Easy day hike in Alberta – Chester Lake Trail

Are you looking for an easy day hike in Alberta? Then Chester Lake Trail right one for you!

Located in the provincial park of Peter Lougheed in Kananaskis, this beautiful and easy hike takes you through the forest on to an alpine meadow by Mt Chester. This is a perfect trail if you’re looking for something not too difficult and not too long but still with a rewarding view.


The hike starts with a trail through some forest and then opens up into a beautiful mountain meadow where you will continue along to the dazzling Chester Lake. The Lake is the endpoint of the Chester Lake Trail. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a nice lunch and a little photo session.

Here is an easy day hike in Alberta

If you’re feeling adventurous then you can walk around the lake and behind you’ll be able to spot a waterfall, be careful though as bears have been spotted in that area. 

This trail is highly recommended for bigger groups, families, dogs, and anyone looking to get out and see some of the beauty Kananaskis has to offer! 🙂 

If you want a more challenging hike in the Kananaskis area, check out Wasootch Ridge! And if you’re looking for hikes in the Nordegg area you might want to try out Vision Quest!

Practical information about Chester Lake Trail

Distance: 9.2 km return / 5.7 miles return
Elevation: 300 m / 1000 ft. elevation gain
Type: Out and back
Length: 2-3 hours return
Difficulty: Easy 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Here’s a map of the beginning of the trail

Here’s a picture of the beginning of the trail


How to get there

From Calgary

You will drive follow the Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W into Canmore and follow the directions from Canmore below.

From Canmore

You will drive up into Canmore and from there you will drive towards Grassy Lakes. Once you’re on Smith Dorrien Road (Hwy 742) you will continue for approximately 40 minutes down the road until you find the car park for Chester Lake. 

How long it takes to get there depends on the condition of the road as this year the road is full of potholes and a 4×4 is definitely recommended. We were in a small Sedan and still managed to get there fine but it wasn’t the most pleasant drive.


Before you go

Although this is an easy hike you should always plan ahead when you go hiking. Know the route and check the weather forecast. It makes your trip so much easier and safer. We would also recommend you to tell someone about your plans. Just in case something happens. Better safe than sorry!

But before even doing that, it would be a great idea for you to check if the trail is open or if there are any warnings on it. It’s nice to know if a grizzly and her cub has been spotted on the trail recently. You can check the trail information out here. In case the trail is closed, you can find other hikes nearby right here.


What to bring

When you go hiking you should always bring the essentials such as:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Bear spray
  • Warm clothes

Even if you’re just doing an easy day hike in Alberta you should always be prepared!


Other useful info

  • There are bathrooms in the parking lot.
  • Bikes are allowed on the trail but only on the first 2 km of it.
  • Chester Lake Trail is for day use only. This means that you cannot go camping here.
  • The trail is open during winter for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your favorite hiking shoes and trail mix and get out there!

Have you been to Kananaskis before? Let us know in the comment section what your favorite hike is!

Have fun!

Dom & Jo

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8 thoughts on “Easy day hike in Alberta – Chester Lake Trail

    1. It was pretty cool! Definitely a good one to start off with after being gone for a year 🙂 Banff truly is beautiful – I can’t wait to explore more of this area!
      – Jo

  1. Whoah, before reading this post I had no clue you needed bear spray at all (or that such a thing existed)! Good to know, living in Canada! I have been to the east side of Canada, and hopefully, one day I’ll get a chance to visit the west, and then I’ll definitely give this trail a shot. I suck at hiking, but easy 10 km sounds promising! 😀

    1. Yeah, it’s a little scary thinking about, isn’t it? I didn’t know about bear spray either but now I’m really happy we have one! Let us know if you ever go to the Western part and we’ll give you our best insider tips and tricks 😉
      – Jo

    1. Hey Charu,
      If you find yourself in Canada then let us know! We will be travelling too and looking to meet up with fellow travellers! 🙂
      – Dom

  2. Ah, reading that bear spray was necessary makes me nervous! I’m sure as long as you have it, you’ll be fine. The views are worth the risk! Great tips 🙂

    1. You’ll be ok! Most people never encounter a bear on the trail – neither Dom or I have seen one after many hikes and barely any of our friends have. It’s just good to have it in case you need it. Better safe than sorry, right? 🙂
      – Jo

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