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Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe in Kananaskis

The Hogarth Lakes snowshoe is one of our all-time favourite easy snowshoe trails in Kananaskis country. It’s our go-to snowshoeing trail any time we want to take an out-of- town visitor snowshoeing, as it’s the perfect easy Kananaskis snowshoe trail for beginners.

Along this short Kananaskis snowshoe trail, you’ll be rewarded with a wide variety of Rocky Mountain scenery. On the Hogarth Lakes loop snowshoe you’ll pass frozen lakes, frozen creeks, and walk through many open areas which provide outstanding views of the iconic Kananaskis mountain peaks all around.

There are not many easy Kananaskis snowshoe trails which offer a better effort-to-scenery ratio than the Hogarth Lakes loop snowshoe trail.

Boy snowshoeing Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail in Kananaskis

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Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe – Quick Details

Trailhead: Burstall Pass Day Use Parking Lot

Distance: 4.2 km Loop

Elevation: 109 m elevation gain

Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Trail Highlights

I love it when you arrive at your Kananaskis snowshoe trail and the views are already outstanding from the parking lot. This is true from the Burstall Pass parking lot where you’ll enjoy excellent views of the snowcapped mountains of Commonwealth Peak (2,774 m) and Mt. Birdwood (3,097 m) ahead of you and the majestic Mt. Galatea (3,185 m) behind you.

trailhead sign for Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Trail

You’ll begin your easy Kananaskis snowshoe outing along the Burstall Pass trail (one of the best larch hikes in Kananaskis). The first section of trail is along a raised berm with Mud Lake below on the right. You’ll see Mt. Burstall (2,760 m) ahead of you on the left.

girl laying in snow on Mud Lake on Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe

Most official Kananaskis snowshoe trails are easy to follow thanks to the orange diamond snowshoe signs on the trees. There’s almost always one orange diamond sign visible ahead of you, so just follow the signs.

Your first orange Kananaskis snowshoe sign appears on the right shortly after the berm ends. This marks the beginning of the Hogarth Lakes snowshoe trail.

This section of the Hogarth Lakes loop snowshoe is through an open meadow with amazing Canadian Rocky Mountain views. Look for the shark-tooth shaped Prairie Lookout (3,185 m) which appears behind Mt Burstall. To your right you’ll see Mt. Chester (3,054 m – home to one of our favourite Kananaskis snowshoe trails – Chester Lake), Mt. Chesmill (2,829 m)and Kent Ridge North (2,914 m).

Boy snowshoeing towards mountain on easy snowshoe trail in Kananaskis

The Hogarth Lakes loop snowshoe trail stays quite wide for a while, with a snow covered, frozen creek on your right. You’ll eventually meet up with the southwestern shore of the frozen Mud Lake as well.

Burstall Creek along Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe

The Hogarth Lakes snowshoe trail enters a beautiful, snowy evergreen forest at the 700 m mark. This is the beginning of a 1 km long snowshoe through the forest. Straight ahead of you, Mt. Birdwood and Commonwealth Peak poke up through the trees.

Although the snowy evergreen trees mostly block the mountain views, there’s still a lot of interesting things along this very flat snowshoe trail including the first of two crossing over a frozen Burstall Creek. Watch the trees for beautiful Whiskey Jack birds, who love to fly near you from branch-to-branch, hoping you’ll give them some human food.

They are without question a beautiful bird, and its tempting to feed them, but please help us keep them wild by not feeding them.

Whiskey Jack sitting on branch
Boy holding hand up to Whiskey Jack on Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail in Kananaskis

The trail along this section of the Hogarth Lakes snowshoe is nice and wide, giving you an opportunity to walk in deeper snow on the edge of the packed down trail. With plenty of undisturbed snow along the side of the snowshoe trail, this is a fun place to look for animal tracks in the snow. Most of the animal tracks are rabbit tracks, but you’ll occasionally see larger animal tracks as well.

At the 1.8 km mark of the Hogarth Lakes snowshoe trail, you’ll near the bottom of Commonwealth Peak. You can see large, steep treeless sections where falling snow makes it impossible for trees to grow. There is increased avalanche risk here, so take a picture or two, but don’t linger for long.

You’ll reach the far end of the Hogarth Lakes loop snowshoe after 1.9 km of snowshoeing. From here you’ll now follow along the frozen shores of the Hogarth Lakes.

Hogarth Lakes Loop Trail iln Kananaskis

The best thing about snowshoeing in Kananaskis near frozen lakes is the open spaces it affords. Unlike summer, you can snowshoe out to the middle of the lake and enjoy the Rocky Mountain views all around (make sure the ice is thick enough first, of course!)

In this instance, you’ll enjoy views of Mt. Burstall and Mount Murray (3,024 m) as you snowshoe along the Hogarth Lakes. A few really cool looking dead trees around the Hogarth Lakes make for some interesting pictures.

man pulling chariot while snowshoeing Hogarth Lakes Loop trail in Kananaskis

Be careful along this stretch of the Hogarth Lakes snowshoe trail in early winter or spring as the trail is often over frozen water. In these periods, we’ve seen evidence of snowshoes breaking through the ice.

