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A moderate trek through dense forest and stunning alpine meadow to a picturesque lake surrounded by majestic peaks.

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Out and Back

7,361' 2,244 m


6,263' 1,909 m


1,179' 360 m


1,179' 359 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fishing · Lake · Views

ANNUAL SEASONAL CLOSURE: May 1 to June 29 to allow area to dry and prevent damage.


The Chester Lake trail is one of the classics you must do in Kananaskis Country. It's been called the most popular trail in Kananaskis Country. Chester Lake itself is gorgeous. The meadows you meet on the Chester Lake hike are fine in summer – but dazzling in September when the larches put on their fall show. There are lovely places along the shore of Chester Lake to picnic, fish, swim, or just plop. Although Chester Lake is the final destination for most hikers there is the option to continue up the Three Lakes Valley.

Need to Know

A Kananaskis Conservation Pass is required to park your vehicle at provincial park and public land sites in Kananaskis and the Bow Valley.


The trail is primarily on a wide, evenly graded fire road that is lined by towering pines. The trees will block most of the views on the early section of the trail as you slowly gain elevation.

By about 1.7 miles, the majority of your climb will be over and the hike really kicks into visual gear. Here, the route starts to open up into meadows and the huge looming peaks will come into view for the first time.

You'll pass through a few more stretches of forest and at the 2-mile mark the trail meets up with Chester Creek again. The views really open up here and the hike takes on an entirely different character from the first few miles as jagged, rocky peaks climb into the sky around you in seemingly every direction.
You'll reach the shores of Chester Lake at 2.6 miles; its picturesque turquoise water is a beautiful mirror on the surrounding landscape. The long ridge of Mount Chester casts a long shadow over this valley that doesn't really recede until mid-day.

Keep left to begin a clockwise trip around the lake. The trail hugs the shore here. You'll have the opportunity to head left at 2.8 miles to hike along the Three Lakes Valley Trail. You'll make a short climb to arrive at Elephant Rocks, a group of huge boulders that make a lovely place to soak up some warming sunshine and have a snack. Return back to Chester Lake and keep left to continue your trek around the edge of the water.

Looking southwest from the lake will provide you with some unbelievable views of Mount Burstall and the prominent incline of Commonwealth Peak. As the trail continues along the shore you'll find yourself climbing over large granite chunks that have fallen into place off the wall of Mount Chester.
Rejoin the Chester Lake Trail at 3.8 miles and return back the way you came.


Shared By:

Alyssa Cross

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in Alberta


3 Views Last Month
58 Since Nov 8, 2021



Chester Lake in mid-September, 2022.
Nov 22, 2022 near Canmore, AB
Chester Lake
Nov 8, 2021 near Canmore, AB
On the eastern shore of Chester Lake, hikers follow the rocky trail in the shadow of Mt. Chester.
Nov 8, 2021 near Canmore, AB
Coming around the lake in the shadow of Mt Chester.
Nov 8, 2021 near Canmore, AB
Looking south from the approach to Chester Lake in the alpine meadow
Nov 8, 2021 near Canmore, AB
Passing through the meadow on the way back from Chester Lake
Nov 8, 2021 near Canmore, AB


Current Trail Conditions

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Oct 17, 2021
Alyssa Cross
6.6mi — 2h 56m