Chester Lake Hike

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2.5-3.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
9.3 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
320 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.9
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Read Reviews
Directions to Trailhead
Panorama from the Chester Lake hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

The Chester Lake hike is a great family route in Canmore, complete with a stunning alpine meadow and glistening lake nestled among towering peaks. The walk is perfect for multiple seasons, whether you come to snowshoe or take a ski tour in winter, or to see the larches change color in autumn. The trail is closed from May to late-June each year to prevent trail damage.

Guide-book quality info for over 8,000 trails

View Chester Lake Hike on Map

View Map

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers

Route Description for Chester Lake Hike

To start the Chester Lake trail, head to the northern end of the parking lot and find the broad path that ascends through the forest. From the early parts of the Chester Lake trail, you may notice occasional views across the valley to Mount Burstall, another fine hike to check out in the region.

After approximately 2.8 km, you’ll enter a clearing that gives just a taste of what’s ahead. This area can be exquisite in autumn with the diverse landscape colors creating truly magical scenery. Continue up ahead and emerge at a meadow before Chester Lake. Walk down to the lake, explore around the edges, and enjoy the ease with which you were able to get to this stunning beauty.

We love to have a long break, and explore the area around Chester Lake. It is a beautiful place. To get back to your car, leave Chester Lake and head back the way you came.

Hiking Trail Highlights

Chester Lake

Chester Lake is a small body of water located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. This picturesque alpine lake is located in a magnificent spot, surrounded by tall, gray, craggy mountains dotted with golden larches. Chester Lake is a major attraction for hikers in summer and snowshoe-ers in winter, partly because it’s an easily accessible, stunning spot in some of Canada’s wildest mountains.

The waters of the lake are a gorgeous turquoise color, but up close you’ll see that they are crystal clear, providing the perfect mirror for the surrounding mountains. As you hike around the lake you’ll encounter large piles of boulders and tumbling waterfalls, but the shimmering waters remain ever-peaceful.

Check out other amazing hikes in Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien:

Insider Hints for Chester Lake Hike

  • This trail is a great learning hike for your family.
  • In winter, this is one of the nicest snowshoe trails to explore.
  • Trail closed May to June 29th each year to prevent trail damage.

Getting to the Chester Lake Hike Trailhead

The Chester Lake trailhead is located on the unpaved Highway 742, also known as the Smith-Dorrien Trail. From Canmore drive towards the Nordic Centre. Continue past the Nordic Centre and travel 41.0 km before reaching the parking lot. If you are coming from Kananaskis Lakes in the south, the distance is approximately 20.0 km.

Route Information

  • When to do

    June through October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    Trailhead

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Chester Lake Hike Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

Check Area Weather

Chester Lake Hike Reviews

Add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Nearby Trails

Nearby Regions

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers

Tours

Routes

Blogs