Shark Lake Trip Log
Approximately 38km from the Bow River bridge in Canmore on the Smith Dorrien Trail, you will want to pull off and take the Mt. Engadine exit. Continuing down the road (don’t actually turn into Lodge itself) for about 1.9 more kilometers will bring you to the trailhead.
The trailhead is at about the apex of the corner with a small sign stating that no fires are permitted. The trail heads up the hill picture on the right.
The trail starts to ascend as soon as you leave the vehicle, but only for a few meters. The Shark Lake trail is a little reversed then most trails in the sense you actually lose more elevation then you gain. Your return trip is where you will gain your elevation.
There are a couple junctions you will come across before the trail starts to descend at about the 1.5km mark. You will want to keep to the right for both. One brings you up to Tent Ridge and the other is simply a dead end.
Snowshoeing towards Shark Lake appears a little lack luster initially as you have the perception of being in the trees mostly and Mount Shark looming in the distance. In reality the return trip actually shows off nice views of the Spray Lakes Reservoir and the ranges to the North and East. They go a little unnoticed as you make your way towards Shark Lake due to the downhill tempo.
The trail is fairly easy to follow through the trees. For most of the trail you are walking through previous clear cut areas so the trees themselves are not that mature and do not block off the view. Flagging tape can be found on some of the trees but the Shark Lake trail is relatively straight so you do not have the random wandering around that might be found elsewhere.
Once you come across dense forest you are only a few hundred meters away from the lake. There is a fair bit of deadfall through here so occasional snags on the backpack and clothing can be expected.
As you walk down a few meters out of the forest and onto a barren white landscape you have landed at Shark Lake. It is a pleasantly quiet little lake nestled in the drainage under Mount Shark. Rumor is that through certain times of the year small bull sharks populate the lake and then disappear for winter. Random test holes didn’t result in any shark findings unfortunately!
Once you have taken in all there is to see you can safely head back.
GPS Plotted Route
This snowshoe trail starts just off the road about 1.9km from Highway 762 (Smith Dorrien). The trail skirts along the north end of Mount Shark as the natural geography funnels you into Shark Lake.
The placement of this trail seems like a little bit an afterthought once you start. It follows the road and then drops down before finally rising up to the lake at the end. It would seem to be better situated to start from the parking lot itself instead of on the side of the road. About 1.5km in is when it all starts to go downhill… literally!
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 Shark Lake?
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