Goldeye Lake is near the Goldeye Retreat and Event Centre off David Thompson Highway west of Nordegg, Alberta, Canada.
On the short drive from Nordegg, there is an opportunity to turn right at Shunda Creek Road and quickly check out the secluded Shunda Creek Hostel which offers shared and private accommodation. This road is also the most commonly used access for the trail-head to the Coliseum Mountain summit hike.
A popular, simple map, commonly used in the area, shows Goldeye Centre as ground zero, with distances in kilometers, to other popular hikes along Hwy 11 through Bighorn Backcountry. Note: Shunda Lake is synonymous with Fish Lake.
Highway access to Goldeye Centre is west on the David Thompson Highway (Hwy 11) 3.9 KM (2⅜ miles) past the exit to Fish Lake (Shunda Lake). The access road loops around to a large complex of log-cabin-style buildings which host an impressive array of recreational facility.
Goldeye Centre was established in 1958 as a summer youth camp staffed by volunteers. Now, open year-round, Goldeye Centre is fully staffed, and supported by the Goldeye Foundation. Goldeye Centre hosts youth camps, group or corporate retreats, weddings and family events, as well as recreational and educational events. More than 200 guests can be hosted simultaneously at impressive log cabins, dormitory-style housing, or bunkhouses. There are two fully staffed dining and presentation facilities.
Recreational facility includes adventure on rope courses, a climbing wall, a giant swing, an archery course and adjacent Goldeye Lake. It is a place to establish indelible memories and to build leadership skills in a beautiful wilderness location.
The trail-head, near the boat launch, is a left turn from the main access road into the Westward Bound Campground where there is limited parking near the boat launch and the obvious trail-head sign. Overflow parking is back at the road junction with a short, connecting trail to Goldeye Lake.
This easy trail around the lake can be hiked in either direction. It is about 4.8 km (3 miles) long with minimal elevation differential of about 10 meters. Most will do the hike in under 2 hours. Reducing the pace and absorbing the experience is more sensible. This beautiful hike travels through a variety of incredible terrain which justifies taking the time to soak up the spectacular vistas and wetland aromas.
The trail soon passes by a dock hosting many colorful canoes. Shallow, crystal-clear water displays vibrantly mesmerizing bottom detail. People on the lake are laid back in small craft and fishing. At the boat dock, the trail rises over stairs before dropping off the other side. I learn later that ascent on the stairs leads to a scenic canyon.
Trail towards the far end of the lake passes through marshy areas on raised wooden platform. The easy path veers away from marshland and lake shore for a short hike through aromatic mixed marsh and forest.
Small wooden bridges cross picturesque, crystal-clear creeks feeding pristine Goldeye Lake. A gorgeous view at the far end of the lake is the prelude to the final, short stretch through forest, with several lakeside viewpoints along the way, to the boat launch area where the hike began.
The Goldeye Lake Campground is managed by the Campground Operator: Westward Bound Campgrounds. This campground is a wonderful place to relax with plenty of recreational opportunity nearby.
There is still enough time left in the day, on the drive back to Nordegg for accommodation at Nordegg Lodge, to stop into Fish Lake (Shunda Lake) for a short hike on the Fish Lake Resource Management Trail.
Following a hearty supper, the evening ritual of downloading and editing photographs will consume the remainder of the day. More than 2,000 photographs will be captured on this 12-day hiking adventure. A few of them are good.
This is the final full day, including overnight, at the Hamlet of Nordegg. Tomorrow, a new day of hiking adventure at Tershishner Falls and Allstones Lake will culminate in the next staging location from David Thompson Resort.
Photographs at Goldeye Lake were taken in the afternoon following the morning tour of Brazeau Collieries above Nordegg on Thursday, July 23, 2015 in David Thompson Country, Bighorn Backcountry, Alberta, Canada.