If you’re looking for an easy hike with a big pay off, then Burstall Pass is the trail for you. The vast views and stunning scenery make this a must-do hike. The trailhead is located 35km south of Canmore on the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Trail, across from the Chester Lake parking area.
I did this hike with my friends Dom and Amber and our pups Pippin, Rosie and Easy. It’s a very dog friendly trail for pooches of all sizes. We began by walking down an old fire road that gradually gained elevation and took us past the shores of Mud Lake. It led us into a forested area that eventually opened up to a meadow where there is normally a network of small creeks that you need to walk through. Being that is was so late in the season, these creeks were mostly dried up when we went.
Once we crossed the meadow, we reached the part of the trail where we really began to gain elevation. It was muddy in some spots with a small amount of snow, but the trail was in fairly good condition for the most part. Once we left the tree-line we proceeded up a series of ridges referred to as the headwall, and soon after reached Burstall Pass. We were surrounded with views of the many mountains and glaciers around us, which included Robertson Glacier and French Glacier.
The weather was amazing and there was some snow on the ground, so we had some fun playing in it and building snowmen. Easy, Ambers dog who has somewhat of a snow people complex, had fun destroying our snowmen. As the pups frolicked, we laid out a blanket and ate lunch as we enjoyed the views. After hanging out and taking some pictures, we began our descent.
This hike takes 5-7 hours and is 15km round trip, with a total of 470m elevation gain.