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14 easy hikes in Kananaskis that will take your breath away

Are you looking for easy hikes in Kananaskis? You came to the right place. 

Bordering the town of Canmore and the incredible Banff National Park, Kananaskis Country is a dream destination for outdoor recreation.

Kananaskis Country comprises multiple provincial parks, an ecological reserve, and various recreation areas.

It proves to be a quiet and beautiful retreat.

Read on to discover 14 light but worthwhile easy hiking trails in Kananaskis.

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In a hurry, these are the best hikes in the Kananaskis area

Overview of best easy hikes near Kananaskis

Here’s a comparison table of all the hikes that we cover in this post.

Read on for a short description of all the hikes.

The best easy hikes in Kananaskis

Distance Difficulty level Route Type Highlights
Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Alberta Wedge Pond Loop

1 km

Easy

Loop

Beautiful views of the lake and mountains
Engine bridge across the Bow River in Canmore Canada Bow River Loop Trail

2.1km

Easy

Loop

Stunning views of the mountains and the bright turquoise glacier-fed river
Kananaskis River near Canmore Alberta Canada Flowing Water Trail

2.1 km

Easy

Loop

Amazing views of the surrounding rivers and mountain range
Heart Creek is one of the easy hikes in Kananaskis that can also be done in the winter Heart Creek Trail

2.8 km one way

Easy

Out & back

The multiple stream crossings and the small waterfall
Troll Falls in Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada Troll Falls

3.7 km

Easy

Loop

The waterfall – frozen in the colder winter month
one of the best easy hikes in Kananaskis leads to Grassi Lakes Grassi Lakes Trail

2 km one way

Moderate

Out & back

The beautiful turquoise Grassi Lakes
Grotto Canyon is one of the best hikes in Canmore in Winter Grotto Canyon Trail

2.1 km one way

Easy

Out & back

Nukshuk graveyard, a cave and a waterfall
Ptarmigan Cirque Ptarmigan Cirque Trail

4.5 km

Moderate

Loop

A meadow clearing where you will be surrounded by views of beautiful mountains
A beautiful and easy winter hike in the provincial parks of Kananaskis Fullerton Loop

6.8 km

Easy

Loop

The meadows with wildflowers, and the experience of hiking through the forest
Rawson Lake, an easy hike in Kananaskis Rawson Lake Trail and Sarrail Ridge

3.9 kilometers to Rawson Lake, 5.5 kilometers including Sarrail Ridge one way

Easy to Rawson Lake, Moderate to Difficult to Sarrail Ridge

Out & back

The view of the lake at the base of a large rock face
The Blackshale Suspension Bridge in Kananaskis Blackshale Suspension Bridge via Black Prince

3.1 km one way

Easy

Out & back

 The opportunity to walk across the Blackshale Suspension Bridge
Watridge Trail

3.7 km one way

Easy

Out & back

The emerald green Watridge lake
Chester Lake Trail

4.65 km one way

Moderate

Out & back

The large and beautiful meadow surrounded by the mountains
Upper Kananaskis Lake Trail

15.7 km

Moderate

Loop

The turquoise-blue of the Upper Kananaskis Lake

How we made our selection of easy Kananaskis hikes?

Our selection is based on the distance of the trail, elevation gain, and hikers’ reviews.

Sometimes a trail can be officially marked as moderate even though hiking it may feel like a walk in the park.

Therefore, we not only mention the official ratings of the hike but we also include what previous hikers thought of the trail.

This way this post is experience-based and more reliable.

To make it easy to find your next hike we sorted the list below on hiking distance.

Best Kananaskis hikes

Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Alberta
Wedge Pond in autumn

Wedge Pond Loop

  • Location: Spray Valley Provincial Park
  • Distance: 1 kilometer
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 30 minutes
  • Elevation gain: 33 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • When to go: Year-Round
  • Highlights: Accessible hike with beautiful views of the lake and mountains

Short description of the trail

Wedge Pond Loop takes hikers through the forest and around the beautiful pond.

Stunning mountain views are also visible from the trail.

The trail is well maintained, and portions of it towards the end tend to be a bit more narrow than the rest.

Towards the end of the trail, the number of trees dwindles, and the views of the mountain are revealed more often.

Although the trail takes about a half hour from start to finish, there are multiple ways to extend the experience.

