Penstock Loop Snowshoeing log
A track of all my snowshoeing trips to the Penstock Loop

This is one of a few trips I repeat many times, so all trips are logged here, as many do not need their own full page.

Click to view full map
Click here to download a pdf with the Kananaskis route information.

Distance - 4.8km
Elevation Gain - 50m

The Penstock Loop is an easy official snowshoe trail in the Kananaskis Lakes area.
It starts from the Canyon trailhead, and heads north across the Lower Lake dam and crosses Highway 746.
The trail follows a rise above the road, then follows along the Kent Creek sluiceway - built to redirect Kent Creek to flow into Lower Kananaskis Lake.
The creek used to flow into the Kananaskis River just downstream of the lake, and was redirected to add water to the Pocaterra dam.

After the sluiceway, the trail heads east intro the trees, and along an old cutline, then some newer trail through a great mixed forest.
On the north east corner, the trail crosses a small creek which does not always freeze over by December. Later in the year, it is of no concern.
Conveniently, if the creek is not frozen, you can follow it downstream (east) a short distance to a side road, cross it on the road, then follow back upstream
It adds only a small bit of distance to the day. The trail then continues past the creek back to Highway 746.

After the second crossing, the trail rolls up and down, never ascending or descending much total elevation, continuing through the forest.
The route is clear for the vast majority of this trail, and the snowshoe placards are found only at the beginning, one at the start of the trees past the sluiceway,
and a couple on each side of the road crossings. The rest of the way, you are on a wide, clear trail that needs no markings.

Up until 2011, one of the highlights of the trail was the Pocaterra Penstock - a wooden pipe carrying water from the dam to the power plant below.
The old penstock leaked like a sieve, and spewed water that froze into fantastic ice formations.
Unfortunately, over 2012, TransAlta replaced the pipe with a newer, underground one that does not leak, so the ice formations are no more.
The construction has finished as of January 2013, but has left a few changes in the trail that may or may not remain with time.

List of Snowshoe Trips

December 5, 2010

My first venture to the Penstock Loop included a lot of exploring, and a detour at the NE corner to avoid a not-completely-frozen creek.
Full trip report

February 13, 2011

A work trip on the standard loop with lots of snow.
Full trip report

March 11, 2011

Another work trip - this time snowing buckets all day long.
Full trip report

March 12, 2011

Back the next day with fresh snow, and lots of sun!
Full trip report

February 16, 2013

Work trip. We had a reasonably nice day, though no new snow, and had to go trekking through the trees to find some.

The Kent Creek sluiceway.

The group rejoins the main trail after some bushwhacking.

The new open area after the Penstock construction.

November 30, 2014

A short trip on a cold day, breaking new trail through some 50-70cm of fresh snow.
Full trip report

Photos taken by Rachel

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