Fortress Lake

- 4 Kilometers
- Easy to Intermediate
- Half Day

Hiking, Biking and Camping permitted


Fortress Lake

Access: Hwy40, then gravel road (across from gas stn) to the old Fortress ski hill.
Parking: Above Ski Lodge
Nearby Camping: Eau Claire

Hike approx. 1.5 hrs one way; Cutthroat fishing July-August

This isn't one of the more exciting hikes as you walk a road up one side of a ski hill and down the other, but when you get up to Fortress ridge you'll get a marvelous panoramic view of the surrounding mountain ranges, plus it's only an hour's hike and the fishing's pretty good. The only drawback is the small window of oppurtunity if you're fishing, such as July-August, because the Lake lay nestled in the towering shadows of "The Fortress" most of the time, making it slow to thaw and early to freeze.

Park above the lodge and follow the road up the hill to your right, and as you crest that you'll see the winding path make it's way back up the next hill to the top of Farside Chairlift on Fortress Ridge. This isn't a difficult lake to find and although there's a trail guiding your descent to the Lake, you could probably pick your own route down without too much difficulty.

There's good access around the lake and the cutthroat are actually a pretty good size, better than average for these high mountain lakes. I've been there several times and have always been able to catch the limit.

So for a short trip to some decent fishing this is a pretty good bet, and if for some reason you don't catch anything, you can whip out the camera you're sure to have with you so you can get some great shots from along Fortress Ridge. You can do better than my pictures I'm sure, so send me some.

And one last note ... in April of 2004 Resorts of the Canadian Rockies announced that Fortress Ski Hill was no longer economically viable and they were shutting it down. Even though I hadn't skied there in years it's kind of sad to see it go, and as for any future plans in store for the place, the last I heard was that RCR had plans for an Environmental Education Center, whatever that is.

1967 - 2004

UPDATE: Cat skiing began at Fortress in January 2012 ... [Read More]