Winter Apres Snowshoe Tours Across Southern Alberta & British Columbia

Instead of vacationing somewhere warm this winter, why not embrace the season in all its snowy wonder? Travel into Southern Alberta and British Columbia and head out on a snowshoe tour!  And don’t forget those snow tires to get there because I’m taking you on an adventure!

snowshoeing Ptarmigan Lake, snowshoe tour Alberta

Snowshoeing across Ptarmigan Lake from Lake Louise, just one of the guided tours you can enjoy this winter in Southern Alberta

You’ll find snowshoe trails near every mountain town across Southern Alberta and British Columbia. However, you’ll often need to sign up for a guided tour to gain access to remote areas. One of my favourite places to snowshoe requires a gondola and a chairlift ride to reach a beautiful backcountry lake that few people ever get to see in winter.

Many guided snowshoe companies are also starting to include fine dining apres experiences to set their tours apart from others on the market. Night hikes, hot chocolate under the stars, and wildlife tracking are just some of the other experiences you can enjoy when you sign up for a hike with a local guide.

Snowshoers at Sunshine Meadows, Banff

Guided tours take you to some of the most incredible destinations ( Photo: Snowshoeing at Sunshine Meadows in Banff National Park)

Below are some of the best of the guided apres snowshoeing tours you’ll find in Southern Alberta and British Columbia. I have personally participated in several of the tours and have visited every destination featured here

1. Moonlit Snowshoe & Fine Dining Experience at Castle Mountain Resort, Southern Alberta

Castle Mountain Resort is located 30 minutes south of Pincher Creek (2 hours north of the Roosville border crossing in Northern Montana).

We interviewed Cole Fawcett, Sales & Marketing Manager for Castle Mountain Resort, and asked him what draws people to the resort. He said, “It’s usually as a result of the wonderful skiing and snowboarding that we have on offer. Our resort is home to the most snow of any resort in Alberta, on an annual basis.”

Snowshoers posing on snowshoe tour at Castle Mountain Resort, Alberta

Moonlit Snowshoe Tours for all levels of fitness at Castle Mountain Resort (Credit: Castle Mountain Resort/ Nick Thornton)

Hikers might wonder why they should visit a ski resort for a quality snowshoe experience. One perk that Fawcett points out is because they are a ski/snowboard resort, they’re fortunate enough to make use of one of their chairlifts as part of the snowshoe experience. Thus, the snowshoeing portion of the tour is predominantly downhill, all the way back to their base area.

We asked what makes Castle Mountain’s Moonlit Snowshoe & Fine Dining Experience unique compared to other moonlight snowshoe tours. Fawcett responded that because of the lift-accessed hiking, the experience is quite accessible, particularly if you have an average to a below-average level of fitness or if you’re new to snowshoeing. He also describes the “main event” as the gourmet meal included with the tour.

Snowshoers on top of the mountain, Castle Mountain Resort tour in Alberta

Lift accessed hiking for all abilities at Castle Mountain Resort (Credit: Castle Mountain Resort/Nick Thornton)

What Does The Tour Entail?

Guests ride up the Huckleberry Chair as lifts are closing and just before 4:00 pm. Then, they enjoy a 90 minute to 2-hour hike before returning to the base area. Here, take a short break to visit your accommodations and change clothing before the main event; the food! Dinner starts at 7:00 pm and each course is paired with a different wine. For this reason alone, it’s recommended that you book accommodations at the resort for the night.

When Is The Moonlit Snowshoe & Fine Dining Tour Offered?

This snowshoe tour in southern Alberta is an exclusive event, and the resort offers only 3 – 4 of these experiences per year. Two tours remain this year on February 14 and March 13, so grab your significant other, adult family members, or friends for these events. Also, every menu is different for each experience throughout the year. So, if you live in Southern Alberta, you could sign up for multiple tours a season and always have a unique experience.

delicious food at Castle Mountain Resort

A gourmet dining experience at Castle Mountain Resort (Credit: Castle Mountain Resort/ Nick Thornton)

Is There A Minimum Age For The Moonlit Snowshoe & Fine Dining Tour?

There is no minimum age for the Moonlit tour, but the majority of guests are 18 + due to the nature and timing of the event. Families would want to check out Castle Mountain’s Last Tracks Snowshoe Tour, a regularly scheduled tour at 2:30 pm on Saturdays. The Last Tracks Tour includes a food and beverage credit in the resort’s family-friendly, T-Bar Pub.

Do I Need My Own Equipment?

