|Trailhead||The Chester Lake parking lot is 45 km south of Canmore on the Smith-Dorrien--Spray Trail (Hwy. 742) and 20 km north of the Smith-Dorrien/Kananaskis Trail (Hwy. 40) junction.|
|Distance||4.8 km (3 mi.)|
|Elevation Gain||310 m (1,017')|
|Maximum Elevation||2,220 m (7,282')|
Chester Lake is a deservedly popular half-day trip to the valley on the other side of the highway from the Burstall Pass trail, but the real attractions for hikers are the side-trips to Rummel valley to the north or Headwall Lakes to the south. This trail also provides access to the scrambling routes up The Fortress, Gusty Peak, Mt. Galatea and Mt. Chester.
I have done the trip up Mt. Chester (3,054 m (10,017'), elev. gain 1,150 m (3,772')), which surely must be one of the easiest non-mountaineering ascents of a 10,000' peak in the Canadian Rockies. The routes for this and many other scrambles are described in Kane's guide. The views from the top are superb, especially in the direction of Headwall Lakes. An ice axe or hiking pole, and gaiters, would be helpful for the descent, and even a helmet would not be excessive for this "easy" scramble, because of the potential for rocks being kicked loose by others on this well-trodden route. Click here to view pictures of the trip.