Friday, January 12, 2018

5 Reasons Families LOVE Visiting Troll Falls in the Winter

Troll Falls at Kananaskis Village just might be the best winter hike near Calgary for families. It's one of the easiest winter hiking options for our area, and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser for all ages. We've done this outing dozens of times, and have never had a bad day.

Magical Ice at Troll Falls, Kananaskis 

5 Reasons Families LOVE Visiting Troll Falls in the Winter 

1. It's a blessedly short hike

Everything doubles in winter, so what would take an hour in summer, could take two hours in winter. And what might feel like a cute little stroll in summer, feels like an epic adventure in winter. Right??

Troll Falls is blessedly short with less than a 4 km round trip distance if you start from the Stoney Trailhead near Kananaskis Village.

To find the trailhead, just turn off Highway 40 for Kananaskis Village, go straight at the junction with Nakiska (as if heading up to the ski hill,) and then take your first right into the Stoney Parking lot.

For more information, visit the Alberta Parks website

This gorgeous set of ice falls can be reached in less than 4 km round trip

2. The trail is EASY!

The trail is wide, almost always packed down from tons of foot traffic, and easy to tow sleds on. Check out the photo below for a good idea of what to expect from the trail.

And while some people bring snowshoes, I have never ever seen reason for them on this trail. It is always packed down and I can't even fathom the amount of snow we'd have to get overnight to justify bothering with snowshoes. Just wear good winter boots (and bring ice cleats if you think the trail might be icy.)

The easy peasy trail to Troll Falls 

3. The frozen waterfalls!! 

This is the real reason you're going, right? It's not just so you can go for a stroll through the woods.

The falls are also fun to climb on, to crawl behind, and to play around. (Though I'd suggest bringing spikes or ice cleats if you plan to get too adventurous!)

He tried to climb them but didn't get too far

4. There are a variety of ways to access the falls 

The trail is often groomed and track set for cross country skiing when there's been enough snow. And it's an easy ski. Otherwise, some folks prefer to snowshoe (though most of us just hike to the falls in our boots.)

We've used Strider balance bikes with a ski attachment on this trail too (which was a lot of fun) and you could bring those scooters with skis on them as well. And then there are sleds, which are always fun on the hills.

Finally, this is a very popular fat bike trail! (Check out my story on fat biking to Troll Falls as a family.)

However you get to Troll Falls, it's always a magical experience!

5. It's close to Kananaskis Village 

The trailhead is very close to Kananaskis Village where you can go after your hike for a coffee inside the Delta Lodge. There's also a skating pond at the Village, a playground, and other walking trails.

And you can use all of the main amenities at the Delta Lodge as a day visitor. (So you don't have to be staying overnight to skate on the pond or to go inside to the coffee shop.)

Troll Falls is also close to Nakiska for those of you with seasons passes. You know the hill will be getting icy by 1:00pm so why not plan to ski in the morning, have lunch, and then go for a short hike in the afternoon!

Ski Nakiska in the morning, and hike to Troll Falls in the afternoon

And Bonus number 6:  Troll Falls is close to Calgary for a day trip! Seriously, from the West edge of the city, you can make it to the trailhead in less than an hour!

Never a bad day at Troll Falls

Resources and Additional Reading

Hiking with Kids is More Fun when there's Snow! (Family Winter Hiking Guide)

This winter hiking guide has information on all of our other favourite winter hikes near Calgary along with our favourite ice walks.

Behind the Falls

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