On all snowshoe tours, guests are welcome to bring their snowshoeing equipment or rent equipment from the resort. The resort also provides headlamps for all guests on the Moonlit Tour as you’re often returning to the base area in the dark.

How Do I Sign Up?

To reserve your space on the Moonlit Snowshoe & Fine Dining Experience tour, visit the Castle Mountain Resort website. You don’t want to miss this gourmet snowshoe tour in southern Alberta!

Tanya's family at Castle Mountain Resort, Alberta

Families love everything about Castle Mountain Ski Resort

What Recommendations Are There For Other Activities?

Castle Mountain Resort is surrounded by a newly christened provincial park – the Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Provincial Park. There is an abundance of trails located in this park for guests to enjoy, although they don’t involve the convenience of a chairlift!

Aside from this, the resort would recommend you check out their fantastic skiing, and I personally suggest one of their scenic snowcat tours– something I enjoyed on a ski trip to Castle Mountain last winter. No ski experience is required for the snowcat tours.

There are also a variety of accommodations within the base area, many of which are featured at www.skicastle.ca/lodging. Guests can choose from a budget, dorm-style accommodation, hotel accommodation, all the way to lavish vacation homes that can accommodate up to a dozen guests.

Snowcat Ski Tour at Castle Mountain Resort

Castle Mountain Snowcat Tours (no ski experience required)

2. Island Lake Lodge Winter Lunch and Snow Cat Ride, Fernie, British Columbia

If you’re in southern Alberta, I highly recommend hopping over the border into British Columbia. Here, you’ll arrive at the small mountain town of Fernie on the Powder Highway, an appropriately named circle route through the Kootenay Rockies of British Columbia.

Most people visit Fernie for the legendary skiing at Fernie Alpine Resort. However, we spent a couple of days here last winter exploring off the resort and enjoyed touring around the area at a slower pace. Our favourite discovery was the Winter Lunch & Snowcat Ride at Island Lake Lodge.

What Does The Tour Entail?

On the Winter Lunch & Snowcat Ride, we got to ride a snowcat into a backcountry lodge for lunch. Bring your snowshoes for a hike around the lake before your meal, and then enjoy your ride back down with full bellies and big smiles on your faces. Alternately, we also brought our cross-country skis up with us to the lodge so that we could ski back down on the groomed Nordic trails. I’m never one to turn down an opportunity for a great multi-sport day after all.

Island Lake Lodge, snowshoers posing, British Columbia

Snowshoeing around Island Lake (Credit: Island Lake Lodge/Mike McPhee)

When Is The Winter Lunch & Snowcat Ride Offered?

The Winter Lunch and Snowcat Ride are available throughout the winter season Thursdays – Sundays. The cost is $89 per person, which includes the snowcat ride and a gourmet 2-course lunch in the restaurant. You’ll be able to order off a menu with a few different selections that even my child was happy eating. Children 3-12 also receive a 50% discount, and children younger than this are free.

Is There A Minimum Age?

No, this snowshoe tour in British Columbia is open to any age, making this tour an excellent choice for families. Plus, you can’t beat the child discounts listed above!

Do I Need To Bring My Own Equipment?

Snowshoe rentals are available for $20 if you don’t have your own. Additionally, a full spa menu is available for an additional charge and advance booking. Note that the snowshoeing part of the tour is done on your own and not a guided hike. The lake is located very close to the lodge, though, so a guide is not really necessary.

snowcat and snowshoes at Island Lake Lodge, BC

Island Lake Lodge Snowcat Ride

How Do I Sign Up?

Snowcats depart at 10:30, and 11:45 am with advanced reservations required. Visit the Island Lake Lodge website for complete information and contact details.

What Recommendations Are There For Other Activities?

Visit the Fernie Tourism website for a complete list of winter activities to enjoy in the area, ranging from Nordic skiing to fat biking, snowshoeing around the town, or ice skating. You’ll also find a list of diverse accommodations from tiny homes to camping yurts, ski-in/out condos at the alpine resort or hotels in the town.

two people hugging on snowshoes looking at scenery, Island Lake Lodge

The scenery is always spectacular at Island Lake Lodge (Credit: Island Lake Lodge/Mike McPhee)

3. Interpretive Snowshoe Tours in the Selkirk Mountains at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia

Heading north on the Powder Highway, you’ll enjoy endless opportunities for recreation in the East Kootenay Rockies. Make your way towards the Town of Golden, another adventure mecca in British Columbia.

Heading west from Golden, you’ll arrive in the City of Revelstoke, where fans of “big mountain skiing” travel to play at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. This resort has the longest lift-accessed vertical of any resort in North America. It sits at 1,713 metres (5,620 ft) along with an average snowfall of 10.5 metres (34.4 ft.)

