Chester Lake

Elevation Gain: 310 m (1,017 ft).

Distance 10.2 km Return

This is one of the most scenic trails I've ever been on, and I've been on quite a few. Chester Lake is nestled among towering peaks on the uncrowded side of Kananaskis - the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Road. The snowshoe trail is a separate trail from the large network of cross-country ski trails (which double as mtn bike trails in summer). It is steeper, narrower and much more twisted.

The first third of the trail is the steepest, with nice views back through Burstall Pass . Soon, however, the trail opens into a small clearing, and the rest is easy going. A short distance further you will enter a large meadow, with Chester Lake at the far end, through the trees.

Note - time and distance are return-trip.

Don't have snowshoes? Go there after a long weekend and you can hike up to the lake. The trail will be packed hard enough.

From the lake, options include Upper Chester Creek, Three Lakes Valley and Rummel Lake. Scramblers can try their hand at Mt. Chester, Gusty Peak and The Fortress.

This is also an excellent summer hiking trail, but try for a weekday.


The trailhead is well marked, on the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Road, about 20km north of the junction of the Kananaskis Lakes Road in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.