There’s nothing like a snowshoe adventure with fresh, new snow underfoot. It cloaks the forest in beautiful soundproofing, settling down on the landscape with a great hush. Snowshoeing up to Chester Lake is a popular winter activity up in the Spray. About a 45 minute drive up and above the town of Canmore, it is a pretty route that follows the Smith Dorrien Road, a well maintained gravel road that rises up through the pass between the Rundle range and the Nakoda Massif, and then along beautiful Spray Lake, into the back country.
We got a late start, leaving for Chester Lake, hoping against hope, that the day would warm up. Strangely, it was snowing lightly, even at -17C (often the snow doesn’t fall when it’s that cold out). With an elevation gain of just over 300m, it is an easy 10km romp through forests, meadows and amazingly dramatic scenery. With a light snow falling on us the whole time, the views played hide ‘n seek with us at times, but it was a beautiful day. Come along on our adventure….
At lunch, we wandered around the lake’s shore to find a secluded spot. There we tramped down the snow to make a sheltered area in which to sit, set up our tarp underneath us as a barrier for the snow, put on all our layers, ate (to crank up our metabolisms) and drank hot tea, munched chocolate & took in the views. It does get quite cold, once you stop moving, especially if you have been sweating… which we did, hoofing it up that trail.
Elevation Gain: 330m
Hike/Snowshoe time: approx. 3 hours (1 hour 15 mins up, going hard + lunch break + 45 mins down)
Time to the Trailhead from Canmore: 45-55 minutes
Trailhead Amenities: Very large parking lot + 4 bathrooms.