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4 Beautiful Winter Hikes for Families Around Calgary

Child being pulled on red sled with mountains in the background

The weather outside is getting colder and mountains are slowly being capped by snow. The cold weather and extra layers to go outside and explore with kids can be a daunting task. It is not always easy convincing toddlers and preschoolers to keep their mitts on.

It is worth the struggle. Trust me.

The trails turn into a beautiful winter wonderland. For children, this means entering the land of “Frozen”. Hot chocolate by the fireplace is also so much more enjoyable after a day of exploring in the cold.

These 4 hikes, located in the Born to be Adventurous “Hiking Guide for Families”, are perfect winter hikes for everyone to enjoy. They are rated for little kids and range from easy to difficult for little feet. This means that everyone from toddlers to grandparents can find a winter hike to enjoy around Calgary.

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Tips for Winter Hiking with Kids

Bring along Ice Cleats in the backpack in case the trail gets slippery.

Plan to take a little longer finishing the trail as hiking in the snow can be a little more challenging for kids.

Be prepared and consider using some of these 7 hiking tips for hiking in the winter with kids.

4 Beautiful Winter Hikes for Families Near Calgary

Troll Falls

Troll Falls is an easy 2.4 km hike with minimal elevation located in the stunning Kananaskis area. In the winter, Troll Falls turns into a natural frozen masterpiece. Use caution when exploring the falls as it is very slippery, and pieces of ice can break off from above. Park at the Troll Falls Day Use area. The trail starts passed the end of the parking lot on the left side. 

If the trail is packed down with snow in the winter, then consider bringing a sled to pull the kids when they get tired of hiking.  Even though the downhills are not too long or steep, it is best to get off the sled during the downhills to avoid accidently hitting a tree or another hiker. 

Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon is a popular winter hike because it leads to two beautiful frozen waterfalls. Choose to adventure only to the lower falls (an easy 2.4 km round trip with minimal elevation) or hike all the way to the Upper Falls (a challenging 5 km round trip and 120 m elevation).

The heavily trafficked trail starts on a catwalk along the canyon wall and is an enjoyable hike for all ages. The Upper Falls is spectacular in size with a height of 100 ft while the Lower Falls can be viewed through a cave. Use caution when travelling through the cave as can be very slippery.

Grotto Canyon

Grotto Canyon Trail is even more spectacular in the winter than it is in the summer because the small waterfalls turn into large frozen falls.

The trail covers 4.2 km and over 220 m of elevation making it more challenging for little kids. The first part of the hike is along a narrow trail before turning up to walk along the creek bed.

See if you can spot the pictographs part way up the canyon.

The 3 impressive frozen waterfalls called His, Hers and Grotto Falls are found at the end of the hike. Ice cleats are necessary to avoid slipping.

Fenland Trail

Fenland Trail is an easy 2.5 km loop just outside the city of Banff. Fenland Trail has no elevation but still offers beautiful mountain views.

Perfect for little feet, it is the easiest of the 4 hikes mentioned in this post and perfect for pulling a sled if the snow is packed down.

After following the trail through a white spruce forest, the hike meets up with Forty Mile Creek before looping back to the parking lot. 

Looking for More?

Winters are long in Alberta, don’t let the cold weather trap you indoors! Check out these posts for even more ideas to get outside and enjoy Alberta winters:

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Annika Mang is the mother of two adventurous little girls and the creator of the platform Born to be Adventurous and the @BorntobeAdventurousMamas Facebook groups. Annika, her husband and two kids can often be found hiking, climbing, stand up paddle boarding and snowboarding in the mountains. You can follow their adventures on her website, on Instagram @borntobeadventurous  and on Facebook @BorntobeAdventurous.