What to Expect

Hogarth Lakes snowshoe loop is an ideal family-friendly, beginner level snowshoe. It’s a 3.9 km loop, with minimal elevation gain. As a matter of fact, this popular, well-travelled trail gets so hard-packed that you really don’t need snowshoes. Take them with you, though, so that you can play in all the deep snow off-trail … and who doesn’t want to do that? (If you’re not sure what kind of snowshoes to bring, here’s my detailed review on the types of snowshoes)

man snowshoeing in deep snow at Hogarth Lake in Alberta
My husband couldn’t resist trying out his snowshoes in the deep snow.
Snowshoers crossing Hogarth Lake near the Rocky Mountains in Alberta
The snowshoe trail follows the shoreline. When the ice is safe, many people will walk across the frozen the lake.
Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Trail in Kananaskis, Alberta
Trail is well packed

This flat trail follows the shoreline of three lakes with some spectacular 360-degree mountain views along the way. This snowshoe adventure is one of the easiest beautiful outings in Kananaskis Country.

map of Hogarth Lake snowshoe trail from Alberta Parks
Trail Map, Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe. Source: Alberta Parks

My oldest son, husband and I went for a New Years Day snowshoe: it was a great way to start 2016.  In addition, doing outdoor activities is one way that makes it “okay”  for my teenage son to be “hanging out with mom” (even if he won’t fully admit it).  I have always found that being in nature and on the trails with my boys, provides them with a relaxed opportunity to “walk and talk” with me about anything that might be on their mind.

Take a Hike With Your Children, Three Mountain Family Hikes, Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe
2016, New Years Day Snowshoe. My son is giving me the “another photo ” look.

Right off the bat, we were quickly greeted by Canada’s National Bird, the  Whiskey Jack or Gray Jay.  This particular Gray Jay had obviously learned that us, funny looking animals with big man-made feet, generally share lunch with him. Fortunately for this Whiskey Jack, our family doesn’t share lunch with any wild animal. We never do, and neither should you, regardless of how cute or persistent they are.

Whiskey Jack bird
A Whiskey Jack looking for a handout

Why? Our food isn’t healthy or natural for any wild animal. Also, feeding them habituates them:  they associate us with food handouts. This can sometimes create aggressive and dangerous behaviours towards humans which can ultimately result in the animal’s death. In the case of a Whiskey Jack, feeding them is more likely to upset their stomachs, as I have yet to encounter a dangerous Whiskey Jack on the trail.

During this family adventure, we came across a quinzee that had been built at the trailhead. My teenage son quickly lost all of his “teenage coolness” and he thoroughly enjoyed climbing up, over and into this quinzee.

Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe trail for families
King of the Quinzee. This was built by a group of outdoor education students.

Hogarth Lakes Loop is a popular destination for middle school outdoor education programs. I have been fortunate to guide many of those programs. Here are a few photos of school groups from 2018.

One of the highlights, for me, on this trail is showing people a tree that a bear dined on.

Tree bark stripped by bear from tree along Hogarth lakes Trail
A bear stripped the bark to eat the sapwood from this tree.

It is also one of the trails that I take Campers Village groups on when I partner with them for their snowshoe events.

Group snowshoeing with Campers Village at Hogarth Lake in Kananaskis
Co-hosting an introduction to snowshoeing event with Campers Village.

Who?

All snowshoe abilities. This is ideal for beginners!

If you have my book, you know that I have rated hikes based on a child’s walking ability, not on an adult’s walking ability.

When To Go

Start early so you will finish in daylight. This is a winter trail only. Summer conditions are wet and the trail is not well defined.

How To Get There

From Canmore, take the Smith Dorien Road (742) to the Burstall Pass Parking lot.

From Calgary, take Highway 1 West, exit at 118, and continue on Highway 40 to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. You will connect to the Smith Dorrien road and to the Burstall Pass Parking lot.

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