The Crownest Pass is a prime Alberta snowmobile zone

This low-elevation mountain pass generates optimal sledding conditions

by Danielle Cameron

Window Mountain Trail is one of the must-ride areas near the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. - Photo courtesy Travel Alberta
Window Mountain Trail is one of the must-ride areas near the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. Photo courtesy Travel Alberta

The Crowsnest Pass is situated where the Southern Alberta foothills merge with the Canadian Rockies. The riding in this area is highly varied, so you can stick to the easy trails or embark on a more thrilling adventure through high alpine terrain.

There are five communities within the Crowsnest Pass: Bellevue, Blairmore, Coleman, Hillcrest and Frank. The people who live there are warm and welcoming to sledders, and there are quality restaurants, comfortable accommodations and fuel stations here for your convenience.

The Crow Snow Riders have a hard copy of their local trail map available at local gas stations, and you can find detailed directions to their main staging areas on the Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad’s website.

As for terrain, the Crow Snow Riders are responsible for maintaining 1,200 kilometres of trails, two warm-up shelters and several staging areas. While trail passes are not mandatory for riding here, purchasing a daily trail pass or an annual Alberta Snowmobile Association membership will support the local club and is greatly appreciated. You can buy these at Esso, Husky, BCMInn Coleman, The Kanata Inn and Top Gunn Automotive & Powersports.

The Window Mountain snowmobile area

Window Mountain boasts exceptional scenery and riding for all skill levels. You can access this photo-worthy zone via the Atlas staging area, northwest of Coleman.

The Lost Lake snowmobile area

To access Lost Lake, park at the York Creek staging area, located south of Coleman. Groomed trails will take you on an easy ride to the club’s south shelter, which is near the beginning of the Lost Lake Trail.

This area is rated intermediate, with lots of tree riding, hillclimbing and tight turns through abundant powder. When riding here (or anywhere in the Crowsnest Pass), always check the Avalanche Canada website before heading out, to ensure conditions are safe for sledding.

The Spoon Valley-Window Mountain snowmobile loop

The Crowsnest Pass has several interconnected circuits, and the Spoon Valley-Window Mountain loop is a blast. 

Instead of staging from the Atlas area (as you would to access Window Mountain), start at the McGillvray staging area instead, and follow the creekside trail up to Spoon Valley. You can go north to the cabin from here or finish the loop by going back through Window Mountain, ending in the Atlas area.

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