Rummel Lake, Spray Valley Provincial Park, Alberta

Rummel Lake trailhead is located about an hour south of Canmore, Alberta, along the Smith-Dorrien Trail, directly across from the Mount Shark Road. The trail itself is easy to moderate with a few, short points of steeper up/down, and an overall elevation gain of about 400m. The trail is a popular destination given it is not a difficult hike; it connects to the High Rockies trail at the point of the bench, 2km in. We hiked this in winter when it is commonly a snowshoe trail, but there were also a few people on telemark skis. The trail to Rummel Lake is about 11km round trip and it took us just shy of 4 hours out and back. This has a high potential to be a summer Boogievan adventure. Find our trace here.

There is no parking lot or toilet at the trailhead, but the road is wider here to accommodate parking. We stepped off with snowshoes on but it was clear from the start that the trail was well packed. The trail itself is like many mountain trails, beginning in the trees then opening up to mountain views as you ascend.

One of the main tasks of the day was to try out smaller, modern show shoes. We’d both used the larger old-style before but were looking to see how the smaller ones would fare with winter kit. The trail itself was well packed from all the hikers it sees so it is not a good test for this, but there was plenty of opportunity to step off the trail or hike along it through the trees. Final analysis says the smaller modern snowshoes are easier to pack and are much better than boots, but you will be sinking and working hard if you are breaking trail anywhere in the snow. We used the narrower, shorter snow shoes and other wider varieties exist that we did not test.

About 2km in there is a bench you can sit on to view the mountains and part of Spray Lakes. Of interest here is “The Fist” which is an interesting rock formation to the south-west. You connect to the High Rockies Trail at the bench.

Shortly after leaving the bench the snowshoes came off and the Cramp-Ons went on. It was a good choice given the trail was packed and snowshoes add a degree of effort to walking that was unnecessary. If we stepped off the track it was easily waist deep in places, but this was not required much even with the traffic.

The lake was buried in snow which wasn’t much of a surprise in January, however, the backdrop of mountains behind it was still outstanding.

There is winter back country camping allowed here, but apparently not summer back country, which is interesting. Perhaps it is because there appears to be no avalanche risk around the lake. Whatever the reason, if winter camping is appealing to you, this is a lovely location to camp at.

We stepped off the trail for a snack and some hot tea before heading back. The trail was a picture postcard of a Canadian winter.

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