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snowshoeing
4 hours ago

Great day at Chester Lake today! Definite incline at the beginning to get things going but levels out further into the trail. Has been snowing pretty good but the trail is relatively packed still. Definitely recommend either snowshoes or spikes and poles. Friend did manage the trail with just hikers and poles however it made for a couple of slippery descents in areas. Got on the trailhead at 9am so it was a nice and quiet hike on the way to Chester Lake. Trail was definitely getting busier on the way down. Would do this hike again!

Crowded but safe. easier trail for friends

hiking
4 days ago

Very nice hike. Took me two hours to do full loop. If you are wanting to do a shorter walk there is a shortcut midway so would probably take about an hour. Saw deer, wood pecker and lots of squirrels.

Some large trees fallen across path on the south side of road but easily navigatable around.

beauty of a trail. we headed up there yesterday too the "road" side first to the top, went to the fire lookout and then down the other side (jewel pass) was crazy to see the different conditions. felt like we did all 4 seasons in 1 day!! in total the hike was 16.5km

This is an amazing hike for a cold day of winter.
Although the drive is a bit too far, the parking facilities are good and the first part of the hike either around the lake or though the frozen lake is just amazing. You will be able to see lots of people practicing ice-fishing (friendly guys, they kindly talked to us and showed us their procedures)
The second part of the hike ramps up soon, moderate dificulty but trail is well maintained (no need for spikes or crampons, although helpful).
Narrow woods covered by snow, and 2 hours later the view of Rawson lake surrounded by high peaks is just breathtaking.
Worth the effort.

on Chester Lake Trail

5 days ago

Hiked on Saturday was a beautiful sunny day, no need for snowshoes as it was packed snow. It was not icy at all, but spikes or poles would be helpful for the upward and downward climbs and descents. I did it with just hiking boots and poles and was just fine. For those that have not done this trail it is easy going for about a km then it’s a steady climb for approximately 2km, then it levels off. Bring something to sit on ( small tarp will do) to have your lunch or snack when you get to the top!

Went today from a quick hike. 25 minutes drive from South East Calgary. I ran into 4 people only so it was ideal for someone looking to escape from the city. great views and lots of cows along the path a bonus.

snowshoeing
5 days ago

Excellent hike. Beautiful winter views. You would be fine to hike it with ice spikes if it has not snowed in a while.

Great hike. Path is snow packed with very little ice right now, so could probably do it easily enough without spikes, but certainly easier with them. Get up there early to avoid the crowds, and you're in for a treat! Some amazing views on the way up, and the crowds really thin out once you get past the Upper Falls and head to the Inkpots. When we got to the Inkpots there was only one other couple there, so very peaceful! I just started hiking this past year, so certainly not a strong hiker, and this trail took us about 3 hours, including stops for photos and lunch.

Hear about Chester Lake all the time and been wanting to try it since we moved here four years ago. Beautiful blue sky day. Fair number of cars in the lot (20 or so) when we started but when we left at 4:30 we were the only ones there. We used ice trackers. It's possible to go with just boots (trail is hard packed) but later in the day the sun warmed the snow and some of the downhill sections (it's all downhill on the way back) were really slippery. I must admit the long uphill was a little more than I expected but I made it.

on Chester Lake Trail

6 days ago

Gorgeous hike. We didn’t need our snowshoes because the snow was so packed down. But, spikes were helpful. We’ll be doing this hike again soon.

besides the wind at the begining, the conditions were great as of January 12th!

completed this hike on January 12th. Great hiking conditions for this time of the year. Did the hike up to the fire lookout, views open up to the west if you do this extension.

did this trail on one of my last days in Banff and it was really beautiful!

hiking
11 days ago

Worth the drive if you are visiting other places in the area.

Peyto Lake is worth the drive -- make sure you walk the trail to get away from the crowds at the viewpoint!

snowshoeing
12 days ago

We visited Chester Lake yesterday and it was beautiful! Fresh snow and lovely scenery. We used snowshoes, but could’ve gotten away with just spikes because the snow wasn’t too high. The trails are well-marked and not too busy. We also brought our dog (on-leash) and he had the time of his life :) Will definitely be back!

conditions still good as of Jan 6, could be done without spikes but a bit slippery on the way down

Did this hike in August - super smokey due to the BC fires at the time but was still stunning. Recommend proper hiking gear/hiking boots for this hike. Definitely a nice scramble a bit before the summit. I would of rated it as Hard but I could just be out of shape haha! Incredible view! 11/10.

hiking
13 days ago

Hiked Mt Allan yesterday January 5th 2019 with friends. Tons of snow covered the section before reaching the Olympic Peak and we could not go through it though we were on trail. Finally we ended up scrambling the rocky section to reach the Olympic Peak. It was better few weeks ago when I was there. So be prepare to do little bit scramble or have snow shoes. After that section it was easy to reach Allan.

Peyto Lake is a stunning, pristine and vibrantly coloured lake along the Icefields Parkway drive, that is well worth stopping for. It is located about 40 minutes north of Lake Louise. I visited here in July 2017.