Along the trail, you can find spots for picnics, fire pits, and more.

If you’re visiting this trail during the summer, bring a swimsuit as there are spots for wading and swimming along the trail.

This is a great trail for families with small children.

Not only is the trail short and considered an easy hike, but the option to swim, picnic, and more can turn this short hike into a day-long excursion.

Directions

Drive down Trans Canada Highway AB-1 W. Take exit 118 onto Kananaskis Trail Highway AB-40S.

Turn into the Wedge Pond Day Use Area to find parking.

Where to start the Wedge Pond Loop hike

The trailhead is marked by a sign and is located near the outhouses nearby the parking lot.

What people are saying about this hike

This is a quick and easy loop! Great for getting outdoors during the day.

This trail is really popular because it’s easy to walk and it’s beautiful! I love coming here with my family.

Conclusion

The Wedge Pond Loop is a great trail for all fitness levels!

Hikers of all ages and capabilities can enjoy the short and level route around the lake and the views of the mountains.

Engine bridge across the Bow River in Canmore Canada

Bow River Loop Trail

  • Location: Canmore Nordic Center Provincial Park
  • Distance: 2.1 kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 26 minutes round trip
  • Elevation gain: 54 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • When to go: Year-Round
  • Highlights: Stunning views of the mountains and the bright turquoise glacier-fed river

Short description of the trail

The Bow River Loop Trail is easily accessed from downtown Canmore, Alberta. The highlight of the trail is the river it is named after. For the most part, the trail follows the course of this glacier-fed river.

The trailhead is located at the impressive age-old steel girder railway bridge, referred to as the engine bridge. The photogenic bridge has been converted into a pedestrian bridge but it is a relic of the time that Canmore was a mining town and a railway connected the town and mine.

If you are planning a visit to Canmore, check out our list of best Airbnbs in Canmore.

This hike is great for all ages and all fitness levels.

It is well maintained: it is a wide trail that is partially paved, and partially gravel.

The Bow River Loop Trail can be enjoyed year-round, but read about what makes it a fantastic cold-weather destination on our list of 7 amazing Canmore winter hikes you have to do.

Directions

Bow River Loop Trail is easily accessed from downtown Canmore. On foot, walk along Main Street towards the Bow River. The road changes into Riverview Pl.

At the end of this street, a pathway gives out onto the bank of the river.

If you come by car, follow 8 Ave until it crosses the river. You can park your car in the parking lot just after the bridge.

Where to start the Bow River Loop Trail

The trailhead is located on the downtown side of the Engine Bridge but you can start the trail at any of the above points.

What people are saying about this hike

This is a short but really beautiful hike! I’m an amateur photographer and the trail has such incredible scenery that it made all of my pictures turn out incredible!

My kids and I love this trail – it’s beautiful and easy to walk. It’s also great if you have really young kids who are still in strollers. The trail is paved and flat.

Conclusion

Bow River Loop Trail is a beautiful experience for all ages and fitness levels.

It’s is a can’t-miss hike for photographers or anyone who would enjoy a beautiful picturesque view!

The image of the turquoise glacier-fed river framed by trees, with mountains looming in the background is one you will want to capture and remember for years to come.

Kananaskis River near Canmore Alberta Canada
The flowing water trail offers many picturesque views on the Kananaskis River

Flowing Water Trail

  • Location: Bow Valley Provincial Park
  • Distance: 2.1 kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 1 hour
  • Elevation gain: 74 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • When to go: The trail is open between March and November
  • Highlights: The views of the surrounding rivers and mountain ranges

Short description of the trail

Flowing Water Trail is an easy loop that is perfect for all fitness levels and all ages.

Many families that include small children have described it as an enjoyable hike for both them and their little ones.

This beautiful hike takes you through a thick forest and alongside the Kananaskis River.

The hike includes some sets of stairs and towards the highest points of elevation, there are stunning views of the river and the mountains, including Mount John Laurie, also named Mount Yamnuska.

Be advised that this trail closes during the winter months, so double-check that the trail is still open if you’re visiting towards the end of the season.

Directions

Drive west on the Trans-Canada Highway and take the Bow Valley Provincial Park Exit (exit 114).

Take the first right into the Willow Rock Campground where you will be able to park.

Where to start the Flowing Water Trail hike

The trailhead is located by the shower building in Willow Rock Campground.

