cross country ski trails near Smithers BC

Backcountry Trails


Use the trails at your own risk. You are responsible for your safety. Ski with a partner.

Four ungroomed backcountry trails have been flagged through an old burn to the east with a combined length of 7.4 km. Skins are required. Alpine Touring or Telemark gear is recommended.

The backcountry ski trails are flagged red red flagging

Skin-up trails, where available, are flagged red and blue Skin-up

Snowshoers should snowshoe up and down the Skin-up trails. This will avoid having a hard-packed snowshoe trail crossing and re-crossing the ski fall-line.

Everyone should follow the Skin-up trails up. Skiers should follow the red flagging down for the best ski descent. ski down


Two new powder slopes for tree skiing were added in 2009. Both slopes are excellent detours along the Hill Trail and the snow is usually deep enough by February 1.

Sunny Slope

Watch for signs on the Hill Trail for the Sunny Slope area. The slope is 1/2 km wide and has tree-skiing with a 70 metre drop over a slope length of 200 metres. Steepest slopes are at the east end. There is a collector trail at the bottom of the slope with red and blue flagging that takes you back to the Hill Trail.

Powder Slope

Watch for the sign on the Hill Trail. The slope drops 80 metres over a length of 1/2 km and exits on to the North Trail. Turn left (downhill) on the North Trail to come back to the Hill Trail. The centre of the slope is marked with blue and red flagging but there are many possible tracks through the powder on either side.

The Hill Trail

Good for both skin-up and descent. Moderate hills with open timber make it great for tree-skiing.

The distance along the Hill trail from the parking lot to alpine and back again is 11 km for the round trip. Typically takes 2-1/2 to 3 hours up and 2 hours down on snowshoes and a lot quicker down on skis (unless you are breaking trail).

The North Trail

To access the top of the trail, turn left off the Hill trail at the upper sign and cross a long flat meadow to the edge of a cut block. From there it is a long gentle slope down through a very open burn. There are some tight tree sections but most is in the open. This trail has a shallow grade and is suited to cross-country skis.

The South Trail

A good skin-up trail but narrow and challenging to ski down. There are some good open meadows. The trail has been widened and is ready for expert skiers.

New for 2010 - The Arrow Trail

A fun trail that links meadows on a steady grade all the way down to the groomed trails.

Ski skills required

The four backcountry trails are suitable for expert or intermediate backcountry skiers who can tree-ski powder on tight ungroomed trails with moderate slope. The backcountry trails are not groomed. Users set their own tracks. The trails need at least 48" of snow to cover logs. Usually the trails are ready by January 15. There are some flat sections on all three trails and a few very short uphill sections. Skins are required.



North trail at Canyon Creek cross country ski area near Smithers BC

The North trail goes through an
open burn on a slight down grade




Mountain view from the backcountry ski trails at Canyon Creek Ski Area

View of Hudson Bay Mountain from the backcountry trails



There are three signs with maps along the Hill Trail at the intersections with the North Trail and the South Trail.

There are no avalanche hazards.

Try to always keep the flagging in sight. If you do get off trail, take a West bearing and you will descend to Canyon Creek. The Babine Lake Road is parallel and on the west side of the creek.

We recommend a GPS loaded with the Hill trail GPS track available below. Often new snow completely hides old tracks and the flagging along the trails may be hidden by heavy snow on the branches.

We recommend the SPOT satellite location device for your safety, available at local sports shops.


Sunny Slope

Sunny Slope tree-skiing area

Powder Slope

Powder Slope tree-skiing area

Alpine ski trail at Canyon Creek near Smithers BC

McKendrick Meadow,
at the top of the Hill Trail

The snow

The trails are on a northeast slope with deep cold powder. There is little or no wind and usually no hard crusts. The snow depth is 4 feet at mid elevation to 6 feet near alpine during a typical winter. The backcountry trails are quite open in places and skiers can always find fresh powder close to the trail.


Backcountry ski trail at Canyon Creek area

Top of the Hill Trail with a view
of the chain of lakes to the east

Hill Trail GPS track files

Here are the GPX and KML versions of the GPS track from the parking lot to the summit at the top of the Hill Trail.

Right click on link and save on your computer.

Link to GPX track file

Link to KML Google track file

Click on the KML file on your computer to open Google Earth with the trail displayed.

Hill Trail

Halfway up the Hill Trail January 1, 2010

Hill Trail

Hill Trail January 1, 2010

North Trail top

North Trail

Sunny Slope

Sunny Slope

Click on photos to Zoom


The map to the left shows the backcountry trails and their location compared to the groomed trails.

The light blue map grid is one kilometer in size.

To download a large legal-size version of this map for printing, right click on this link and save to your computer

For a smaller letter-size map, right click on the map to the left and save to your computer