, then curves north over rolling terrain to the second junction with the Telephone Loop. The west half of the loop includes a steady uphill and a long, sweeping downhill glide back to the first junction.
Distance 15.5 km, Elevation 230 m, Rating Intermediate / Difficult
Telephone Loop shares its start at the centre of the north side of the parking lot with Hostel Loop. Telephone Loop is only occasionally snowmobile packed and infrequently track-set, so it is really more of a backcountry ski tour. The East half of Telephone Loop cuts through the centre of Hostel Loop and the first 6 km was re-built this fall. It is wider than in past years but retains the character of becoming increasingly technical as it rolls up and down, curving in and out of side drainages through alternating pine, spruce and aspen forest. You’ll pass junctions with the Snowshoe Hare trail, Disconnect and Long Distance trail junctions. The north end of Telephone Loop follows a creek valley and climbs up a low hill for the west leg. After crossing another creek the trail climbs gently to a low pass, then descends steadily to the Reconnect trail junction. This is followed by a short traverse to the Braggin’ Rights trail junction and the Moose Loop and Moose Connector. Take Moose Connector over to Mountain Road junction. From here you have the option of the shorter return along Mountain Road, or a slightly longer ski along the rest of Moose Connector and Crystal Line trails.