Winter Backpacking: Quaite Valley

Winter Backcountry Camping:

Quaite Valley, Kananaskis, AB

A great getaway for those looking for a quick trip, or those looking to dip their toes into the world of winter backcountry camping. 

Don't mind my collapsed tent vestibule.

Quick Specs:

Distance: ~4.7km (oneway)

Elevation: 100m

Time: ~ 1.5-2.5 hours (oneway)

Difficulty: Easy


More info & reservations:

Alberta Parks

Parking: Heart Creek Day Use

Firewood & Pit

Food Storage


To kick off the New Year, my husband and I decided to head to the mountains for a one night camping trip. We picked Quaite Valley for a couple of reasons: 

  1. It’s close to town (~1hr from Calgary; ~12 mins from Canmore)
  2. It’s a relatively short hike (meaning we could justify packing some celebratory drinks!) 

We had camped here before a few summers ago, but were excited to explore it in the winter. I must admit, the first half of this hike runs parallel to the highway – meaning you can hear the highway for a good portion of the trail (which eliminates this camp as being a favourite of mine) – however, once the trail meanders into the valley, you’re rewarded with peace, quiet, and crisp mountain air. 

Although not always necessary, we brought snowshoes, and are so happy we did (even though my hip flexors disagreed). 

The snow was atleast 1ft+ deep for the majority of the trail (and was untouched by other hikers since the last snowfall), so the snowshoes made breaking the trail – and keeping dry and warm – a much easier task. 

This camp doesn’t have tent pads, but has ample designated sites, and we found a perfect site that was nestled in the trees that kept us protected from the wind. After stomping the snow to set our tent upon, and setting up camp, we eagerly headed over to the fire pit to start cooking dinner. 

Incase you’re interested, for dinner we made one of our favourites: Turkey Dinner in a Bowl (a meal that only requires adding hot water and keeps you full and toasty for the night – which is a win in my books!).

With the sun having fully set around 17h30 (5:30pm), we were left with nothing but a sky lit up with stars.

Our dog Millie living her best life

Truth be told, waiting until midnight to celebrate the official New Year didn’t happen for us.  After popping our champagne, we, (and Millie), were too excited to cozy up in our sleeping bags and play a game of crib.  

Camping was a perfect start to 2021 (…especially since I won at Crib). Cheers to another year of adventures! 

Note: If you’re interested in camping at Quaite Valley, you need to make a reservation with Alberta Parks

Don't Forget:

Leave No Trace

Practice the Leave No Trace principles to protect our wildlands.

Avalanche Safety

Always check avalanche conditions before heading to the backcountry.

Trip Plan

Plan ahead. Be prepared. Share your plan with a friend at home.

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