Read More: Chasing Winter Adventure in the East Kootenay Rockies of British Columbia

Revelstoke Mountain Resort scenery, British Columbia

Hiking above the clouds in a winter wonderland of frozen trees at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

We were here a couple of weeks ago for a ski vacation, and I was awestruck by the scenery from the top of the mountain, the frosted trees covering the slopes, and the experience of skiing above the clouds.

Fortunately, for non-skiers, it’s possible to get a very similar experience. You can hike above the clouds through a wonderland of frozen trees, thanks to the guided tours offered by Snowshoe Pete and The Revelstoke Snowshoe Company.

I interviewed Peter Dixon, owner of the Revelstoke Snowshoe Company, and asked him what draws hikers to this major ski resort. He responded that snowshoeing is a unique way to experience the winter landscape. It’s also a great way to take a break from skiing at the resort for those guests who have traveled to Revelstoke for several days.

The gondola gives access to forests that would otherwise be much harder for the average winter hiker to access. I know for myself, I could never climb up 1,170 vertical metres (3,839 vertical feet) in winter to reach the elevation where the snowshoe tours begin at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Without a gondola, most of us would never be able to enjoy a hiking experience like this.

Dixon also says there’s security in knowing that you’re hiking at a resort within a boundary that’s been checked for safety.

snowshoers near ski lift on snowshoe tour at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia

Snowshoe tours at Revelstoke Mountain Resort (Credit: William Eaton/Revelstoke Snowshoe Company)

What Does The Tour Entail?

Every tour is different, catering to a wide range of skills and fitness levels. Dixon and his team are continually making new routes, and breaking trail is typical with the amount of snow they get at the resort.

For apres lovers, Revelstoke offers an Evening Snowshoe Tour- Hot Chocolate Bar experience. Their Valentine’s Day Tour is coming up, which includes a deluxe hot chocolate bar in the forest. (Think, a bar carved out of snow in the middle of the forest serving hot chocolate with gourmet toppings.)

When Is The Tour Offered?

The Evening Snowshoe Tour- Hot Chocolate Bar departs at 5:30 each day from Sutton Place at the resort. The Evening Snowshoe Tour typically lasts 1.5 hours. The day snowshoe tours begin at 12:45 pm each day from Guest Services at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort and last 2.5 to 3 hours.

The day tours also run from the top of the gondola, where you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the valley and surrounding mountain ranges.  Being in the powder capital makes for pretty magnificent forests in the subalpine, as I discovered myself on my recent trip to Revelstoke. Possible activities on the tours include wildlife tracking (grouse, snowshoe hares, pine martens, etc.) and optional snowshoe cliff jumping.

snowshoeing tour at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia

Looking down on the Columbia Valley from the top of Revelstoke Mountain Resort (Credit: Revelstoke Snowshoe Company)

Is There A Minimum Age?

All ages are welcome on these tours, and kids 12 and under are free.

Do I Need To Bring My Own Equipment?

The Evening Snowshoe Tour- Hot Chocolate Bar includes a snowshoe rental as well as a headlamp to help navigate. The daily tours include a snowshoe rental and resort access (lift ticket). They also have hiking poles should people require or baby packs for families with little ones.

How Do I Sign Up?

They request that visitors try to book at least one day in advance though they will try to accommodate last-minute requests.

For more information and to reserve your spot, please visit the Revelstoke Snowshoe Company’s website, where you’ll find details on pricing as well.

snowshoers out on the trail at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia

Gondola-accessed snowshoeing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

What Recommendations Are There For Other Activities?

I highly recommend spending at least one day at the resort skiing or snowboarding if you enjoy downhill sports. Other area activities include dog sledding, snowshoeing or Nordic skiing on the Mount MacPherson Trails outside the city, fat biking, or visiting nearby hot springs.

Additionally, you can’t visit Revelstoke without taking a walk around the shops and restaurants downtown. I personally recommend the Taco Club or Chubby Funsters, both great restaurants I’ve recently eaten at in the area. The Village Idiot also comes highly recommended for an après-ski or snowshoe experience.

Visit the Tourism Revelstoke website for a complete guide to winter activities and dining. You’ll also find a full list of options for accommodations on their website.

Peter Dixon recommends staying at his own “Snowshoe Pete’s Mountain Retreat” – Now I know where I’m staying next winter when we return to Revelstoke.

snowshoeing with a blue sky at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Bluebird days are magical at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

4. Snowshoeing on Top of the World at Sunshine Meadows, Banff National Park

Moving back to Alberta, we come to one of my favourite snowshoe tours at Sunshine Village Ski Resort in Banff National Park.