Mother and children in the distance on easy snowshoe trail in Kananaskis

The snowshoe trail leaves the Hogarth Lakes behind and re-enters the forest at the 2.9 km mark. This begins another short stretch of walking through the snowy forest. Again, it’s nice and wide allowing you to snowshoe alongside your friends or family. Near the end of this stretch you’ll cross back over Burstall Creek again.

At the 3.8 km mark of the Hogarth Lakes loop snowshoe trail you’ll leave the forest and enter a clearing where you’ll be blown away by some amazing Kananaskis mountain views. Mt. Galatea is on the left, Mt. Chester is on the right and a very pointy Gusty Peak (3,000 m) splits the two peaks right in the middle.

Mountain View from Hogarth Lakes Loop Trail in Kananaskis

Just 100 m later, the Hogarth Lakes trail meets up with the Burstall Pass trail again for the final leg back to the trailhead. There’s a fun snowy hill next to this trail junction which is great fun for kids to climb and slide down.

As with the initial leg of the Burstall Pass trail, the views along the raised berm are outstanding, except this time you’ll enjoy the views from the opposite direction.

Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Trail Stats

How Long is the Hogarth Lakes Loop Trail?

The Alberta Parks webpage states the Hogarth Lakes snowshoe loop is 3.9 km long, where the sign at the trail has it at 4.6 km. Using the AllTrails app we recorded the Hogarth Lakes Loop to be 4.32 km.

Two children snowshoeing in Kananaskis on Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe trail

How Steep is the Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Trail?

The Hogarth Lakes snowshoe trail is about as flat as you’ll find for snowshoe trails in Kananaskis. The total elevation gain is 109 m. Since this trail snakes around the Hogarth Lakes, it stays pretty flat the entire time.

Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe - Kananaskis

How Hard is the Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Loop?

This is ones of the easiest snowshoe trails in Kananaskis, but like any snowshoe trail, how easy or hard it is will depend entirely on how packed down the trail is. If you are snowshoeing on a well packed trail, this will be an easy snowshoe.

In fact, you can probably leave the heavy snowshoes behind and opt for microspikes for traction (only if the trail is very hard packed otherwise you’ll be sinking into the snow).

mother posing with toddler snowshoeing Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe in Kananaskis

If you happen to be the first one out after a big snowfall, then you’ll be amazed at how much more difficult a short and easy trail like Hogarth Lakes can be.

This is a popular Kananaskis snowshoe, so it’s likely it will be packed down. As we mentioned previously, this is a great beginner snowshoe in Kananaskis and one we usually take first time snowshoers on.

How Long Does It Take to Snowshoe Hogarth Lakes Loop Trail?

It should take an adult about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete the full loop of the Hogarth Lakes loop snowshoe trail.

We recently did the Hogarth Lakes Loop snowshoe trail and it took us just over 1 hour to complete the loop. We did this same trail with our kids (aged 5 & 7) last winter when it was packed down and it took us under 2.5 hours with them.

two kids snowshoeing in Kananaskis - Hogarth Lakes Trail

Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail Location

The Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe trailhead is found in the Burstall Pass Day Use parking lot on the Smith-Dorrien Highway (Hwy 742).

Directions to the Burstall Pass Day Use Parking Lot

There are two ways to get to the Burstall Pass Day Use from Canmore and Banff. From Canmore and Banff, you’ll save 10 minutes by taking Hwy 742 for 43 km. The Burstall Pass Day Use will be on your right coming from this direction.

Alternatively, you can drive to the Burstall Pass Day Use Parking Lot from Canmore, Banff or Calgary by taking the TransCanada Highway to Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40).

Drive south until you reach the Kananaskis winter gate, where you turn right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail. After approximately 2 km, make another right onto the Smith-Dorrien Trail/AB-742 and drive another 20 km. There’s a sign for the Burstall Pass Day Use before the left turn into the parking lot.

Woman on Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe trail in Kananaskis

Hogarth Lakes Loop Trail Map

Alberta Parks has plenty of orange diamond snowshoe trail markers along this trail plus a trail map at the start of the loop to make it easy to navigate this short loop. If you want to have a map of this snowshoe on your phone, use the AllTrails app as it’s easy to download the maps and have it available while you snowshoe.

To find this snowshoe trail on AllTrails, look for Hogarth Lakes Trail.

The Hogarth Lakes trail appears on this pdf map of Peter Lougheed Winter Trails.

orange trail marker on sawmill snowshoe trail - Kananaskis

Snowshoeing Hogarth Lakes Loop with Kids

The Hogarth Lakes loop snowshoe trail is a kid-friendly Kananaskis snowshoe trail. The short distance of around 4 km plus plenty of opportunities to play in the deep snow on the lakes (when fully frozen), make it ideal for a fun outing with kids.

boy Playing in Snow on Hogarth Lakes Loop Trail

We’ve done this trail several times with our kids, starting when they were just babies in the chariot. They are now capable of doing the entire Hogarth Lakes snowshoe on their own.