This is a popular place to stop for those driving this scenic stretch of highway, so I recommend arriving earlier in the morning to beat the crowds if possible.

From the parking lot on the west side of the highway, a short paved trail led to the wooden viewing deck which provided amazing views looking out to the lake. It was an uphill climb to the lookout, which was pretty steep in some areas as it gained considerable elevation and took around 10-15 minutes to get there.

Peyto Lake is absolutely spectacular. The colour of the water was an incredible vibrant blue that didn't even look real. It was surrounded by mountains and pine forests. I enjoyed admiring the views and taking photos from this classic lookout spot.

I recommend stopping here on your drive (you only need 40 minutes or so). Truly a beautiful place to see.

The hike to the Ink Pots starts along Johnston Canyon and is around 10 km round-trip. I arrived to the Johnston Canyon parking lot early in the morning (around 7 am) and was one of the first people there. I hiked here in July 2017.

Hiking Johnston Canyon was gorgeous in the morning and it was so peaceful being almost completely alone with nature on the trail. It was a challenging but rewarding hike to natural bubbling pools of water and amazing views.

After the Upper Falls, the trail began to climb out of the canyon. It was a pretty steep incline for most of the way to the Ink Pots and since this was my first major day hike upon arriving in Banff from the Canadian Prairies, I found it to be quite challenging and exhausting. The trail continued to gain elevation as it passed through the dense and lush forest which was beautiful and so peaceful. I was alone on the trail for most of the hike which was amazing. There was an opening in the trees at one spot along the trail which provided incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

From this point to the Ink Pots (about 1.4 km), the trail leveled out and then descended to the final destination which my legs were very thankful for!

The trail then opened up to a beautiful meadow surrounded by mountains with a river flowing through it and a collection of natural pools of turquoise coloured water, which bubbled up from deep inside the Earth’s core called the Ink Pots (you will see circles in the sand at the bottom of the pools which look like blots of ink and this is where the water bubbles up from). There were some wooden boardwalks and trails through the area leading to each pool, where you could get a variety of amazing views and great photo opportunities. The scenery was breathtaking!

I found this hike pretty challenging and strenuous, as it was mostly a steep and gruelling uphill climb after the Upper Falls to the Ink Pots, but definitely worth it. Hiking downhill most of the way back to the trailhead felt AMAZING.

The trail along Johnston Canyon to the Upper Falls gets quite crowded and busy around late morning during the summer season but very few people continue on to the Ink Pots, so hiking this trail will likely be a peaceful experience. I would still recommend starting early though in order to get a parking spot at the Johnston Canyon trailhead (be there for around 7 am or 7:30 am), as it took me a good 4 to 4.5 hours to complete the hike including the MANY stops that I made along the way to catch my breath, take photos and enjoy the scenery.

Make sure to bring a snack to enjoy at the Ink Pots and lots of water!

Hiked to Inkpots via Johnston Canyon. Trail is well packed. Bring microspikes (no need for snowshoes just spikes). Falls were busy. I didn't stop just went straight to the Inkpots. Beautiful views today. I would recommend going through Moose Meadows if you're looking to avoid the crowds (not sure on Moose trail conditions there though)

Very few people beyond the upper falls. Had the trail to myself for portions. Overall easy hike if you are an avid hiker. You can hear avalanches in the distance which is cool.

Hiked down to the rock. Make sure you have spikes on to prevent a fall. Cool to see it up close.

Good hike! My day was chilly with hoarfrost so no view for us. Guess I’ll hafts go back

Jan 5, 2019: fresh snow lovely day

Great hike and awesome views from the top. Definitely worth the extra hike to the fire lookout station, incredible views! If you’re short on time just do the prairie view track (go counter-clockwise along the loop) then head back down the same way. The back half of the loop was alright but quite a bit longer and a lot of just walking through the trees. Jan 4, 2019 trail was good the whole way, lots of hard pack snow but hiking boots and poles were fine, a couple spots would have been nice to have crampons/spikes but nothing too slippery.

walking
15 days ago

Be prepared to get wet if you go in the winter! The falls were incredible. It was a very easy hike and took us about an hour to get there, take in the falls and relax a bit, and get back to our car. Some tourists in running shoes and umbrellas managed it just fine, too!

hiking
15 days ago

Climbed to the elephant rocks today. Trail was in great shape with fresh snow. Highly recommended.

snowshoeing
16 days ago

Top safety rating for me; trails are well defined and signs are everywhere, it’s definitely worth the hike down to the famous rock located at the second right down closer to the water, you’ll know it when you see it. Photos are great but not as astonishing face to face. The trail up to the Ink Pots is well worth dodging the crowds for a moderate to easy treck up to the Ink Pots where you can eat lunch or just to wander some more. Kind of sucks you gotta pay the Banff Parks Fee just to go to the canyon. Still a top notch hike and definitely one I recommend for most ages and hiking abilities. I will do it again!

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