A joy to visit on skis or snow shoes in the winter. A longer trek in the summer months if avalanche conditions are safe. The Haig glacier via the French or Robertson glaciers is worthwhile place to visit.
If you are coming from Canmore, head out on the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes road past the Grassi Lakes and the Goat Creek day use parking. Continue on the unpaved Spray lakes road for about 45km. Turn right at the Burstall pass parking just opposite the large Chester lake parking, this is about 3 kms from the Engadine Lodge road. Park here in this large parking lot. Follow the Burstall trail west along a dirt road for 3-400 meters then take the first cutline to the left. This is right where there is a hikers trail sign signaling right. If you follow the wider road right this will take you to Burstall pass. Take the left route and go straight till you reach the creek (French Creek), resisting the temptation to turn right at two places on the trail. Once you have crossed the creek with should be iced over in the winter months. Keep to the left of this stream following the obvious alpine ski trail up and around to the left and above three waterfalls to the base of the French glacier. Here you leave the forest and cross the moraine to the toe of the glacier. Roping up here is the safe way to go but you will notice almost no evidence of cravasses the whole way up to the top of the ice field which is the Haig glacier. From here you can descend the same way or traverse over to the Sir Douglas Robertson col pick your way up and over and drop down and out the Robertson glacier joining up with the Brustall pass route and out to the same parking spot
Fastest is in winter if conditions warrant. Can be done in the summer months but will be longer and less rewarding. Summer involves more forest travel as the creek will not be iced over. Winter on snowshoes or skis. If the weather is good you should be able to follow the route without problems.
Don't leave items visible in the back of your car. Why tempt fate
You are not allowed to camp in the area.
Spray Lake Ranger Station. (403) 678-5533
Alberta Tourist Visitor Centre (403) 678-5277
The Alpine Club of Canada (403) 678-3200, ext 1
weather office or (403) 762-2088 for weather conditions
Alpine Club of Canada
Staying at the club in Canmore is about 26$ Canadian for members and a little more for non-members. It can get quite crowded in the summer so a reservation is recommended.
There are other campgrounds in the area if desired.
Spray Lakes West Shore Campground has 50 sites (403) 591-7226
There is also the Alpine Club of Canada lodge in Canmore with rooms and excellent facilities. The Alpine Club of Canada (403) 678-3200, ext 1
Engadine Lodge is a good base camp if you want some comfort at the end of the day.
Box 40025 Canmore, Alberta T1W 3H9
Tel.: (403) 678-4080
Web address www.mountengadine.com