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Commonwealth Lake Snowshoe


  • Commonwealth Lake



  • November 12, 2022



  • Ed, Craig, Dave, Rod



  • 40 km from Canmore on the Spray Lakes Road
  • park on the road 2.2 km past (south) of the Engadine Lodge/Mt. Shark turnoff
  • the trail is on the right (west) side of the road, and you start by going over the guardrail and down a steep but short embankment and then across the Engadine meadow
  • hopefully, the creek is frozen over, and otherwise, you have to access the trail from the Mt. Shark Road parking lot, which is a longer stroll
  • once you get into the trees, veer to the right, and you should be able to see the trail markings that lead (left) up into the valley
  • at the first junction, turn left
  • after about another km, take the left-hand turn that takes you uphill through the forest to Commonwealth Lake as the right-hand turn leads up Commonwealth Creek



Degree of difficulty:

  • 275 meters elevation to the lake
  • 4.7 km out and back
  • the hike took us three hours
  • the trail starts gently across a meadow, gradually up thru the cut block, and then gains a bit more elevation along the south side of the creek
  • it moves steeply uphill after you start moving away from the creek
  • it was very challenging moving up through a valley of deep snow with tree roots and rocks hampering our progress
  • we followed some back-country skiers and ended up taking a route on the left side of the hill when the actual trail is on the right-hand side of Commonwealth Creek



Interesting notes:

  • we were lucky that the creek in the meadow was just frozen enough for us to make the three crossings
  • there are some amazing views of Commonwealth Peak, Pig’s Tail, Mount Birdwood, The Fist, and Mount Smuts
  • this was a mostly overcast day, so we didn’t get to enjoy the spectacular mountain peaks that surround the valley
  • we would like to go back in the summer and make a loop around the mountains behind Commonwealth lake