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Walking Hiking Tours in Kananaskis, Alberta


By touring - Posted on 10 August 2011

Walking Hiking Tours in Kananaskis, Alberta

This walking hiking tour around Upper Kananaskis Lake is an outdoor adventure that people of all fitness levels can enjoy. The easy trail goes around the shoreline of this man-made lake and takes hikers through Douglas Fir forests, conifer groves and even an old rock slide.

Located in the front range of the Rocky Mountains, about 1 hour south of Canmore, Alberta, is the first of three man-made reservoirs along the Kananaskis River. Upper Kananaskis Lake is a turquoise-colored lake fed by glaciers and the annual snow pack of the upper Bow Valley Watershed.

There's no better way to enjoy the scenic beauty than by walking or hiking the circuit loop around its shoreline.

   Rating – Moderate due to its length
   Distance – 15.5 kilometers
   Elevation Gain – 100 meters
   Duration – 5-7 hours
   When to Go – June - October

This is a scenic trail that can be walked or hiked in the summer and fall. The scenery is always varying as the water level and surrounding forest change with the seasons.

In summer, when the sun is high, there are plenty of people hiking in the adjoining valleys and anglers fishing on Upper Kananaskis Lake. But because the area is so large, it never seems crowded.

The Kananaskis Lake Loop makes for a long day hike. The elevation gain is negligible. You'll pass waterfalls and creek beds, bridges and wildlife. Along the far shore, near the Aster Lake trail junction, there's even an underground stream that gushes up into the lake.



On the western side, the trail wonders through tall conifer trees that change to a golden yellow color in fall. Near Mount Indefatigable, with its steeply tilted rock, the trail winds through a huge boulder field from an ancient landslide.

Tips for Walking and Hiking in Upper Kananaskis Lake Loop

  • Be bear aware. You're in black bear and Grizzly territory.
  • Call the Kananaskis Visitor's Centre at Barrier Lake (1-403-673-3985) for trail conditions and wildlife warnings.
  • Check the weather in Canmore before heading out. In this valley, you can only see incoming storms and weather fronts once they cross the towering peaks, which by then is too late.
  • Bring warm clothing, even in summer, as the cool mountain winds can pick up at any time.
  • Hiking boots may prevent ankle injuries but the trail can be done in running shoes.
  • There are day-use picnic areas near the parking lots. Fire pits for barbequing are available. Spots are snapped up quickly on hot summer days.
  • The section of trail along the earthen dam seems longer than it really is (4.5 kilometers).


View Fishing in Alberta on Upper Kananaskis Lake in a larger map

Other Hikes near Upper Kananaskis Lake

The Kananaskis Loop trail makes for a long day but isn't strenuous. The trail is relatively flat, the lake is always in view and the scenery is amazing. It's always quiet here. If you have a group of people with different fitness levels, consider a walking hiking tour around Upper Kananaskis Lake.

Check out other things to do in Alberta.

Get more insider tips on Canadian Adventures at Scenic Travel Canada.

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