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Two people having fun on cross country skis on the Great Divide Trail at Lake Louise
Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Ski the Great Divide Trail

Mention the Great Divide Trail to a Banff or Lake Louise local and you might get a blank stare. Ask them about “the old 1A Highway” and they’ll instantly recommend you get on your skis for this approachable trail. This old road was once the route to Lake Louise. It feels more like wilderness than roadway now, but the open pathway makes for a great cross-country ski trail. All winter long it’s double trackset (with a skating lane) for 8 km down to the BC and Alberta border that it’s named after.

Good To Know

Difficulty
Easy
Duration
1-3 hrs or 3-6 hrs
When
Nov - Apr

The Experience

  • Length: 20 km return
  • Elevation gain: 60 m loss
  • Trailhead: Great Divide Trailhead
  • Double trackset with skating lane

Location

Distance from Banff:
58km
Distance from Lake Louise:
2km

Parking

Limited parking is available at the Great Divide trailhead. Plan to arrive early and come prepared with an alternative plan in case parking is full.

When to go

Operating Dates

MonthOperating Status
JanOpen
FebOpen
MarOpen
AprOpen
MayClosed
JunClosed
JulClosed
AugClosed
SepClosed
OctClosed
NovOpen
DecOpen

Dates can vary based on conditions

Local Tips

  • Check trail conditions with Parks Canada before heading out to see when the trail was last groomed and trackset.

  • This trail is also used by dogsled tours, who kick up a lively and very entertaining fuss before setting out for their morning tours.

  • Park a car 15 minutes west of Lake Louise at Lake O’Hara and ski an extra 3 km to make this a downhill one-way trip.

  • New to cross-country skiing? Sign up for a lesson to learn the ropes.

Useful Links

Let's do this

Cross-country ski rentals available from

Banff Adventures

Activity & Tour Providers
See details about Banff Adventures

Snowtips-Bactrax Ski & Bike Rental

Equipment Rentals
See details about Snowtips-Bactrax Ski & Bike Rental

Ultimate Sports

Sporting Goods & Apparel
See details about Ultimate Sports

Chateau Ski & Snow

Sporting Goods & Apparel
See details about Chateau Ski & Snow

Chateau Mountain Sports

Sporting Goods & Apparel
See details about Chateau Mountain Sports

Wilson Mountain Sports

Equipment Rentals
See details about Wilson Mountain Sports