What people are saying about this hike

Basic but beautiful hike! Parts of it get kind of narrow but nothing too extreme.

Conclusion

This short hike includes mild elevation gain, making this hike a great option for hikers of all levels.

Heart Creek is one of the easy hikes in Kananaskis that can also be done in the winter
Heart Creek Trail can also be hiked in the winter (Photo by Artix Kreiger 2)

Heart Creek Trail

  • Location: Heart Creek Provincial Recreation Area
  • Distance: 2.8 kilometers one way
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 302 meters
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • When to go: Year-round
  • Highlights: The multiple stream crossings and the small waterfall

Short description of the trail

Heart Creek Trail is a beautiful option for hikers of all skill levels.

The first 500 meters of this Kananaskis hiking trail are somewhat steep – this is where a majority of the elevation gain occurs. The path then follows the river bank and leads into a canyon.

The trail is beautiful and along the way, you will experience stunning mountain views.

There are also several crossings along the way. At the end it gives out on a canyon wall which is popular among climbers. Although it is a bit hidden you can also find a small waterfall at the end.

The trail is usually a little slippery in the winter so microspikes are recommended in this season.

Directions

Take Trans-Canada Highway AB-1W until you come to Exit 105 towards Lac Des Arcs. Next, turn left onto range road 91A and you will come across the parking lot.

Be advised that as of June 2020, the Municipal District of Bighorn has begun construction of a flood mitigation project for Heart Creek. Due to this project, the informal parking area next to Highway 1 is not available. The Heart Creek Day Use Area remains accessible.

Where to start the Heart Creek Trail hike

The trailhead is located off of the parking lot, next to the picnic tables.

What people are saying about this hike

Great trail! There are bathrooms near the trailhead.

Beautiful trail with great views. It’s a great hike for all skill levels as well.

Conclusion

Heart Creek Trail is a beautiful excursion.

The first part may be a bit boring as it follows the highway but the fun part starts as soon as you enter the canyon. Views from the beginning of the canyon are just as beautiful as the views at the end – meaning that hikers of all capabilities can have a great experience regardless of how much of the hike they wish to do.

Troll Falls in Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada
Close-up of the Troll Falls (Photo by Artix Kreiger 2)

Troll Falls

  • Location: Kananaskis Country
  • Distance: 3.7 kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 176 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • When to go: Year-Round
  • Highlights: The waterfall – frozen in the colder winter months!

Short description of the trail

The Troll Falls Loop is a short and sweet Kananaskis day hike with great views!

The route is well maintained and new handrails have recently been installed.

The trail can grow slippery, even in the warmer months, as you approach the waterfall.

The sight of the waterfall is stunning and the cold weather months make it even more so: the waterfall freezes during the winter.

If hiking this trail during the winter months, it is advisable to wear ice cleats.

Trolls Falls can be enjoyed year-round but read about what makes it a fantastic cold-weather destination on our list of 7 amazing Canmore winter hikes you have to do.

Directions

Drive to the Stoney Trail day use parking area

Where to start the Troll Falls hike

The trailhead is located near the Stoney Parking Lot – look for the Stoney Trail head sign.

What people are saying about this hike

Nice hike. The shorter option can be a bit more crowded but not too bad. Come early if you want to avoid other people, or take the longer hike.

Great for all members of the family, including our dogs!

Conclusion

This trail is beautiful throughout the year.

If you come during the winter months, you’ll get to see the incredible sight of the frozen waterfall.

one of the best easy hikes in Kananaskis leads to Grassi Lakes
Grassi Lakes

Grassi Lakes Trail

  • Location: Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
  • Distance: 2 kilometers one way
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Time needed: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 250 meters
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • When to go: Year-Round
  • Highlights: The beautiful turquoise Grassi Lakes

Short description of the trail

The beautiful Grassi Lakes Trail hike provides two options of varying difficulties. About 100 meters into the hike, you will come across a fork in the road with a sign labeling one route as “Easy” and one as “More Difficult”.

The trail marked “Easy” is open throughout the year. It follows an old road and is wide and well maintained.

The “More Difficult” trail lives up to its name but rewards hikers with stunning views of the lakes. If you are hiking during the winter months, this trail may be closed due to ice that may form on the path.

If you hike on either one of these trails, ensure that you are sticking to the designated trail as the route will take you through a wildlife corridor and staying on the trail will help protect and preserve the natural flora and fauna.

