Jura Creek [map]
Trail Length: 7km (We only did 2 km return and were out <1 hr)
Elevation Gain: 262m
Age Appropriate: 5+ (My 3 year old wasn’t interested in snow shoes and the technical waterfalls made pulling him in a sled very tricky)
When I need inspiration for outdoor activities that are kid-friendly and easily accessible from Calgary, I have a few go-to resources: the book Take a Hike With Your Children, and Tanya Koob’s Family Adventures In The Canadian Rockies. Both are filled with great ideas for things to do with kids in the mountains, no matter the season.
Sports Rent is an easy spot to grab gear for a trek into the mountains. They’re in Montgomery on the Trans Canada highway, meaning you’re likely to pass the store on the way out of town and the way back home. Snowshoes are $12 a day, and they have sizes for kids and adults. I grabbed 3 pairs and headed out with the boys.
Jura Creek is easy to get to from Hwy 1A [map] and, like Grotto Canyon, it’s one of those out and back hikes that you can make as long, or as short, as you’d like depending on the enthusiasm of your charges.
Park at the Graymont plant just east of Exshaw, cross the road and follow the trail for a few hundred metres to the bed of Jura Creek.
After a rather warm winter, we had to carry our snow shoes basically to the mouth of the canyon, most of the trail is already dirty and muddy. Still, once we strapped on the shoes, the boys were eager to scamper over the frozen creek and climb up water falls.
We didn’t make it too far, some of the traverses were a little complex for one dad and two young kids, and with the diminished snow it made things very icy. According to Hike Alberta, the entire length of the Jura Creek canyon makes a 7k hike with just a few hundred metres of elevation gain. We didn’t last that long.
It was my first snowshoe adventure in the Rockies, it was the first time ever snowshoeing for my boys, and we all promised we’d do it again soon.