Round Trip Time (hrs):
1681 m
Height Gain:
33 m
Round Trip Distance:
5.2 km
Latest Date:
January 23 2011

Penstock Loop is an easy beginner trail to take your snowshoes out and explore the snow covered trails of the Rockies. Follow the 5.2 km loop as it leads you through the dense forest to Kent Creek and back. Located in Peter Lougheed Park, Albert's largest provincial park, this trail offers stunning views while enjoying the fresh, brisk outdoor air!

Penstock Loop Trip Log

Park at the Canyon day use area. You start off on the north east side of the parking lot just left of the outhouse. You will see a sign with a snowshoe marker on it and it has penstock loop written on it. The loop is clearly marked with a bright orange diamond symbolizing a snowshoe trail.

The trail continues from this point through some dense trees while skirting the bank going eastward parallel to the Canyon Day use road. When you approach a dam spill way you will see a small wooden bridge. Make sure you cross over this bridge and continue north. Do not continue down the spill way and down the hill at this point as you will be going the wrong way and head to the information center.

Since the trail is a loop it's up to you to decide if you want to follow the trail north or go counter-clockwise and go east where the trail splits off roughly 250m from the beginning of the trail. The benefit of going counter clockwise is that you face the gorgeous views of the mountains on the second half of the loop.

Follow the trail through the dense forest. The trail was pretty packed down when we went and was wide enough for 2 people to snowshoe side by side. The trail does the wave and raises and loses elevation constantly for the first third of the trail or so. The elevation gain/drop is not much at all but enough that you at least get some exercise out of it.

Almost halfway through the trail you cross the Smith Dorrien road. Directly across from this side of the road you will see where the trail continues through the forest.

The trail then takes you to an opening where you come across an interesting wooden pipeline. It parallels the trail and the trail is essentially all flat from here. The pipeline only continues for a part of the trail. As the trail continues on this latter half of the loop, it begins to open up and the views of the mountain peaks peak through as you are not in the trees as much.

You cross the Smith Dorrien road once again and continue to follow the trail near the shoreline of Lower Kananaskis Lake. The views of the surrounding mountains are what really capture your attention as you near the end of the loop. Follow the trail back to the parking lot.

GPS Plotted Route

The trail starts by the parking area. It then heads north a bit before making the loop and coming back to the start point at the bottom of the map.

The elevation graph of Penstock Loop looks like a bad heart beat. If you take a gander to the left side of the graph, you can see the numbers do not go up much or down. While there are up and down sections the elevation gain and loss is rather negligible.

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 Penstock Loop?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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