You know those lovely lazy weekend mornings when its crisp outside but you're curled up under the warm blankets and it would be so divine to just snuggle down, read a book and sip tea for the next few hours?
I've had a few weekends like that recently, but when the fresh snow from a few days earlier has settled heavily beneath the trees and the sunlight is streaming in, it's prime time to head outdoors and explore! I'm going to let you in on a little Kananaskis favourite of mine that even on my laziest days, is guaranteed to get me pulling on the wool socks, grabbing the snowshoes, texting the girls and heading out the door.
Rummel Lake Snowshoe Hike
Rummel can be accessed from either Canmore via The Three Sisters Parkway or Kananaskis by driving down the 40 South until you reach the road closure (December-June), take a right toward Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and continue along the Smith Doreen Trail until you reach the sign for Mount Shark. The entrance to the hike is located on the Smith Doreen Trail opposite the Mount Shark turn-off. You will often see other hikers parked on the side of the road at the trail head and this is the best spot to park up. Alternately there is plenty of off-street parking in the car parks over the little bridge and is only a 10 minute walk back to the trail head. It's hard not to miss the Mount Shark sign but if you are a little unsure the first time you are heading out there, I would recommend getting the map up on your phone before you leave as there is no mobile reception out there.
The hike is gentle and undulating, winding through the trees and past a dense section of forest. Generally the trail is packed down enough to make it easily identifiable keeping in mind that there are a few options of ways to hike up through the trees that all meet up to the trail. These alternative paths are mostly made by skiers and split boarders coming back down from the hike. Whilst the trail is nicely packed for snowshoeing, if you step outside the trail you can quickly find yourself thigh deep in Kananaskis Country's fluffy pow. Marshall loves wading through the snow (we love that it tuckers him out so that he sleeps well!) and he demonstrates how deep it actually gets out here.
It takes around 40-50 minutes to reach some gorgeous views overlooking Spray Lakes at which point you can choose to head on back or continue on to the Rummel Lake campground. To stay at the campground over winter you must have a permit. It is only $12 per person and reservations can be made online at Alberta Parks. I haven't stayed out at the campground, but do need to harden up a little and tick winter camping off the bucket list!
The trail is a one way in, one way out, so head on back the same way you came in. Skiing or snowboarding back out is a fabulous option and one that we are going to do next time we don't have the puppy in tow. There are so many options for fresh tracks and the snow is beautiful for riding. Beware of hikers however and hikers, keep an ear out to ensure no surprises! When you reach the carpark once again, the real reason this snowshoe adventure quickly became one of my favourites is revealed...
Mount Engadine Lodge
Drop off the snowshoes at the car and shake out the snow, because you are in for an absolute treat in just a few minutes! A short walk up the road toward Mount Shark and before the bridge, you will see a sign on your left for Mount Engadine Lodge. Turn up this road and 5 minutes walk further is the Lodge. There is not usually much parking available here so you may need to leave the car out on the Smith Doreen Trail or Mount Shark carpark.
Now here is where you need to have timed your hike right, because between 2pm - 5pm it is Afternoon Tea time at the Lodge and I have been known to have exceeded my usual pace at Rummel in order to make it back in time for their write-home-about-it Afternoon Tea. Seriously. #strudelmotivation is high with this one. I literally did write home about it, particularly the Sunday Strudel and coming from a German background, claiming that this is a strudel that my Oma would be impressed with is saying something! To whoever makes these delectable sweets at Mount Engadine Lodge - please teach me your ways!
Well priced at $15 for a decadent Strudel and Hot Buttered Rum, all of the Afternoon Tea treats and Charcuterie Boards are accompanied by bottomless Banff Tea Company tea, organic fair-trade coffee from Mountain Blends Coffee Roasters (both wonderful local businesses) and creamy hot chocolate to warm those little fingers after your outdoor adventures and crackling fireplaces to thaw the toes by. Whilst I haven't had the chance to indulge in dinner here, the menu looks incredible and judging by the Afternoon Tea experience, it's a must on the dining to do-list! Most definitely take the opportunity to dine in if you are staying in Accommodation at the Lodge.
Whist Leonardo DiCaprio is no longer galloping around the area, if weather permits, take your buttered rum out to the lodge deck which overlooks the beautiful Spray Lakes and mountains that featured in The Revenant. As the weather warms, you may catch sight of some of the local moose, elk, coyotes or beavers wandering around. It truly is a hidden little gem if you want to get off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the beautiful raw wilderness of Kananaskis Country.
**All opinions expressed are my own and this is not a sponsored post. I hope that you enjoy your adventures! x