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Chester Lake Snowshoe


  • Chester Lake



  • January 10, 2020



  • Ed, Geoff, Craig, Todd, Eldon, Dave, Lorna, Stephanie, Rob, Toni, Keri



  • a 60-minute drive (45 km) up the Smith Dorrien (Spray Lakes) road from Canmore
  • you can also access it from the Kananaskis Lakes Road
  • the trail is at the far end of the parking lot, and it is best to take the new trail that is on the left (not behind the big trail signage)



Degree of difficulty:

  • 310 meters elevation to Chester Lake
  • 11 km round trip to the Elephant Rocks just above the lake
  • 3 hours total time on the trail
  • out and back on the same snowshoe trail although you can take the main ski/hiking path down, but you will likely run into some backcountry skiers flying down the trail
  • moderate climb most of the way with a slightly steeper section about 10 minutes along the trail that lasts for about a half hour
  • the snow was initially fairly well packed down, so five us aborted the snowshoes although a few folks put on the metal spikes
  • the section from Chester Lake up to the Elephant Rocks was not as packed down, so we had a bit more of a grunt on this short section



Interesting notes:

  • we had a mostly sunny day which made it seem much warmer than the minus 10C that it was
  • this trail offers some great 360-degree panoramic views once you break out into the meadow a half hour or so into the climb
  • the Elephant Rocks are comprised of two groups of massive boulders where we enjoyed our lunch atop one of them
  • the area between Chester Lake and the Elephant Rocks has numerous bent over trees which is one of the unique features of this trail