Grassi Lakes Trail can be enjoyed year round, but read about what makes it a fantastic cold weather destination on our list of 7 amazing Canmore winter hikes you have to do.

Directions

Drive on Three Sisters Parkway AB-742 to Ken Richie Way in Kananaskis which you will find approximately 2 km past the Canmore Nordic Center.

Turn left onto the Ken Richie Way and head down the hill. Continue driving until you see the Grassi Lakes Day Use Area Parking.

Where to start the Grassi Lakes trail hike

The trailhead is to the right side of the parking lot when facing Ken Richie Way – there is a sign marking the trailhead.

What people are saying about this hike

If you hike this during the winter, spikes are a must!

Beautiful hike! The view of the lake made the whole trip worth it.

Conclusion

This popular hike is great for all fitness levels.

You will be able to see incredible views of the landscape, especially the sparkling turquoise lake while hiking a well-maintained dirt-packed trail.

Grotto Canyon is one of the best hikes in Canmore in Winter
Grotto Canyon is breathtaking in Winter (Photo by Luke Hooper)

Grotto Canyon Trail

  • Location: Bow Valley Provincial Park
  • Distance: 2.1 kilometers one way
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 90 minutes – 2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 390 meters
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • When to go: Year-Round
  • Highlights: Inukshuk graveyard, a cave, and a waterfall

Short description of the trail

The Grotto Canyon trail is a perfect adventure where you will get a unique and memorable experience no matter what time of the year you choose to hike this trail.

At the beginning of the hike, you will follow some powerlines to the Baymag Mineral Processing Facility. If you hear the loud noises from the facility as you approach, do not worry. The noises fade away quickly as you proceed down the trail.

During the winter months, you may have the unique opportunity to hike on the frozen creek through the bottom of the canyon.

If you are able to do this, you will get the unique opportunity to see some ancient Hopi pictographs on the rock walls of the canyon.

These pictographs are estimated to be anywhere from 500 to 1,300 years old.

If you are hiking during the winter months, there may be ice and we advise that you wear ice cleats during this time.

Grotto Canyon Trail can be enjoyed year-round, but read about what makes it a fantastic cold-weather destination on our list of 7 amazing Canmore winter hikes you have to do.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

The Grotto Canyon hike can be found 10 minutes from Canmore. Drive on the Bow Valley Trail Road ( highway 1A) until you reach the Grotto Canyon Trail Parking Lot.

Where to start the Grotto Canyon hike

The trailhead is located near the entrance of the parking lot.

What people are saying about this hike

An easy hike with incredible sights! If you’re hiking during the winter, you’ll need spikes.

Conclusion

Grotto Canyon Trail is a beautiful hike year-round and is an unforgettable lesson about the history of the region and the people who lived there long ago as well.

You can get the unique opportunity to see historic pictographs in person, climb into a cave, and more!

Ptarmigan Cirque
Ptarmigan Cirque

Ptarmigan Cirque Trail

  • Location: Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
  • Distance: 4.5 kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Time needed: 1.5 hours – 2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 210 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • When to go: June through November
  • Highlights: A meadow clearing where you will be surrounded by views of beautiful mountains

Short description of the trail

Ptarmigan Cirque Trail starts out challenging as the first kilometer is fairly steep.

Don’t let this discourage you – the rest of the trail flattens out and is considerably easier.

This hike is great for families.

Note that strollers may be challenging due to that first kilometer.

During the hike, you will come across a clearing where you will get to experience stunning views of the mountains.

You will also be able to experience wildlife and wildflowers up close. Big-horn sheep and mountain goats have been spotted along the road towards the trailhead and throughout the hike as well.

There is also a much larger animal that has been spotted along the trails: bears.

It is advised that you bring bear spray and be prepared just in case.

Dogs are also allowed on this trail but they must remain on a leash at all times.

Directions

Take the Trans-Canadian Highway and turn south onto Highway 40. Then park at the Highwood Meadows Day Use parking lot.

Where to start the Ptarmigan Cirque Trail hike

When starting at the Highwood Meadows Day Use parking lot, follow the Highwood Meadows Interpretive Trail and you will come across a sign for Ptarmigan Cirque and that is where the hike officially starts.

What people are saying about this hike

This is a nice loop. The first little part is steep but it gets much flatter after that so most of this hike is pretty easy.

