What’s more Canadian than waking up at the crack of dawn (actually, earlier) to go snowshoeing in Alberta? Since neither of us ski or snowboard (yet…), we decided that a winter hike was in order.
Since Lake Louise/Banff/Kananaskis have been getting a healthy dose of snow this month, snowshoes were highly recommended. Tip: you can rent a pair + poles for $12 per day at MEC.
Getting there: Our group met at McDonald’s by COP at 6:30 a.m. and headed off to Kananaskis. The benefit of hiking there is 1) it’s a bit closer than driving all the way to Banff or Lake Louise, and 2) no park fees to pay. Parking is located in the Upper Kananaskis Lake parking lot in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.
The Hike: The first KM was pretty flat, and offered beautiful views on both sides: one of a lake with mountains in the backdrop, and the other of a frozen waterfall.
In the first ten minutes of the hike, we encountered a minor setback – a broken snowshoe. Nothing camo-print duct tape and bungee cords couldn’t fix!
After that, the next few KMs was a pretty aggressive uphill climb. Our group stopped several times to catch our breath, the incline + snowshoes and snow made for a great aerobic workout.
Thankfully, the trail evened out, and we continued the last couple KMs to Rawson Lake. The view was simply stunning – pictures do not do it justice at all.
After a short break for photo opps, we attempted to walk further along the lake, but turned back pretty quickly once we realized how much colder and windier it was higher up. Snow was blowing everywhere, and with avalanche warnings higher up in the mountains, we didn’t want to risk it, so we turned back.
Going back was a BREEZE. For us, that was the best part because we could really enjoy the scenery while walking at a normal pace and not having to gasp for air on the inclines.
- Bring duct tape, bungee cords, and elastics in case of snowshoe breakage (like we experienced)
- Dress in layers – the uphill activity was so intense we had to take off a few layers, but going back down we were pretty chilly
- Throw an extra pair of socks in your backpack for after the hike
- Treat yourself to poutine and a beer at Woody’s Pub in Kananaskis post-hike