Guides with White Mountain Adventures lead you through pristine powder into Sunshine Meadows and to a small island in the middle of backcountry Rock Isle Lake.

Highlights include amazing fresh deep powder (every time) and an authentic backcountry experience that you wouldn’t be doing without a guide. You also receive a gondola and chairlift ride to the top of Standish Mountain at the ski resort (saving yourself hours of uphill hiking), views of Mt. Assiniboine, Canada’s “Matterhorn mountain,” and crossing the Continental Divide into British Columbia. The tour also includes hot chocolate and cookies once you reach the lake.

There is also an optional ending to finish the tour with a visit to Sunshine Mountain Lodge, where you’ll be treated to traditional Swiss-style cheese fondue. (Which I definitely recommend!!)

Read More:
Snowshoe & Ski Vacations For The Whole Family At Sunshine Village, Alberta

snowshoeing tour at Sunshine Village, Alberta

Snowshoeing at Sunshine Village with White Mountain Adventures

What Does The Tour Entail?

While you’ll be starting your adventure at a ski resort, you’ll be leaving the resort area boundary (why you need a guide) and heading off into backcountry Banff on this tour. Directly from the website: “Joining this trip means being prepared for any kind of weather because high alpine weather can be extreme and may be completely different than in town weather.”

This tour is a snowshoe tour where you’ll want to dress as if you were going downhill skiing. I’d recommend bringing snow pants, jacket, goggles, waterproof mitts or gloves, something to cover your head and face. You’ll also want warm winter boots meant for deep powder and you’ll be using the company’s gigantic snowshoes (extra-long in length for maximum flotation.)

I’ve done this tour twice now and I love the authentic nature of it. There are no cute groomed trails on this adventure. Directly from the White Mountain Adventures website: “Days may be beautiful with the sun sparkling off of fresh snow or they may be very snowy with near whiteout conditions. On the beautiful days, you’ll finish with memories of a sea of mountains in all directions. On days when the weather is “not so good” as we like to say, you’ll head home with the sense of exhilaration and accomplishment that comes from real experience – a real mountain winter day in Banff National Park!”

Read More: Snowshoeing Dress Code: What Clothing To Wear

Snowshoeing Sunshine Meadows, Banff, Alberta

Hiking across Rock Isle Lake, Sunshine Meadows, Banff

When Is This Tour Offered?

The Snowshoeing On Top Of The World At Sunshine Meadows tour is offered daily from mid-November to mid-April. Please book your visit in advance. Private booking is also available seven days a week.

Is There A Minimum Age?

This tour is rated as moderate to strenuous and is not suitable for children under 12 years old.

Do I Need To Bring My Own Equipment?

Each tour includes a professional hiking guide, transportation from Banff, Sunshine Village gondola and chairlift ticket, snowshoes, trekking poles, hot chocolate & snacks. Furthermore, fondue can be added at an extra cost.

How Do I Sign Up?

You can reserve your spot on this backcountry tour by calling the White Mountain Office directly at 403-760-4403. Complete information about this tour is on the White Mountain Adventures website. Don’t miss your opportunity to explore the backcountry on this unique snowshoe tour in British Columbia!

cheese fondue at Sunshine Mountain Lodge, BC

Apres-hike Fondue at Sunshine Mountain Lodge

What Recommendations Are There For Other Activities?

Please visit the Banff Lake Louise Tourism website if planning a trip to Banff National Park. Options for entertainment and outdoor pursuits here are endless year-round. Personal recommendations include visiting the Banff Hot Springs or hiking up Sulphur Mountain in the Town of Banff for a free ride down on the gondola. Additionally, you can hike along the lakeshore of Lake Minnewanka, or travel to Lake Louise to skate on one of the world’s most beautiful outdoor rinks.

There is also a complete list of accommodations on the tourism website.

Read More: A Winter Explorer’s Guide To The Best of Banff National Park

Posing on the gondola, Banff, Alberta

Hiking up Sulphur Mountain is an excellent activity in Banff with a free ride down on the gondola

5. Historic Night & Scenic Snowshoe Tours at Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff National Park

You can’t visit Banff National Park without spending time at Lake Louise, and you don’t have to be a skier to have fun in this winter wonderland. My son and I enjoyed a family-friendly snowshoe tour at the Lake Louise Ski Resort, followed by an hour of playing in the resort tube park.