This hike is so beautiful! It was cool to see the little waterfalls along the trail.

Conclusion

This initially challenging Kananaskis hike flattens out and becomes much easier after the first kilometer so you can focus on enjoying the views.

A beautiful and easy winter hike in the provincial parks of Kananaskis
A fairytale-like winter hike on a sunny day

Fullerton Loop

  • Location: Elbow River Provincial Recreation Area
  • Distance: 6.8 kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 239 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • When to go: Year-Round
  • Highlights:  The meadows with wildflowers, and the experience of hiking through the forest

Short description of the trail

Fullerton Loop is an easy trail that is able to be accessed throughout the year.

If you are hiking in the winter and there is snow on the ground, this is a potential snowshoeing trail.

Once you start this easy hiking trail in Kananaskis, you will proceed for 20 minutes before you reach the option to start the loop.

You can start with the stairs on the left, which will get most of the challenging elevation gain out of the way upfront.

If you prefer a gentle incline you need to opt for the path to the right. By doing the trail counter-clockwise you also leave the best sights for the last portion of the trail.

This trail takes you through the forest for most of the route, but there are moments where you will come to clearings and meadows. The views to Moose mountain from the top of the ridge are also pretty impressive.

During the summer, you may find these meadows are full of wildflowers.

Directions

From Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W, take exit 161A for AB-22 S toward Bragg Creek/Redwood Meadows. Merge onto AB-22.

Continue through the roundabout to stay on AB-22.

Turn right onto AB-66 W and then turn onto Ranger Creek Road to access the parking area. If that parking lot is complete you can also park your car in the Allen Bill Day use area at the opposite side of the street.

Where to start the Fullerton Loop hike

The trailhead is located near the parking area along Ranger Creek Road.

Restrooms are located at the Allen Bill Day Use parking area at the opposite side of Hwy 66.

What people are saying about this hike

If you go across the bridge first instead of the stairs, it makes the trail a little less challenging as you’ll be going down the stairs at the end instead of up the stairs at the beginning!

It’s a beautiful hike and the trail is in good shape.

Conclusion

Fullerton Loop is an easy trail that is enjoyable year round.

Rawson Lake, an easy hike in Kananaskis
The hike to Rawson Lake is easy, getting up to to top of the ridge requires a little more effort

Rawson Lake Trail and Sarrail Ridge

  • Location: Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
  • Distance: 3.9 kilometers to Rawson Lake, 5.5 kilometers including Sarrail Ridge one way
  • Difficulty level:  Easy to Rawson Lake, Moderate to Difficult to Sarrail Ridge
  • Time needed: 1.5 – 2 hours for Rawson Lake, 4-5 hours including Sarrail Ridge
  • Elevation gain: 1066 meters
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • When to go: April to September
  • Highlights: The view of the lake at the base of a large rock face

Short description of the trail

The Rawson Lake Trail and Sarrail Ridge hikes are amongst the best hikes in Kananaskis.

While this hike is classified as moderate, it is definitely still a hike that is possible for beginning hikers. Families with small children have been able to complete this hike successfully.

The first part follows a steady grade to lead to Rawson lake. The view of Rawson Lake is stunning. It is located at the base of a large rock face of Mount Sarrail and framed by trees.

From here the path leads around the lake and offers plenty of photo opportunities and places to sit, relax and take in the view.

The Sarrail Ridge addition is more difficult and consists of challenging rock scrambling as well as traditional hiking. At the end of this portion, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Upper Kananaskis Lake.

Throughout the summer months, portions of this trail may be closed due to bear activity so be sure to check the trail status before heading out this way.

If the trail is open, be sure to carry bear spray with you and follow any recommended trail guidelines.

Directions

From the Trans-Canada Highway, head east and take exit 118. Turn right onto Kananaskis Trail/AB-40S.

Next, turn right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail/AB-742.

Turn right onto Smith Dorrien Trail/AB-742 and then turn left onto Kananaskis Lake Trail.

The parking lot and the Day Use area will be at the end of the road.

Where to start the Rawson Lake Trail and Sarrail Ridge hike

The trailhead is located west of the Upper Kananaskis Lake parking lot.

What people are saying about this hike

Amazing hike!! The last part gets pretty steep but it doesn’t last long – the rest is easy to hike and the views are worth it!

