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Oyster Lake

Trailhead The lake is a half-day or day trip from any of the Skoki Valley campsites.
Distance ~1.5 km from Cotton Grass Pass
Elevation Gain ~167 m (550')
Maximum Elevation ~2,347 m (7,700')

Located just northeast of Cotton Grass Pass, Oyster Lake is another rewarding side trip in the Skoki Valley. Like nearby Heart Lake, it requires some basic route-finding and easy scrambling to get there. If you are starting from the campsite at either Baker Lake (Sk 11) or Red Deer Lakes (Sk 19), hike the Baker Creek/Oyster Creek trail to a point that is about 1 km north of Cotton Grass Pass and west of the cirque at the south end of Oyster Peak. From Merlin Meadows campsite (Sk 18), walk about half a km south of the lodge on the main trail until you come to a signed junction indicating the trail to Red Deer Lakes. Turn left on this trail and head over Jones Pass, the low divide between Skoki Mtn. and Fossil Mtn. Take all the right-hand forks as you gradually contour around Fossil Mtn., and reach the point that is west of the cirque after about 4 km of hiking from the lodge. Click here to view a map of the Skoki Valley that is made from sections of the Hector Lake 82 N/9 and Lake Louise 82 N/8 topographic maps. Additional photos are posted here.

As you leave the trail and hike up the slope towards the cirque, a set of short cliffs appears to prevent access to the lake, but by heading to the left an easy route is soon found. This may require a bit of additional elevation gain, but the view of Oyster Lake from the upper ridges of the cirque is a fine reward:

Oyster Lake
Oyster Lake in late September (76 KB)

If you are continuing on to Heart Lake, cross the Oyster Lake outlet and head south along the mountainside, keeping close to the treeline, for about half an hour. However, bear in mind that on a visit on the same day that the above picture was taken, Heart Lake was considerably dried up compared to its mid-summer level.

This page was modified on July 20, 2012