Woman snowshoeing and pulling chariot on Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Loop Trail

If you are snowshoeing with a baby or toddler, note that portions of the Hogarth Lakes loop snowshoe may be too narrow or steep for a chariot. We’ve pulled our kids in a chariot on the Hogarth Lakes trail and found it difficult in few places, but it is doable. It’s best if there are two adults – one to pull and one to help in the difficult spots.

Pulling a chariot over a log on Hogarth Lakes trail in Kananaskis

Where to Stop for Lunch or a Break

We always stop shortly after reaching the Hogarth Lakes for a snack on the Hogarth Lakes trail. This roughly half way before you continue the trail along the lakes.

Even with snow pants on, it can get cold sitting on frozen trees or picnic table benches, so we recommend you bring a winter picnic blanket if you have room in your day bag.

Mother and two kids having a break on Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Trail

Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Trail Safety

Kananaskis Wildlife Safety

In the dead of winter, the bears around the Hogarth Lakes should be hibernating (be careful in early winter or early spring though!) But that’s not a reason to let your guard down as wolves, cougars, elk, etc. still provide a safety risk to Kananaskis visitors. Take a few minutes and read “Living with Wildlife” by Alberta Parks.

Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Loop Trail Report

It’s always a good idea to check the Hogarth Lakes snowshoe trail conditions before you leave home. Alberta Parks publishes a Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail Report for the snowshoe trail which details any area closures, known animal risks, etc.

Girl looking over Burstall Creek while snowshoeing Hogarth Lakes

Hogarth Lakes Loop Snowshoe Trail Logistics

  • There are toilets at the Burstall Pass Day Use area.
  • There are no drinking water facilities, so bring as much water as you’ll need from home.
  • There is no camping or fires allowed in the area.
  • On-leash dogs are allowed on the Hogarth Lakes snowshoe trail.

What to Bring for Hogarth Lakes Loop in Winter

It’s really tough to decide how to dress for winter hiking or snowshoeing in Kananaskis. If you snowshoe at a fast pace or decide to have fun in the deep snow, you’ll get hot pretty quickly, even when it’s cold outside.

Woman on Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Trail

The Hogarth Lakes snowshoe trail spends some time in the forest, keeping you in the shade some of the time but also out of the wind. When you are in an open area along the Hogarth Lakes, you may enjoy the warmth of the sun, but the cold winds across the lakes will make you cold quickly. In the winter, shade and wind result in noticeably colder temperatures, so you’ll be adding layers quickly to keep warm!

Given these challenges, we recommend dressing in layers while snowshoeing in Kananaskis and having a good daybag to store your unused layers in.

Hogarth Lakes Loop Foot Traction Recommendations

The Hogarth Lakes snowshoe trail has very few short, steep sections, but you’ll want some sort of traction on your feet to help. In fact, even on flat trails traction devices are always a good idea – you never know when you’ll hit an unexpected icy patch.

Snowshoes

If you are going to snowshoe the Hogarth Lakes Loop, make sure you have multiple crampons underneath your snowshoes – some on the front toe and a pair under your heel. Also, if possible, look for a pair of snowshoes with double-ratchet bindings and avoid snowshoes with any form of buckle bindings – they tend to come undone, which gets annoying quickly.

Shop for snowshoes

Tubbs Storm Snowshoes for Kids with mountain backdrop

Winter Hiking Traction Devices

If you are going to winter hike the Hogarth Lakes Trail you should have some form of traction device on your feet. We don’t recommend doing this unless the trail is hard packed by snowshoes, otherwise you’ll find yourself post-holing the entire way.

We almost always pack both our snowshoes and our microspikes. Once we reach the trail, we make the decision on which will be best for the conditions.We own and highly recommend Kahtoola MICROspikes. Look at the steel spikes on the bottom of the Kahtoola MICROspikes and you’ll see why we love these traction devices so much. They are a scaled-down recreational version of the crampons you’ll see on mountain expeditions. We also own these similar ones for the kids.

Traction devices for kids are helpful on the kid-friendly Jura Creek Trail near Canmore, Alberta

Yaktrax are another popular multi-purpose traction device used around Banff for winter walking or running. They are popular as they are very comfortable for walking on winter hikes or snow-covered walking trails in Canmore or Banff. The lack of spikes makes them comfortable to walk on snow and cleared pathways, but they are not great for ice walking.

Shop for traction devices

Trekking Poles

No matter which traction device you use for your feet, you should consider using trekking poles to help your balance. We’ve tried trekking poles and to be honest, we don’t like them nor use them, but we seem to be in the minority. Trekking poles are widely used around Banff and Kananaskis in winter.

It makes sense… winter hiking on snow or ice in the mountains is often very slippery and trekking poles add two more points of contact with the ground, thus greatly reducing your odds of slipping.

Shop for trekking poles

The Hogarth Lakes Loop is the perfect beginner snowshoe trail in Kananaskis, but everyone will enjoy the incredible scenery.

Other Nearby Kananaskis Snowshoe Trails

Other Things to do in Kananaskis in Winter

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Everything you need to know about Hogarth Lakes Snowshoe Trail in Kananaskis. This easy Kananaskis snowshoe trail is an excellent choice for kids or beginner snowshoers.

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