Conclusion

This is a beautiful hike with options for every level of hiker.

The first part of the trail is manageable for many people, and the scrambling portion beyond that is available for those who would like more of a challenge.

The Blackshale Suspension Bridge in Kananaskis
The Blackshale Suspension Bridge

Blackshale Suspension Bridge via Black Prince

  • Location: Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
  • Distance: 3.1 kilometers one way
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 333 meters
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • When to go: Year-round, the bridge closes in winter after heavy snowfall
  • Highlights: The opportunity to walk across the Blackshale Suspension Bridge

Short description of the trail

The Blackshale Suspension Bridge via Black Prince trail is a well maintained and even trail with mild elevation gain.

The trail is wide as well, making it accessible to a variety of people.

The highlight of this trail is the Blackshale Suspension Bridge.

If you are on a time crunch, arrive early as the bridge is popular and there is a limited number of people allowed on it at any given time.

Arriving early will also give you a chance to experience the bridge without being rushed.

Directions

From the Trans-Canada Highway, head east and take exit 118.

Turn right onto Kananaskis Trail/AB-40S. Next, turn right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail/AB-742.

Turn right onto Smith Dorrien Trail/AB-742. Continue until the Mount Black Prince Day Use area. The parking will be on your right.

If you just want to take a quick glimpse of the bridge you can use the shortcut hikes from the suspension bridge to the Smith Dorrien Trail.

There is one trail on either side of the canyon (they’re used as a detour when the bridge is closed in winter) and both are about 300 meters one-way.

The trails give-out on the highway about 6.2 kilometer after the fork.  You won’t see the bridge from the highway but you can see the canyon.  Know that it is very undeep and narrow at this point.

There is no parking lot and it is not allowed to park on the shoulder of the highway.  Only stop here for a quick picture of the bridge, if you want to spend more time on the bridge we recommend doing the full hike.

Where to start the Blackshale Suspension Bridge via Black Prince hike

The trailhead for this hike is across the street from the parking lot.

What people are saying about this hike

This is a nice easy hike. The suspension bridge is definitely the highlight! Make sure you go early to enjoy it without too many others around.

Conclusion

Blackshale Suspension Bridge via Black Prince is an easy and manageable hike with a unique opportunity to cross a suspension bridge partway through!

Impressive mountain views seen from the Watridge Trail in Kananaskis
Impressive mountain views seen from the Watridge Trail (Photo by Artix Kreiger 2)

Watridge Trail

  • Location: Spray Valley Provincial Park
  • Distance: 3.7 kilometers one way
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 4-5 hours
  • Elevation gain: 194 meters
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • When to go: Between May and September
  • Highlights: The emerald green Watridge lake

Short description of the trail

Watridge Trail is a gentle but well-maintained trail with wide pathways that consist of gravel. In the winter the path is shared with cross-country skiers. If you hike this trail in the winter months please stick to the side to avoid accidentally destroying their tracks.

The trail takes you through a forested area and leads to the Watridge lake. You can periodically experience beautiful mountain views along the way.

The best view of the lake is probably from the Karst Spring Trail. This trail forks from the Watridge trail as you approach the lake.

The lake itself is emerald green and surrounded by mountains.

Directions

Drive on Highway 742, and turn onto Mount Shark Road. There is a parking lot at the end of the road.

Where to start the Watridge Trail hike

The trailhead is at the entrance to the Mount Shark Parking Lot

What people are saying about this hike

This trail is pretty easy and beautiful – but make sure you bring bug spray!

Conclusion

Watridge Trail is an easy somewhat longer hike that covers an old forestry road.

The journey is beautiful, but the lake at the end of the trail is stunning.

The Chester Lake seen from the Chester Lake Trail, a moderate hike in Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada
Autumn colors seen from the Chester Lake Trail

Chester Lake Trail

  • Location: Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
  • Distance: 4.65 kilometers one way
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Time needed: 3 hours
  • Elevation gain: 419 meters
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • When to go: Year-round (hike closes for 2 months in spring for nature preservation)
  • Highlights: The large and beautiful meadow surrounded by the mountains

Short description of the trail

Chester Lake Trail is an easy but incredible hike.

The beginning of the hike will be steep, but don’t let that intimidate you. After the first 2 kilometers, the trail levels out.

Most of the elevation gain is found in those initial 2 kilometers.

