Until this weekend, I’d never actually been out to the West Bragg Creek Recreation Area but I certainly plan to return (hopefully fairly often) this winter because the cross-country skiing there is pretty nice. It is about 45 minutes from my house so you can basically be skiing within an hour of loading the car. The parking area was really busy when we arrived just after noon but we managed to find a spot in the actual lot. I noticed that when we left around 2:30 pm the parking lot was only half full but the road parking was still busy. It is probably worth your time to to take a drive into the lot to see how things are – especially if you are arriving a little later in the afternoon.
The trails start from the parking lot so you don’t have to carry your skis very far. The information board by the bridge and trailhead to the southern trails has a wax thermometer if you need help with deciding what to wax with. The thermometer said red, and I’d put on two coats of blue and then a layer of red which seemed to work just fine.
I decided we should try skiing on the south side of the area since there seems to be more cross-country only trails there. Maps of the trails are available on the Bragg Creek Trails Association website or from Bragg Creek Recreation website (they also have trail condition reports). Maps of the trail system are also posted at the trailheads and at every junction along the ski trails and the trails were signed so it would be hard to get too lost out there. After crossing the bridge we turned onto the West Crystal Line. It starts out as a beginner trail (perfect for warming up) and then gets a little more difficult as it goes.
We followed the northern part of the West Crystal Line to where to joins the Moose Connector and skied that as far as where it joins up with the Moose Loop. We turned back here and back-tracked as far as the intersection with Mountain Road. From there we went south to ski the Mountain View trail before joining up with the southern part of West Crystal Line and following that back to the trailhead. Overall it wasn’t a very technical ski, but there are some hills and one very icy section.
Our total ski was just shy of 10 km and we were probably out there for just under 2 hours. Even though the parking lots were busy the trails were relatively quiet and I imagine as you get further from the main area you can have them all to yourself. There are tons more trails to explore so I can’t wait to go out when I’ve got a full day!