Chester lake trail is one of the most popular trails in the winter. It has the best of both worlds; ski and snowshoe trails. The 3.5 km (one way) trail is an easy trail that leads you to one of the prettiest lakes between mountain peaks in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park near Kananaskis Country. It leads you right up to the slopes of Mount Galatea, The Fortress and Mount Chester. Be prepared for company as this is a very busy trail. The view does make up for it a bit.
Chester Lake Trip Log
As you pull into the parking lot you come face to face with one of the largest parking areas in the park. Parking is not hard to find even on peak days when there are NUMEROUS vehicles in the lot. The trailhead is on the north end so it is ideal to park closer there.
On the far north end of the parking lot you will see an outhouse. The trailhead is right behind this. At this point the trail is shared by snowshoers and skiers.
The trail starts off as a wide padded down trail, due to the amount of people travelling on snowshoes, until you come to a fork in the road where the trail spoilts off into 2. Follow the trail to the left where the trail marker leads you to.
The most important fork of the trail. If you are snowshoeing be sure to hang a right where the big sign of the person showshoeing is posted. The left is the cross country ski trail. With this being one of the most popular trails in the entire area its not uncommon to see people walking or snowshoeing on the ski trail. This is bad and ruins there tracks so please stay on the correct trail.
Soon after you start the trail starts to slowely head steadly upwards. It is clearly marked with bright orange diamonds every hundred meters or so. A few short sections give your calves and thighs a nice break.
Once you have gone upwards with what feels like a loong time, you come to a relatively flat area. The trail continues as a single track and the mountain views unfold infront of you.
The trail once again goes back through the thick forest through some more short, moderately steep sections before flattening out by a meadow.
Once you come to a large opening in the forest with a bright orange sign you have nearly reached the end. The rest is relativly flat with no more then a few meters in elevation drop and gain. Its by far one of the prettiest easy snowshoe trails in Kananaskis.
Follow the orange markers across the final flat snowy section to the last little bit of trees. Once you pass the trees, the view reopens underneath the vast slopes of Mount Chester, The Fortress and Mount Galatea.
Once you get to Chester Lake you can sit down virtually anywhere and enjoy the surrounding view. Some parts are pretty stomped in which makes it nice to relax when you take your snowshoes off so you don't sink waist deep.
Return is the same way you came up.
GPS Plotted Route
On this trail you are heading mostly upwards. with the exception of the few flat parts. As you can see once you get to the last 800m or so from the lake the elevation does not gain/lose much at all.
Click here to download the GPS route in GPX format. You may have to right click and select "Save Link As" if your browser does not download it automatically. Be sure to save it as a .gpx file.
What were your experiences snowshoeing Chester Lake?
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