Snowshoe Hogarth Lakes to Burstall Lakes

Want a more interesting alternative to the almost-flat Hogarth Lakes snowshoe loop? Recently we snowshoed the scenic little pass from Hogarth Lakes over to Burstall Lakes in great snow conditions.

Twin waterfalls on eastern outlier of Commonwealth Peak

Parallel Falls on eastern outlier of Commonwealth Peak

It can be done in either direction although at present, until the old logging road at the Burstall end is brushed out a bit, its easier to routefind starting from the Hogarth Lakes end. Follow the old Hogarth logging road to about halfway along the second lake where a snow-filled creekbed heads up to the left.

The creekbed leads moderately steeply to a draw between the eastern outlier of Commonwealth Peak and a small hill that, before the trees grew back, used to provide a good place to get in some turns. There are two avalanche paths that end in the draw from the steep rocky face above (see map). The first doesn’t look like it has run for many years. The second narrow path just after the twin waterfalls will need an unusually large amount of snow on the slopes above before a slide would reach down to the trail. To be on the safe side don’t use this route if the Danger Level is High in the Alpine.

Continue through the draw and up a slight hill to an area of small trees at the top of the pass. Down a short distance to the right find an old, overgrown logging road that curves down to Burstall Creek. Cross the creek and ascend to Burstall Lakes Trail. If you want to extend your trip you can head right and visit the Avalanche Impact Pool or head left back to the parking lot.

View to the north from the draw

View to the north from the draw

If you are doing the trip from the Burstall end, turn right down an old road just before First Burstall Lake. Although it’s fairly easy to follow the logging road, you may end up at a small clearing above the pass and will need to descend through large trees to get back on route (see map).

Download GPS track log gpx

Hogarth-Burstall map

3 comments… add one
  • Ron Read Apr 20, 2010, 11:02 am

    I just did the Hogarth Lakes loop with a friend new to showshoeing. We intended to go up the draw to Burstall Lakes, but on arrival at the first Hogarth Lake it was evident that the avalanche risk was too high. We saw at least 15 size 2 avalanches on Sunday 18 April coming down off the south and east faces of Commonwealth, including several that penetrated down to where we would have been on the trail. All of them fractured right down to ground and contained lots of dirt and rock.

    Beautiful spring conditions, but no cohesion in the snowpack on sun-exposed surfaces.

  • Ken Schmaltz Jan 9, 2010, 5:29 pm

    We just did this snowshoe with the Calgary Outdoor Recreation Association. It’s a great alternative to the ski trail, as you say. I’ll definitely make a sidetrip to the avalanche impact pool the next time I do the pass in the summer. It’d be interesting to see the pool and mound when they aren’t frozen and covered with snow.

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