Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien Hikes

Kananaskis Country, or K – Country, is an undiscovered gem for outdoor lovers, and has fewer crowds than the adjacent Banff National Park. Arguably the best part of K – Country is the Smith Dorrien Highway (Hwy 742), which we cover here. The Smith-Dorrien connects Canmore with the Kananaskis Lakes on a well-maintained gravel road. The hikes accessed from the Smith-Dorrien are wonderful. Starting at a higher elevation means that there is usually less elevation gain! Here we share some of the greatest hikes in the Kananaskis region and include the Spray Valley Provincial Park as well as parts of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.

Click ‘+MORE INFO’ below to find of the 10 Best Hikes along the Smith Dorrien Hwy in Alberta’s Kananaskis.

THE TOP 10 HIKES ALONG THE SMITH-DORRIEN TRAIL IN ALBERTA’S KANANASKIS

The wonderful Kananaskis area is a true playground for outdoor lovers, and the hikes accessed from the Smith-Dorrien gravel road are amongst the best in Alberta. Often overshadowed by nearby Banff National Park, the Kananaskis is really a place for locals, and most people are from the Bow Valley or Calgary. Here we include some of the best hikes in the Spray Valley Provincial Park and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. You’re going to love these hikes!

#1. Burstall Pass (15km, 450m, 4-6h): This stunning hike ends at the pass with beautiful views. What makes it even better, however, is the route can be extended for experienced hikers to Snow Peak – an absolute wonder.

#2. Windtower (10.7km, 1,005m, 5-7h): A hike up Windtower is a stunning hike in Kananaskis. The route goes past West Wind Pass (another great hike) before a bit of route finding until you ascend to the top of Windtower. We love this hike!

#3. Buller Pass (13km, 685m, 5-7h): Buller Pass is another great intermediate hike with impressive views. If you’ve got the energy, it can also be extended over to Guinn’s Pass or Ribbon Lake, both worthy of the trek.

#4. Tent Ridge (10.4km, 750m, 4-6h): Tent Ridge may be the best view in Kananaskis. This is a popular hike, and for good reason. The Tent Ridge hike is incredible. Be warned, there is a bit of scrambling on the way up.

#5. Chester Lake (9.3km, 320m, 1.5-3h): This is a top-ranked hike because it’s perfect for the whole family during summer, autumn and winter. In autumn, it’s especially wonderful, with the stunning colors of the native larches. In winter, the route is also accessible – with the potential for hiking and snowshoeing.

#6. West Wind Pass (5.0km, 390m, 2-3.5h): This unofficial trail to West Wind Pass is an underappreciated gem of a hike in Kananaskis. Great views down the Wind Valley and back to the Spray Valley make this a great intermediate hike.

#7. Headwall Lakes (17.4km, 705m, 6-8h): Sharing a trail-head with Chester Lake, the hike to Headwall Lakes is a wonderful day out in Kananaskis. Take in stunning, high alpine lakes on this delightful walk.

#8. Old Goat Glacier (9.6km, 705m, 4-6h): The hike to the Old Goat Glacier is the highlight of this walk, with wonderful views all around. The glacier, unfortunately, has seen better days.

#9. Black Prince (5.0km, 190m, 1-2h): Black Prince is a great family friendly walk to the pretty Warspite Lake. You can take a small Chariot Stroller on this hike, which makes it popular with parents taking little kids.

#10. Rummel Lake (12.5km, 380m, 4.5-6.6h): The views of Rummel Lake are spectacular, and in autumn the colours here make the walk worth it. Continue past Rummel Lake to Rummel Pass for even more spectacular views.

Burstall Pass

01. Burstall Pass

  • Difficulty
  • 15km
  • 450m
  • 4-6h

Windtower

02. Windtower

  • Difficulty
  • 10.7km
  • 1,005m
  • 5-7h

Buller Pass

03. Buller Pass

  • Difficulty
  • 13km
  • 685m
  • 5-7h

Tent Ridge Horseshoe

04. Tent Ridge Horseshoe

  • Difficulty
  • 10.4km
  • 745m
  • 4-6h

Chester Lake

05. Chester Lake

  • Difficulty
  • 9.3km
  • 320m
  • 1.5-3h

West Wind Pass

06. WEST WIND PASS

  • Difficulty
  • 5.0km
  • 390m
  • 2-3.5h

Headwall Lakes

07. Headwall Lakes

  • Difficulty
  • 15km
  • 535m
  • 6-8h

Old Goat Glacier

08. Old Goat Glacier

  • Difficulty
  • 9.6km
  • 705m
  • 4-6h

Black Prince/Warspite Lake

09. Black Prince/Warspite Lake

  • Difficulty
  • 5km
  • 190m
  • 1.5-3h

Rummel Lake

10. Rummel Lake

  • Difficulty
  • 12.5km
  • 380m
  • 3.5-5h

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees

– Henry David Thoreau