Best time to travel to Alberta

Chester Lake in Alberta

A small but very beautiful lake in the Canadian Rockies

Best time: July–October

Chester Lake

Chester Lake is located north-west of Mount Chester in Spray Valley Provincial Park, Kananaskis Country, Alberta. The lake can be reached from Canmore by the Smith-Dorrien / Spray Trail road starting from the Chester Lake parking lot. The trail begins at its northeastern corner. It's best hiked from July through October. The trail closes from May to late-June each year to prevent its damage. In the winter, snowshoes are recommended for this hike.

Scenic Chester Lake trail is about 5 km (3 mi) long. It features beautiful views in every direction. In the summer, there are Alpine meadows with wildflowers. In the autumn, the fall foliage makes it irresistible. The trail is generally easy, but there are a few switchbacks and steep sections. The trail ends at the left side of the lake by the Elephant Rocks.

The first section of the Chester Lake trail can also lead across the valley to Mount Burstall if you want to explore Kananaskis Country further.

Practical info

When is the ideal time to view the wildflowers at Chester Lake?

The meadows of the Chester Lake trail are overflowing with a profusion of wildflowers, creating an incredible sight between late July and early August. During this time, wild rose, Indian paintbrushes, asters, and various types of daisies spread lovely hues throughout the region. Make the most of this time and explore Kananaskis Country's beauty while taking in all that these exquisite blooms have to offer. Show more

At which location can you find the Elephant Rocks in Chester Lake?

The Elephant Rocks are nestled on the left side of the lake, farther up from the end of the Chester Lake trail. You can spot these enormous rocks resembling an elephant's head and trunk by heading towards the left side of the lakeshore. You can also take breathtaking pictures of the serene views offered by the lake surroundings. Visiting these rocks that are famous fixtures of the Kananaskis Country is worth it. Show more

How challenging is the Chester Lake hike?

The Chester Lake trail is easy to navigate, although it has a few steep portions that call for watchfulness. The trail has an elevation gain of around 311 m and measures roughly 5.5 km. It is best to carry gear suitable for hiking, such as warm clothing, hiking boots that offer good traction and carrying a hiking pole. At the end of it all, the hike offers you stunning views of the landscape and the glacial waters of the lake. Show more

What are some other recreational activities apart from hiking that you can indulge in while in Kananaskis Country?

Kananaskis Country is not only known for its hiking trails, but there are also several other recreational activities that you can enjoy amidst the picturesque surroundings of the region. Take a ride on a horse, go skiing or mountain biking on trails such as Praz Deisud or Baldy Pass. The region has several lakes for fishing, paddling, and boating activities. Moreover, you can take part in camping, picnicking, attend events or visit sites like the Barrier Dam and the Highwood Pass. Something exciting awaits everyone in Kananaskis Country. Show more

What is the best spot to catch the autumn foliage at Chester Lake?

The fall foliage at Chester Lake is displayed throughout the trail so you can easily catch sight of it. Once autumn sets in, the needles of the larch trees turn to a golden-yellow color that contrasts with the surroundings splendidly. As you proceed along the trail, you can enjoy picturesque views of the various shades of autumn that create a color riot. Get ready with your camera to capture the display of these breathtakingly colorful leaves during your hikes. Show more

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Last updated: by Olha Savych