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Group of friends cross-country skiing Spray Loop in Banff National Park
Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Ski the Spray Loop

Whether it’s the close proximity to town or the scenic riverside Nordic ski trail, the Spray River Loop is a time-honoured local favourite. The river often flows well into the winter season, and the clear ice that builds up along the shore makes for some spectacular photographs.

The trail is double trackset on the east side of the river and then turns to single tracks on the return part of the loop. The slightly higher elevation on this side opens up amazing views of the river below and the “castle in the Rockies” across the valley.

Good To Know

Difficulty
Easy
Duration
1-3 hrs
When
Dec - Mar

The Experience

  • Length: 14 km loop
  • Elevation gain: 105 m
  • Trailhead: Spray River West Trailhead
  • Double trackset with skating lane and then single trackset

Location

Distance from Banff:
2km
Distance from Lake Louise:
60km

Parking

There is a small parking lot at the trailhead located beyond the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel on Spray Ave.

When to go

Operating Dates

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

Dates can vary based on conditions

Local Tips

  • It’s best to keep moving and avoid stopping in the avalanche paths that cross the river 4.5-5 km from the trailhead.

  • Drop into the cozy Waldhaus restaurant for a hot drink after your ski.

  • To really earn your lunch, extend your day by starting further east in Kananaskis and coming all the way down the Goat Creek trail to ski into Banff.

  • 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