One of the prettiest snowshoeing outings you can do in Alberta has to be the one to Chester Lake in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Kananaskis Country.

The five kilometre trail to Chester Lake climbs steeply for the first few kilometres but once you reach the large meadow – one where you’ll find fabulous mountain views, the worst of the aerobic workout is behind you. From the meadow it’s a gentle climb through the trees to another smaller meadow before reaching Chester Lake itself. Do make the side trip, even though it’s a steep one – to Elephant Rocks. Giant sized boulders have been dropped helter- skelter and the views from here are magnificent.

Snowshoeing to Chester Lake in Alberta

The start of the snowshoe trail involves a steep climb

On weekends the trail to Chester Lake is busy - on weekdays we saw only a few other people

On weekends the trail to Chester Lake is busy – on weekdays we saw only a few other people

Heading across the meadow enroute to Chester Lake

Heading across the meadow on the way to Chester Lake

Snowshoeing to Chester Lake in Kananaskis Country

Non-stop views after you reach the meadows

The mountains feel very close on this snowshoe to Chester Lake

The mountains feel very close on this snowshoe

Shrubs look beautiful covered with frost

Shrubs look beautiful covered with frost

Slopes you wouldn't want to be climbing

Slopes you wouldn’t want to be climbing

One small open stream needs to be crossed enroute to Chester Lake

One small open stream needs to be crossed

Mountain scenery near Chester Lake

Mountain scenery near Chester Lake

Snowshoeing through the Elephant Rocks

Snowshoeing through the Elephant Rocks

Checking out the fabulous Elephant Rocks

Checking out the fabulous Elephant Rocks

Snowshoers heading back to the trailhead

Snowshoers heading back to the trailhead

The snow conditions when I did this hike 10 days ago were excellent. Since then, it’s warmed up considerably and there hasn’t been much in the way of fresh snow. It would be worth stopping at the Peter Lougheed Provincial Parks office on Highway 40 to get an updated trail report.

Most people drive to the trailhead via Highway 40 from the Trans-Canada Highway – and not up the Spray Lakes Road from Canmore. There is a large parking lot at the trailhead, located on the east side of Smith Dorrien-Spray Lakes Road. It’s about 20 kilometres north of Highway 40. From Calgary, allow 90 minutes to two hours for the drive, depending on weather conditions.

***For more ideas on easy snowshoeing trails in the Rockies pick up a copy of A Beginner’s Guide to Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies.***

Snowshoeing to Chester Lakes is one outing that should make you smile in winter.

Snowshoeing to Chester Lake in Kananaskis Country

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Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
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