Kananaskis Country is one of my favourite places in winter to go snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Even though it’s easy to do these things as a day trip from Calgary, it’s way more fun if you can stay overnight in the area so you can take advantage of all the activities – without a 90 minute drive in each direction.

Recently we spent a couple of nights in the new glamping tents in Mount Engadine Lodge off of the Spray Lakes Road in Kananaskis Country. On the first full day we took full advantage of the cross-country ski trails at Mount Shark. But on the second day we were after something fast and easy before the drive back to Calgary. We’d never snowshoed the Hogarth Lakes Loop and figured that would do the trick. It did. 

Hogarth Lakes snowshoe trail

The Hogarth Lake loop trail is accessed from the same trailhead as Burstall Pass

(Note: There are two other options for overnight stays in the Kananaskis area: winter camping at the Mount Kidd RV Park off of Highway 40 or a stay at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge with its new outdoor spa.)

If you’re looking for a short, easy, family-friendly snowshoeing outing the Hogarth Lakes Loop snowshoe trail sure fits the bill. You can knock the 4.5 kilometres off in just over an hour if you’re fast, and in a couple of hours if you’re moving at a family-friendly pace. 

The easy Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail

A really pretty start to the snowshoe trail

While there is signage along with snowshoe markers along the Hogarth Lakes Loop, you still have to pay attention, at least if it’s your first time on the trail. We snowshoed in a counter-clockwise direction and in short order missed one of the bright orange snowshoe signs and ended up following the snowshoe tracks of others until we could see the parking lot off in the distance. Oops. After retracing our steps, we noticed the orange markers in the distant trees and so managed to find the trail.

The Easy Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail

Caught a group from Yamnuska Adventures doing a backcountry ski course

The Easy Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail

Notice the snowshoe marker up in the trees

The Easy Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail

No wind walking through the woods

The Easy Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail

The snowshoe trail skirts the lake

The Hogarth Lake Loop meanders through woods – which if its windy will be warmer – and skirts one of the lakes (markers were few and far between here) before returning to a wider, more traveled trail that heads to Burstall Pass. As you can see from the photos there is almost no elevation gain. 

The Easy Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail

There’s some grand scenery – especially if you remember to look back

The Easy Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail

If you snowshoe in a clockwise direction stay right at the major intersection or you’ll end up on the Burstall Pass trail (an awesome hike in summer)

The Easy Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail

The last bit of trail back to the parking lot

The Easy Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail in Kananaskis Country

Long shadows at mid-day in December

Finding the trailhead for Hogarth Lakes 

The Hogarth Lakes Loop shares a trailhead with Burstall Pass – which is signed on the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Road. It’s directly across from the parking lot at the Chester Lake Trailhead – which is another supremely popular but more difficult snowshoe trail. From the Canmore Nordic Centre it’s 41.5 kilometres along the Smith Dorrien/Spray Lakes Road; from the turnoff to the Nakiska Ski Area turnoff, its 49 kilometres via Highway 40 and the Smith Dorrien Road.

***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.***

Note: The Spray Lakes – Smith Dorrien Road is gravel and while it’s plowed and sanded, expect winter driving conditions. The area is in a snow belt.

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The Easy Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail

Disclosure: There is an affiliate link in this post, which means I receive a small percentage if you purchase anything through it at no extra cost to you. This helps me provide free content on this site. 

Leigh McAdam

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