It’s been a while since I posted. This hike was done on December 9th, 2017. It was a short hike. Present company was Ryan, Curtis and myself.
We stayed at the Castle Mountain Chalets like the year before and decided to drive up highway 93 to do a snowshoe/hike since there wasn’t much snow at the time in the valley. As soon as we got up into the pass, we were confronted with lots of snow. It was an ok temperature, around -15 for the day. The hike was predominantly in the shadows so we didn’t get the heat of the sun to warm us most of the day.
The trail was very well worn so we didn’t need spikes or snowshoes at all. It wound through the forest for a very easy hike (took us probably 4 hours round trip). We encountered a few other outdoorsy people (some were cross-country skiing, some were snowshoeing). The trail must be very popular in the summer because it’s fairly wide in most sections. It’s an easy, quick, winter hike if you are up for the drive from Calgary (around 2 hours).
Once to the lake, you are surrounded by the mountains. Each side of the lake is met with frozen rock cliffs and avalanche chutes. At the end of the lake, there is a steep slope up to a small hanging valley. It looks like you could perhaps hike up it and get up on the ridges to walk around the lake on the peaks – something to look for maybe in the summer. The lake was frozen over so we were able to walk on it for a ways. The wind blew down the sides, making it a brisk experience. I wouldn’t want to stick around too long without something warm.
This was a pretty uneventful hike. We didn’t see any wildlife but it was a nice change of scenery to the Spray Lakes valley. These mountains seem more rugged than the ones just a bit further south.
It’s a nice, short hike if you are in Banff or Lake Louise and looking for something to do. It wasn’t crowded the day we went out, but I have driven past when there are cars parked along the highway – it can get busy.