This adventure brings you to the southern end of Kananaskis called Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. While in summer time Warspite Lake is a nice interpretive trail, in winter you will hardly notice the fact besides a few odd posts sticking out every so often. The trail starts off at the Mt. Black Prince Day Use area and shares the trail that leads to the Black Prince cirque. There are no technical difficulties along the way and the most challenging part would be a short uphill stint near the start, that once finished, the trail is relatively level.
Once at the cirque you are beneath the large cliffs of Mount Black Prince. Avalanche danger is considerably high once you go past the lake as a large amount of avalanche paths cross over each other so be sure to not wander beyond unless properly equipped and trained.
Warspite Lake Trip Log
The trailhead starts on the southwest end of the parking area. Head towards the creek about a 100 meters south of the parking area and the numerous tracks all funnel on top and over the snow bridge. The trail continues heading south for a short distance before making a right bend and heading west up the slope. The trail stays fairly wide so walking side by side is not a problem.
The next uphill stretch is the longest straight part of the trail. While not being very steep it does go consistently uphill. The trail stays the same width the entire way up until it levels off and the trees close in around you.
As you crest over the hill the trail actually starts heading back down now, while not nearly as steep or as long, it does narrow to single track so you can only walk single file unless you break trail.
The trail gradually descends at this point and you come to a fork which is marked with a 4x4 post. The route normally makes a loop, so if you go either direction you should come out the other end. It appears in winter time that it is not as popular which is surprising as it is not a very long loop at all. We decided to go right and went completely off trail. There was no visible sign of any deviation of the trail we followed to go towards the lake, it just kept going northwest. Eventually, we had enough and cut through the trees to make it back down to the lake.
Looking back, going left would be a better a option if snowshoeing or skiing to Warspite Lake after some fresh snow as a lot of people have walked the route in and out.
The single track continues as you head through the forest and come out at the lake. Depending on avalanche conditions you do not want to venture past the lake as it is goes into several dangerous avalanche zones. With the lake frozen over and perfectly smooth it is a nice contrast to the massive Mount Black Prince dead ahead. From here the trail continues in a loop back to the junction in the forest. We never found any continuing trail to go in a loop so we merely broke trail and made a loop.
As you continue around on the loop you will pass by a large clearing with a small stream. This area almost looks as nice, if not more beautiful then the lake itself. Mostly due to both areas being snow covered so no water is actually visible in Warspite Lake. The trail continues past here and joins up with the junction further ahead. If no trail is visible then aiming in the general northeast direction will bring you to the loop.
Since the end of the trail makes a loop, continue onwards and once you hook back up onto the trail you came in on, you will be a short jaunt away from your vehicle.
GPS Plotted Route
Doing the Warspite Lake loop doesn't seem to be as popular in winter as it does in summer. We initially went right at the junction and as we headed uphill there was absolutely no tracks in the snow turning southwest anywhere along our path. As we continued uphill we eventually just cut through the trees and down to the lake.
Our suspicions were confirmed as once we were at the lake, the packed trail was in and out with a fairly snowed over small trail hidden in the woods. The red trail is the route we took and the blue is the route we were suppose to take.
The large hump in the center of this profile is due to our deviation off the main trail and you will not encounter if staying on trail.
Click here to download the GPS route in GPX format. You may have to right click and select "Save Link As" if your browser does not download it automatically. Be sure to save it as a .gpx file.
What were your experiences snowshoeing Warspite Lake?
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