Sherbrooke Lake is a short and easy mountain hike in east Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.
The trail head for Sherbrooke Lake in Yoho National Park, BC, Canada begins just west of the Great Divide Lodge at the Wapta Lake Picnic Area along the north side of the Trans Canada Highway 5+ kilometers (≈3⅛ miles) west of the Alberta - British Columbia provincial border. The well-signed provincial border is also the delineation point between Banff National Park in Alberta and Yoho National Park in British Columbia, Canada.
Brief passage between parking and the main trail is a gentle dirt path beginning near the picnic shelter and proceeding past the portable toilet through rich forest for a clearly signed left turn onto the trail to Sherbrooke Lake.
The main trail is a frequently traveled path with fairly consistent gentle ascent and the occasional plank bridge crossing a drainage. Dense foliage and humid terrain are typical for the west side of the Continental Divide.
This 1.4 KM (⅞ mile) access trail leads to the obvious trail junction at a large tree where the left 1.6 KM (1.0 mile) branch accesses the length of the east shoreline along Sherbrooke Lake. The right 2.2 KM (1½ mile) one way branch begins the more aggressive hike to Paget Lookout. Each is a modest half day hike and both can be completed on the same mission. Sherbrooke Lake is a relatively level hike whereas the Paget Lookout hike requires a sustained and aggressive elevation gain of 520 m (1,705 ft) in the second half of the right branch. Normally, it is wise to complete the hike with the greater elevation first (i.e. Paget Lookout before Sherbrooke Lake).
The Sherbrooke Lake trail curls through shallow dips and gentle gains on groomed trail. Topping one rise reveals a Ptarmigan standing in the center of the trail. The shiny, beautiful bird is comfortable with my subdued presence and allows a close-up photograph. We hike and bob together for about 3 meters (10 feet) until Ptarmigan waddles into dense foliage at trail side.
Excellent, well defined trail continues through forest and across multiple plank bridges over wetland until spectacular views of 2,695 m (8,842 ft) Mount Ogden on the left gauges progress towards and along the shoreline of Lake Sherbrooke.
Trail travelling north along the east shore of the lake undulates along and above the shoreline with frequent opportunities to engage a small side trail leading directly to the shoreline for a magnificent, unfettered view across the lake to the expansive and impressive east face of Mount Ogden. Trail quality is more diverse but twists and turns along the shoreline present a series of cinematic treasures along the route. The lake is obviously a favorite for fisherpeople. In early season it is likely low level portions of the trail may be flooded. Surrounding mountain views are dramatic.
Trail becomes more rugged near the lake. Where the 1.6 KM (1.0 mile) distance ends is uncertain because the trail continues north along the east shoreline of the lake to the far end. The Gem Trek map shows a 1.7 KM (1+ mile) distance from the Paget L/O trail junction to the end of the lake, combined with the 1.4 KM (⅞ mile) access from the Wapta Lake Picnic Area, for a total stand-alone hike distance of 3.1 KM (2 miles) one way. Magnificent scenery is non-stop, up close and spectacular. Cold water gains immediate depth near shoreline.
The return hike is the reverse of the access hike via the same trail with a different and equally spectacular visual perspective. Every trail always offers new features and views to share in the reverse direction. Sherbrooke Lake is an excellent, easy and worthwhile hike for beginners with sensible footwear.
Following an early morning start from Calgary, the hikes to Paget Lookout and Sherbrooke Lake have left time remaining in the day for one more short adventure in the nearby Lake O'Hara area where the hike to Ross Lake will be a fitting end to an excellent hiking day in Yoho National Park.
Photographs for this hike to Sherbrooke Lake in Yoho National Park were taken on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Spectacular Yoho National Park is located in British Columbia on the west side of the Alberta / British Columbia border in western Canada.