Other highlights of a winter weekend at Lake Louise for my family usually include cross-country skiing on the trails around the lake or down at the village, ice skating on the lake, and playing in gigantic mounds of snow surrounding the lakeshore. Furthermore, there’s even a sledding hill beside the Chateau Lake Louise resort.

A few snowshoe tours to add to your list are the Scenic Snowshoe Tour for the beginner and apres lover or the Winter Night Snowshoe Tour for the night owl.

Read More:  Winter Activity Guide to the Best of Lake Louise, Banff National Park.

backcountry cabin at Lake Louise Ski Resort, AB

Guided Snowshoe Tours at the Lake Louise Ski Resort

What Does The Tour Entail?

There are several tours to choose from depending on the length of outing you want, the degree of effort you want to expend, and whether you have children joining you.

For example, for those interested in snowshoeing at night, check out the Winter Night Snowshoe Tour. Explore the winter forest while snowshoeing under the stars for approximately 1.5 hours.

If you’re feeling more apres, the Scenic Snowshoe Tour takes you on the gondola to the top of the mountain to explore the jaw-dropping scenery. After snowshoeing with your guide, take a break for some snacks and hot chocolate. This tour is an easy trek suited for all ability levels and is perfect for beginners. Additionally, the entire tour lasts about 2 hours.

When Is The Tour Offered?

The Winter Night Snowshoe Tour is available daily and leaves at 6 pm, with dates through early March. Likewise, the Scenic Snowshoe Tour operates at 10 am, 12 pm and 2 pm through May, or as conditions allow.

Is There A Minimum Age?

The tour is open to anyone of all ages. However, the Winter Night Snowshoe Tour is a moderate difficulty level, so it may not be best for young children. If you are traveling with kids, try the Winter Wildlife Snowshoe Tour. On this tour, you can explore the forest plant and animal life and escape the crowds.

Do I Need To Bring My Own Equipment?

Both tours include a snowshoe rental with the price. The Winter Night Snowshoe Tour includes a headlamp rental and a transfer back to your accommodation if needed. Additionally, the Scenic Snowshoe Tour includes a lift ticket up the gondola. Discounted prices are available if you already have a lift ticket.

How Do I Sign Up?

All snowshoe tours can be booked through the Lake Louise Resort website. Reservations must be made by 5 pm 48 hours before your visit.

Wapta Falls, Yoho National Park

Wapta Falls is just one of the fantastic places you can visit on a full-day snowshoe tour from Lake Louise

What Recommendations Are There For Other Activities?

Please visit the Banff Lake Louise Tourism website if planning a trip to Lake Louise. There are several snowshoe trails around the lake, along with a beautiful skating rink. Nordic skiing is also a popular activity here along with dog sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Furthermore, you can explore nearby Yoho National Park through the Half or Full Day Banff and Yoho Snowshoe Tours. The resort has four options for this one, including guided hikes around the Lake Louise area or into Yoho National Park.  My choice though, would be Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park!

Read More: Winter Guide To Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Skoki Lodge, Alberta

Snowshoe into Skoki Lodge for a night on a guided tour from Lake Louise

For affordable accommodations, I recommend checking out the Lake Louise Alpine Centre, a modern hostel with private rooms and shared living/cooking space.

Or, if up for an overnight backcountry lodge experience, you can take the Skoki Lodge Guided Overnight Tour. Learn about the history of Skoki and the natural landscape before spending the night at the lodge.

Read More: In Search of the Ultimate Backcountry Ski Lodge (On Snowshoes)

Go On A Snowshoe Tour!

Guided apres and moonlight snowshoe tours across British Columbia and Alberta are an excellent option for a vacation close to home (if you’re in the Rockies). Or, if vacationing from around the globe, a tour is an awe-inspiring experience for your trip to the area!

What’s your favorite snowshoe tour? Have you tried any of the tours mentioned above? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Read Next:
Beyond Downhill Skiing: Winter Fun At Resorts In The Canadian Rockies
Top Winter Hiking Trails In The Canadian Rockies

ice skating on Lake Louise, Alberta

Ice skating on Lake Louise  is a must-do activity when in Banff in winter

Disclaimer: All photos are the author’s unless otherwise credited. The author has worked with many of these resorts for hosted tours and accommodations. All opinions are that of the author.

About the author

Tanya Koob

Tanya Koob

I am the mom of a spunky 10-year-old boy and I live in Calgary, Canada at the doorstep to the fabulous Rocky Mountains. Our family makes it a priority to get out to the mountains most weekends for big adventures from hiking, camping, biking, and paddling in summer to skiing and snowshoeing in winter. I am the author of the blog, Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies, www.rockiesfamilyadventures.com.

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