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    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    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.
    868 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    19.1 km
    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.
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Advanced (Diamond)
    Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
    Physical DIFF
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Technical DIFF
    Directions to Trailhead

    Snow Peak

    Panorama from Snow Peak scramble in Kananaskis, the Canadian Rockies

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    Table of contents

    Scrambling Snow Peak brings you rising over scenic Burstall Pass. Snow Peak can be an easy or difficult scramble depending on the time of year, but since it straddles the continental divide there are spectacular views of massive peaks in BC.

    Route Description for Snow Peak

    Snow Peak, when snow free, is an easy scramble to the north of Burstall Pass. It is named for a large snow patch that tends to hang around near the summit. When this snow is present, the final ascent can be dangerous as a slide would send you over some cliffs. Competence with an ice axe can mitigate this risk. Thankfully there was a wide and dry path through the snow patch when we went, making this trip little more than a hike.

    The hike and route are straightforward. Beginning at the popular Burstall Pass trailhead on the Smith-Dorrien highway, hike to Burstall Pass on the wide, obvious trail. It's about 7.5 km and 470 m elevation gain (one way) to the pass. The only obstacle en-route is the outwash plain of Robertson Glacier at about the 4.0 km. Several streams need to be crossed here, but with waterproof boots and a little jumping, it's not difficult. If it is, just de-boot and wade - it's only 6 inches deep, although it's deeper and faster in the afternoon. Just before re-entering the forest, a small pond is encountered where pre-flood there was none; head left a short distance to find a crossing. As you cross this outwash plain, also look ahead to Snow Peak (directly in front of you), if for no other reason than to confirm that it is not nearly as steep as it will appear from Burstall Pass.

    After departing the outwash plain and ascending through trees, walking the length of a meadow (be aware of bears), and ascending through trees again, you will arrive in Burstall Pass. At the sign in the pass indicating the Banff National Park boundary, survey the route up Snow Peak. It basically starts at the sign and follows the eastern ridge north to the summit. It has become popular enough that in many sections there is an obvious trail, but some common-sense route finding is likely still necessary in spots. From this vantage, however, the route looks impossible to the hiker, appearing to involve several cliff bands and impossibly steep scree. Do not let this intimidate you and remember the earlier view from the outwash plain! There is little to no exposure and only two sections very near the top where you'll need to briefly use your hands (and that part is very easy as well).

    From Burstall Pass it took us an hour and a half to reach the summit and the spectacular views in all directions!

    Insider Hints for Snow Peak

    • Bring a topo map to help identify all the peaks in the area.
    • Try to bike the first half to save more time to relax and appreciate the view from the pass.

    Getting to the Snow Peak Trailhead

    Take the Smith-Dorrien Trail (Highway 742) 42.0 km from the Canmore Nordic Centre. Turn right and park in the parking area beside Mud Lake on your right-hand side.

    Route Information

    • When to do:

      July - September

    • Backcountry Campsites:


    • Toilets:

      Pull Out areas along Highway 742

    • Pets allowed:

      Yes - On Leash

    • Scarmbling Rating:

      Grade 1

    • Exposure:


    • Family friendly:


    • Route Signage:


    • Crowd Levels:


    • Route Type:

      Out and back

    Snow Peak Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather


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