KANANASKIS, Alta – Several trails and backcountry campgrounds in Kananaskis Country are closed due to lingering snow conditions at higher elevations into the summer.
Five backcountry campgrounds in Peter Lougheed and Spray Lakes provincial parks, including Lillian Lake, Ribbon Lake, Aster Lake, Three Isle Lake and Turbine remain closed until at least July 6.
An avalanche hazard warning is also in place until further notice.
Officials say the snowpack melt in Kananaskis is approximately four weeks behind typical melt this year, and although it may be summer, snowy trail conditions persist and avalanches continue to be possible.
“In the past, we have delayed the opening of select sub-alpine backcountry campgrounds; however, we cannot recall a season quite like this one,” said John Muir, director of communications for Alberta Environment and Parks in an email.
“We are currently experiencing an unusually deep snowpack and lingering winter conditions in areas above 2,100 metres.”
In some cases, toilets are inaccessible, tent pads are completely buried, difficult to locate or extremely muddy, while designated and marked trails are extremely difficult to navigate, making for unsafe travel conditions relative to what would be expected for this time of year.
The Chester Lake area, including trails leading to Chester Lake, is closed to prevent further trail damage during as snow melts.
In addition, the Highwood Pass area, Highwood Meadows, Pocaterra Cirque, Ptarmigan Cirque and Arethusa Cirque are closed to reduce environmental degradation during wet and snowy conditions and to protect the fragile alpine environment
Muir said there is no timeline for opening trails and backcountry campgrounds.
“Conditions will be reassessed on a weekly basis,” he said.
“Albertans are reminded to check advisories, trail reports and weather forecasts before heading to the mountains.”