TRAIL: Chester Lake and Elephant Rocks and optionally Three Lakes Valley
LOCATION Peter Lougheed Provincail Park/ Smith Dorrien Hwy 742
DISTANCE: 11.2 KM round trip to Chester Lake & Elephant Rocks optionally 2.3 KM more for Three Lake Valley
ELEVATION GAIN: 310M to Elephant Rocks, or 555M to Three Lakes Valley (For reference the Calgary Tower is 191M Tall)
HIKING TIME: Approx 6 hours round trip (approx. 3-4 hours of hiking plus lunch)
DIFFICULTY: EASY/MODERATE (Easy throughout with some minor challenging incline) it is achievable for beginner hikers as well as “average” active hikers who are used to moderate vertical incline (i.e., getting to the “top” of at least 500M peaks). If you’re not sure please call/email Todd to discuss.
DOGS: Allowed no exceptions they must be leashed at all times. Please consider carefully if its physically appropriate to bring fido along (we have had a dog paw injury and exceeded the physical limits of another dog so in the past).
PARKS CANADA TRAIL REPORT: OPEN. No bear warnings. STAY ON TRAIL, walking off trail damages the vegetation. Bear & cougar season be extra “bear cautious”.
WEATHER REPORT: A mostly sunny. High 29.
TRAIL DESCRIPTION: It’s the most popular trail in K-Country. For good reason: the difficulty / reward ratio is way out of whack. A child can do it. Yet even mountaineers are moved by the splendour of the lake setting. The initial two km is on a former logging road. It’s broad, smooth, not to steep, quickly and easily dispatched while enjoying occasional mountain views. Above the regenerated clear-cut, enter mature forest. The way finally levels out in meadows. Visual tension – stark, imposing cliffs, contrasting with lush welcoming meadows – creates a scene of compelling drama. After admiring Chester Lake we have luch at the elephant rocks (a heap of colossal boulders). After lunch we will decide if there is interest in going further onto Three Lakes Valley (or some may go on and others return to trail head) – going further does doubles the days scenic reward. The final three lakes are small, just tarns really. The second offers a superb views of grand, glacier-laden peaks on the Great Divide. We will have lots of time to hang out and relax or sun tan in several very scenic locations on this hike.
WAIVER: A waiver must be reviewed and signed prior to participating. Waivers will be available at the meeting location.
DEPARTURE TIME: 8:30 AM (don’t be late cause we won’t wait!)
MEETING PLACE: 2nd floor lounge at CO-OP on 1130 – 11 Avenue SW http://goo.gl/maps/0WJu Store is open so grab any last minute items. Please check in with Todd 8:15AM-8:30AM in the upstairs coffee lounge (enter doors, turn left, up the stairs). (note store opens Saturday/Sunday at 8AM for those who need last minute items)
CARPOOL: Upon arrival please let Todd know if you’re driving or in need of a ride. Don’t assume there will be enough cars bring your vehicle. You can leave it parked in the $2 all day lot across from CO-OP on 10th AV SW (lot with the big blue sign). (you’re car may be towed if you leave it in the Co-op parking lot – ask Todd about other options). If we don’t have enough vehicles at co-op the hike will be cancelled. So far we have not had an issue yet – but we are having increasing attendance and fewer drivers.
TRAIL HEAD DIRECTIONS: Driving directions to the hike parking area will be provided.
PARK PASS: NOT Required (car poolers will SHARE the cost of the pass with drivers)
MANDATORY ITEMS: 2.0 litres water/fluid (mandatory! ), appropriate clothing (think layers), backpack, lunch and snacks, hat, sunscreen, runners or hiking boots (no sandals or flip flops), extra t-shirt(s), wind breakerraincoat & dry t-shirt(s) for the windy and usually cooler “pass”.
SUGGESTED ITEMS: Sun glasses, sun screen, bug spray!, bear spray, wind breaker/light rain coat, trekking poles, sandals for car trip, camera, fruit, energy bars, change of clothes for ride home, money, gas money, binoculars, shareable snacks, etc Please do not “live off the generosity” of others bring your own supplies ?
OTHER: I highly recommend bringing another 500ml of something to drink and an energy bar for the car ride and to finish them before the hike starts. Worst thing you can do is start hiking hungry and dehydrated after an hour+ car ride.
ETIQUETTE: It is customary to provide $5+ to the driver for gas, it is a group hike please stay with the group, let wildflowers live, stay on the trail, leave no trace, pack out everything you bring, communicate up front any timelines to your passengers (i.e., having to be back at “x” time ) so they can decide if they want to go with someone else that has no time restrictions.
PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS: We hate to have to even put this in here but we do. This is a fun group activity so please bring your “group first” attitude. Please note we will be sticking fairly closely to the planned hiking itinerary and are unable to accommodate individual needs or requests to alter the itinerary, timelines, structure, or other types of individual requests. Sticking to the groups stated itinerary is respectful to other participants and of course complies with safety/insurance/legal issues we face. You must be physically able to complete the entire hike and travel at 4KM hour.
POST HIKE ACTIVITY: To be decided by the group