Rummel Lake: The Perfect Rocky Mountain Winter Hike

Whether it’s for engagement photos, an elopement shoot, or adventurous wedding day portraits, the Canadian Rockies offers some truly spectacular areas to frame your perfect romantic moment. One such spot is Rummel Lake near the small town of Canmore, Alberta.

We love showing off this unique location that we’re lucky enough to call our home (and our “office”!), so we took a little hike over the weekend to Rummel Lake. If you and your partner are outdoorsy types, this spot is perfect for a surprise engagement or adventure wedding photography shoot.

Starting your Rummel Lake hike

Distance: 6.9 miles (11.1km)

Duration: 3-4 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Gain: 1,446 feet (441m)

What you should consider bringing in winter: snowshoes, crampons, gaiters, trekking poles

Things to keep in mind: dogs must be leashed on this trail, hikers should be bear aware, and some avalanche risks along parts of the trail

trekking through the forest near Mount Galatea

The hike to Rummel Lake is considered a moderately difficult one but is generally doable for most levels of fitness and ability. It’s not too strenuous, but it’s definitely a good workout!

engagement hike in the Canadian rockies

To start your hike, drive the Smith-Dorrien trail to the junction leading to Mount Engadine Lodge and the Mount Shark Cross Country Ski Complex. Once you park the car, get all your gear on and pack everything you’ll need for the duration of the hike. We definitely recommend bringing a couple of snacks and some water so you can stop and enjoy the views halfway through.

Canmore, Alberta

For a winter hike, you might need snowshoes. But the trail is often pretty snow-packed, so short spikes or hiking crampons may be all you need.

Now that you’re ready to start, you have roughly 5km ahead of you to reach Rummel Lake, where you’ll finish at an elevation of 7,250ft (2,210m). Along the way, you’ll see speckled snow greenery, dense forest, and a fresh, white winter day on the Rocky Mountains, hopefully under clear, crisp blue skies. Take a moment to stop and enjoy views of Tent Ridge and the Spray Lakes Reservoir as you climb.

(One thing to note is that you should be bear-aware in this area and watch out for the exposed tree roots along the trail!)

Canmore hiking trails

Nearing the lake

As you continue along the trail, you’ll come to a break in the trees as a meadow opens up before you to reveal two mountains ahead: The Tower and Mount Galatea. Your destination, Rummel Lake, is nestled between these two peaks. It might look close, but you still have a little ways to go!

Back into the forest, the trail leads you through mossy woods. We can’t imagine a more peaceful place to hike! Soon you’ll pass by a small outhouse on your left. By now, you won’t be able to see much except the trees. 

Rummel Lake in winter sunshine

Spectacular Rummel Lake

But the second you clear the forest, the spectacular view of Rummel Lake, Mount Galatea, and The Tower explode forward to meet you. The nearly uniform ridges of Mount Galatea soar upwards to your right, and the snow-covered Rummel Lake sits peacefully beneath. 

Walking the length of Rummel Lake, you can’t help but feel in total awe of the quiet, and the majesty of this spectacular spot. 

Mount Galatea in Canmore

If you want to keep going, a faint ski trail leads to where Mount Galatea and The Tower converge. Keep in mind that this will add an extra 4.8km to your hike and is a much trickier climb. It would definitely require snowshoes in winter, but you will get incredible views of the horizon if you make it even halfway up there.

view of Rummel Lake

Searching for an adventurous way to celebrate an engagement or elopement? Luckily, vendors in the Rocky Mountains live and breathe hiking and the outdoors – it comes with the territory! You won’t struggle to find a photographer to accompany you and capture the moment. Check out our list of carefully curated vendors for more info!



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