If you’re looking for a moderate hike that offers lake side walking along with beautiful mountain views, opt for the loop around Upper Kananaskis Lake. I’d classify the 15.8 kilometre hike as easy if it weren’t for its length. You never have to climb more than 60 metres above Upper Kananaskis Lake but the trail is undulating and there is a surprising amount of vertical over its 15.8 kilometres.
Where to start the Upper Kananaskis Lake Loop
Reach the trailheads in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park after approximately a two hour drive from Calgary. Take Highway 40 and then Highway 742 and follow the signs. We started our hike from the parking lot near the North Interlakes picnic area. The other option is to park at the Upper Lake Trailhead. (See photo of the map at the end of the post.) We opted to hike in a counter clockwise direction though I don’t think it really matters. We did the hike in November before the snow arrived. It’s also a great early season hike and it would be an awesome hike in summer.
Hiking the Upper Kananaskis Lake loop – what you’ll see
Mountain views from the get-go are excellent especially if you catch a bluebird day. You can see Mount Lyautey, Mount Sarrail, Mount Foch and Mount Fox from portions of the trail.
Cross the dam and enjoy a pleasant walk through the forest alongside the lake until you reach a section of rockfall called the Palliser Slide. Look up to your right and you’ll see Mount Indefatigable.
Continue on a good trail through the rockfall to reach The Point Backcountry Campground. This is one of the nicest campgrounds I’ve come across in Alberta. Camp sites are scattered across the peninsula and some overlook the lake. All have tent pads and picnic tables and there’s a good supply of firewood provided.
From there it’s a long stretch of walking along the south shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake – past a couple of waterfalls. For the most part the views are still excellent and there’s even the rare bench to rest your by now weary body. Look for the trail to Rawson Lake. If you have the energy it would be very worthwhile. Otherwise come back and hike into it from the Upper Lake Trailhead and enjoy it as a much shorter day hike.
The final section of trail hugs the shoreline of the lake. I was in awe of the number of old tree trunks with a new life as driftwood.
All told allow approximately five hours to hike the full loop.
The photos take you on a hike around the lake in a counterclockwise direction.
Enjoy this pretty hike and even the drive to get here.