Elevation: 1720 m
Elevation Gain: 80 m
Round Trip Distance: 9 km
Chephren Lake is named after Mount Chephren whose summit towers over 1.5 vertical kilometers above it. Chephren (also known as Khafra) was an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh who oversaw construction of the second largest of Giza’s pyramids. The naming of the peak and lake are a reference to the mountain’s strikingly pyramidal shape.
August 14 2016.
GPS Track: Chephren Lake
After a beautiful day at Wilcox Pass and an eventful attempt on Tangle Ridge, our family icefields camping adventure was drawing to a close as we awoke to sunny skies (after a night of violent storms) on Sunday morning. After enjoying the time-honored camping combo of instant oatmeal and instant coffee, we set our sights towards dismantling our camp and starting off on our short 4 hour drive home.
A cute baby thwarted our initial attempts to take down the tent. Apparently, she was having too much fun at the Columbia Icefields and didn’t want to go home. Unwilling to let us leave, we had to bribe her with the promise of a hike on the way home before she agreed to let us dismantle the tent!
Once Mera let us pack up our campsite, we made our way to Waterfowl Lakes 45 minutes south along the Icefields Parkway (and funded public programs with our generous contribution to a Sheriff’s speed trap along the way). Having never hiked in this area, we decided to follow the official trail to Chephren Lake. From the hiking trailhead, we set off to explore the campground in search of “facilities” (remember that instant coffee that we drank earlier?) before crossing the Mistaya River on an impressive bridge.
Brianne and Mera pause to enjoy the view of the fast-flowing Mistaya River.
The Return of the Hiking Baby: looks like someone's happy to be at it again!
After ascending a small hill, we reached the fork in the road: left for Cirque Lake, right for Chephren Lake.
This is about the extent of the views along the trail: brief glimpses of peaks through the trees. Chephren Lake better be damned pretty because the hike to it sure isn’t!
Crux and Brianne avail themselves of some logs in an ultimately futile attempt to avoid soupy terrain.
Looks like the trail could use more logs... The trail ended up being so muddy that Brianne, Crux and I all had to stand in the Mistaya River to clean our boots/legs on the way home!
A rare view of something other than muddy forest! I must note, however, that this view wasn’t actually along the trail; I had to go a little off-piste to reach this marshy meadow but, as you can see, the views were well worth it! After taking a couple photos, Brianne, Mera, Crux and I plunged back into the mud to finish off the longer-than-expected hike to the lake (the Parks Canada website lists Chephren Lake as being 3.5 km one-way but my GPS track suggests that the hike is at least a kilometer longer than that each way).
At the lake at last! Brianne and Mera soak in the view that was ABSOLUTELY worth a boring/muddy 4ish kilometer-long hike to reach! This may well be one of the prettiest places that I’ve visited in the Rockies!
Crux takes care of the mud on his paws in scenic fashion.
A panorama fit for a
king Pharoah! Click to see larger.
Towering Howse Peak is reflected in Chephren’s calm waters.
Beautiful waterfalls pour forth from the glacier at Howse Peak’s foot. No wonder those who climb Mount Chephren rave about the bivouac here!
A daddy-daughter mountain moment.
The Great Pyramid itself: massive Mount Chephren!
Lunch spots don’t get any prettier than this.
After enjoying a lovely lakeside lunch, we packed Ms. Mera back up in preparation for the muddy hike out.
Wow. Just wow. One last photo of the wow before leaving.
Brianne and Mera tramp up a very brief but very steep hillside as we leave the beautiful lake behind.
A rare view (towards the Murchison massif) as we complete our muddy hike home. Chephren Lake proved to be a perfect conclusion to a spectacular weekend in the mountains with my girls! Thank God Mera insisted that we stop for another hike on the short drive home from the Columbia Icefields!