The trail continues and is generally wide and consists of a gravel or dirt packed pathway.

As you keep going, the trail opens up to a stunning meadow which may be covered in wildflowers during the summer months.

Stop and enjoy the view of the mountains from this point before continuing on to the lake.

When you arrive at the lake, you can choose to hike around it. This portion of the trail is narrower and you will need to watch out for rocks and roots. The views on the lake are very rewarding though.

A small detour of about 10 minutes takes you to elephant rocks, a great picnic stop.

Directions

From the Trans-Canada Highway, head east and take exit 118.

Turn right onto Kananaskis Trail/AB-40S. Next, turn right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail/AB-742.

Turn right onto Smith Dorrien Trail/AB-742 and continue for 20.2 kilometers.

The trailhead and parking will be on the right.

Where to start the Chester Lake Trail hike

The trailhead is located off of the Chester Lake parking lot.

What people are saying about this hike

This hike is great! We went in September and got to see some snow without having to deal with icy or difficult trails!

I was happy to see this trail was well maintained and in great condition – making it a smooth hike!

Conclusion

The beautiful Chester Lake Trail hike starts out with a short and steep uphill climb and levels out to become an easy trail that is manageable for many skill levels.

Upper Kananaskis Lake
Upper Kananaskis Lake

Upper Kananaskis Lake Trail

  • Location: Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
  • Distance: 15.7 kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Time needed: 5 hours
  • Elevation gain: 453 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • When to go: Year-round
  • Highlights: The turquoise-blue of the Upper Kananaskis Lake

Short description of the trail

The Upper Kananaskis Lake Trail is a long but gentle hike through some beautiful scenery.

The trail is well maintained and stays relatively flat and even throughout, but the moderate rating comes from the length of the trail.

This route will take you through a field of boulders, through forested areas, and across bridges. You will enjoy views on both the upper and lower Kananaskis lakes, both are natural lakes turned into water reservoirs. You will also come across the beautiful Kananaskis waterfall.

Although the trail hugs the lakeshore the entire time the majority of the hike takes you through the forest. There are however plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of the Upper Kananaskis Lake, its turquoise blue water and the impressive mountain range

The trail also has various day-use areas that include picnic tables.

Although the hike may be too long to complete with small children or those who are not as experienced hikers, portions of the hike combined with the day-use areas provide a great excursion.

If you are planning on hiking this trail, we advise arriving early. The beauty of this trail is no secret, and if you wait until later in the day you may find that the parking lot and the trail become more crowded.

If you arrive early you will be able to enjoy the scenery without as many people around.

Directions

Drive from the Trans-Canada Highway, and take exit 118 towards Kananaskis Country/Boundary Ranch/Mount Kidd R.V. Park.

Next, turn right onto Kananaskis Trail/AB-40 S. Next, turn right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail/AB-742 and follow this road for 13km until you reach the parking lot of the Upper Kananaskis Lake Day use area.

Where to start the Upper Kananaskis Lake Trail hike

The trailhead is located off of the Upper Kananaskis Lake Day Use Area. For the best experience we suggest hiking the trail counter clockwise.

What people are saying about this hike

Such a cool and enjoyable hike! I love the scenery and if you go early enough, the hike is really peaceful.

We went really early in the day which was good! By the time we left we noticed it was getting pretty busy so you should probably come early if you want to experience the hike with the minimal amount of other people.

Conclusion

This trail is rated above easy due to the length, but the path is fairly level and well maintained. The route takes you through beautiful forested areas with periodic views of the surrounding area.

Kananaskis hiking tips

  • It is recommended to wear proper hiking boots when you go hiking in the Kananaskis area.  If you are just going for a quick walk, you could opt for sneakers.
  • Hiking also becomes more fun when wearing proper hiking leggings. If you aren’t convinced of hiking leggings, high-rise hiking pants are a good alternative.
  • Bring a pair of hiking poles. You can buy already a good pair for under $60.
  • Take sunscreen as well as rain gear when you’re going hiking. You know what the weather is like when you set off, but it can completely change in a couple of hours.
  • Take some snacks and enough water.

Conclusion

Kananaski Country is an unmatched destination for outdoor activities, especially hikes.

No matter what part of the year you are hoping to adventure outside during, you will find a route to fit your skill level and schedule in this area.

Read Also:

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