Canyon Trail is a short, 1.7 KM (1.1 mile) snowshoe trail, with 24 m (79 ft) of elevation, which links the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park Visitor Information Centre with Lower Kananaskis Lake through the Canyon Creek Campground in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. The photographs are in sequence from the direction of the Penstock Loop Trailhead at the Lower Kananaskis Lake parking area, past the Lower Kananaskis Lake dam, through a portion of the Canyon Creek Campground and up to the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park Visitor Information Centre.
Almost immediately, the trail swings right through forest and gently descends to the dam. Clear signage identifies the Penstock Loop Snowshoe Trail heading left across the top of the earth dam. The Canyon Trail continues to descend to a clear view across the valley to where the old wooden penstock once carried water from Lower Kananaskis Lake to the Pocaterra Power Station further down the valley.
The old wooden penstock, which through age leaked like a sieve, is gone. All that remains is a line of boulders as a reminder of the amazing ice sculptures created in winter by leaking water. I shall remember it well, like an old friend.
A short rise leads past snow-enhanced boulders along the entrance road the short distance to the closed-for-the-season Canyon Creek Campground. At a clear junction the trail continues straight to the Canyon Creek Trail which many would leave for summer enjoyment. The clearly defined snowshoe trail swings right past the firewood cache to my left, closed and locked in preparation for the upcoming, and always celebrated, summer camping season. I follow the snowshoe route. It is later in the afternoon and short days need to be considered.
Amazing snow sculptures transcend ordinary features into gracefully beautiful works of art. Forest provides shelter from the breeze and a short, more aggressive climb through tight forest generates warmth and delivers me to a campsite area. Site markers are adorned with snow mushrooms and dining tables support mounds of white.
Another short jaunt through forest, on clearly defined snowshoe trail, delivers me to a valley dip beneath power lines which host a parallel, pristine pair of well-groomed cross-country ski tracks.
I carefully step over the ski tracks before ascending the slope through forest, on the far side, to the final section prior to crossing Kananaskis Lakes Road to the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park Visitor Information Centre.
This completes an excellent day of 16.6 KM (10.4 miles) of snowshoeing on the Wintour Trail, the Marsh Loop Trail and finally this Canyon Trail. The scenery has been magnificent and exhilarating. The drive home to Calgary on the TransCanada Highway is efficient with a spectacular sunrise behind me and grass fields on either side glowing pastel orange.