Burstall Pass Trail - Alberta, Canada

Burstall Pass Trail - Alberta, Canada

Hello everyone!

I hope you have had a fantastic week and were able to get out for an adventure. This weeks adventure had us heading up the Burstall Pass trail. Its a 16km out and back trail with only about 250m elevation so we were hoping it wouldn't be too bad on some of the groups knees.

View from Burstall Pass Trail

The morning have been getting a bit chillier recently, especially in the mountains, so we decided to head out an hour later, at 9am instead. The weather in Calgary was blustery to say the least, the wind was quite hectic but the temperature was great at about 19C when I got in the car at 8.30 to go meet the rest of the group. The wind didn't stop all the way to the mountains. The whole day was really blustery, however the clear skies from Calgary and the warm weather definitely did change. Driving up Highway 541 from Longview to Highway 40, we passed through some rain and drizzle.

Burstall Glacier from Burstall Pass Trail

The trailhead for Burstall Pass is across the Smith-Dorian Trail to the Chester Lake Trailhead, which made it easy to find as we had been to Chester Lake a few times over the years. Charlotte and I had never done Burstall Pass trail but Sash, Nick and Lexton did it last week while we were at Vermilion Lakes. The rain let up as we got to the Burstall Pass parking lot which was fortuitous as I had forgotten to bring any type of rain gear.

View from Burstall Pass Trail in Alberta

The first three kilometres of the trail wind through woodland. Be careful in this area as a few people we spoke to reported seeing bears around here. We didn't see any, unfortunately. I would love to see a bear, most definitely at a distance though. I always take my long lens with me so I wouldn't need to get close at all to photograph them. There are a few meadows to the right of the trail but they are broken up by a few trees and you can only catch glimpses of the meadows but keep an eye out for these as there might be bears around.

Burstall Pass Trail in Alberta Canada

When you leave the trees, it opens out onto a flat area covered in bushes with streams weaving their way through. This runoff is from the glacier that you can see high in the mountain and heads down to the first of three lakes. The peaks surrounding this area are stunning and a few of them were covered in clouds which added to the moodiness of the whole day. When we left the trees for this flat area, the wind hit us like a hurricane. Ok not quite but it was blowing very hard and made me stumble once or twice. It was also very cold as the temperature was about 5C.

Hiking Burstall Pass Trail in Alberta

We continued on until we came to a stream that blocked our way. We could have gone through it but we would have gotten wet and that would just be unpleasant. We walked up stream a bit to see if we could find a place to cross and couldn't so we decided to get out of the wind and have lunch. We made our way back to the trees and had a quick lunch before heading back to the car. All in all we walked about 11 and a half kilometres.

Trail head at Burstall Pass Hike

Would I do this hike again? Yes, I would love to explore the area a bit more, specifically when the gale-force winds have died down and the rain has stopped. I might come in the winter to see the area covered in snow. I imagine it would look fantastic. It was an easy walk that didn't tire us out all that much and I think the glacier, again a blue sky will look phenomenal as well.

That's it for this weeks adventure. Send over your adventure tales, I love hearing about them.


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