Kananaskis Trail Hikes

Kananaskis! Oh, what a wonderful hiking paradise you are. While the hordes of tourists go to Banff, Jasper and beyond, Calgary locals know some of the best hikes in Alberta can be found in Kananaskis Country. There are so many great hikes in Kananaskis, we have broken it up into three sections. This section covers the central Kananaskis Valley, the Kananaskis Lakes and into the Highwood, which are all accessed by Highway 40. This well-maintained road takes you past some of the greatest hikes in the Kananaskis and includes the Kananaskis Valley, parts of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, the Kananaskis Lakes as well as the Highwood region.

Click ‘+MORE INFO’ below for a list of the 10 Best Hiking Trails in the Kananaskis Valley, Alberta.

THE TOP 10 HIKES ALONG KANANASKIS TRAIL

The wonderful Kananaskis is a true playground for outdoor lovers. While the southern, Highwood region, is closed for half the year, there are still lots of great hikes on this list! The best hikes here are mostly intermediate and advanced hikes, but the Kananaskis Region is also a great place for family hikes and there are two on our list. You’re going to love these hikes!

#1. Pocaterra Ridge (12km, 985m, 5-7h): This wonderful Kananaskis hike is in the top spot simply because of the autumn beauty on offer from this hike. Viewing the larches from Pocaterra Ridge is a must-do for any ardent hiker.

#2. Opal Ridge (6.3km, 900m, 4-6h): Opal Ridge is a steep hike that offers wonderful views of the Kananaskis Valley. We regularly hear people go “Wow” as their jaw drops when they peer over the ridge.

#3. Picklejar Lakes (10.5km, 500m, 3.5-5h): The Picklejar Lakes hike has many fans, with more than one person saying this is his favorite hike in the Canadian Rockies. We think this is the best intermediate level hike in the Kananaskis area. Hiking to Picklejar Lakes is especially popular among families with older children.

#4. Guinn’s Pass (18.3, 980 m, 5-7h): The new trail to Guinn’s Pass is spectacular. While the hike to Lillian Lake is through forest, from there the views are outstanding. This hike takes in Lillian lake, Lower Galatea Lake and then up to Guinn’s Pass.

#5. King’s Creek Ridge (7.3km, 740m, 4-5.5h): This unmaintained hike is one of the more challenging hikes in Kananaskis. It features a deceptively difficult rise in elevation up a steep path. The payoff? Access to Kings Creek Ridge and the exquisite views of the nearby mountains and lakes – a great day out indeed.

#6. Sarrail Ridge (11.5km, 670m, 3.5-6h): The hike to Sarrail Ridge offers some of the most stunning views in the Canadian Rockies, it is truly spectacular. The final push up Sarrail Ridge is also perhaps the steepest hike we share in the Canadian Rockies. The informal route is degraded and challenging, and not one we’d do when wet or icy.

#7. Lillian and Galatea Lakes (16.7km, 740m, 5-7h): The hike to Galatea Lakes is spectacular. While the hike to Lillian Lake is through forest, from there the views are outstanding, especially the circuit around Lower Galatea Lake. This hike takes in Lillian lake, Lower Galatea Lake and Upper Galatea Lake.

#8. Elbow Lake and Rae Glacier (9.3km, 425m, 3.5-5h): The hike to Elbow Lake is another favourite Kananaskis hike for families, offering great views for a short hike. More adventurous hikes can continue on to Rae Glacier, the easternmost glacier in Kananaskis.

#9. Upper Kananaskis Lake (16.5km, 295m, 4-5.5h): Upper Kananaskis Lake is a perfect hike in shoulder season and gives a great feel for the lakes and rugged mountains Kananaskis is famous for. This route is also great for intermediates. It features spectacular views, varied terrain and limited elevation gain.

#10. Ptarmigan Cirque (3.5km, 195m, 1-2h): The hike to Ptarmigan Cirque is another Kananaskis Classic. Located at Highwood Pass, this is a great family hike, provided the path is dry. There are very few hikes that can get you into the Alpine so quickly and easily.

Pocaterra Ridge

01. Pocaterra Ridge

  • Difficulty
  • 12.0km
  • 985m
  • 5-7h

Opal Ridge

02. Opal Ridge

  • Difficulty
  • 6.3km
  • 900m
  • 4-6h

Picklejar Lakes

03. Picklejar Lakes

  • Difficulty
  • 10.5km
  • 500m
  • 3.5-5h

Guinn’s Pass

04. Guinn’s Pass

  • Difficulty
  • 18.3km
  • 980m
  • 5-7h

King Creek Ridge

05. King Creek Ridge

  • Difficulty
  • 7.3km
  • 740m
  • 4-5.5h

Sarrail Ridge via Rawson Lake

06. Sarrail Ridge via Rawson Lake

  • Difficulty
  • 11.5km
  • 670m
  • 3.5-6h

Lillian and Galatea Lakes

07. Lillian and Galatea Lakes

  • Difficulty
  • 16.7km
  • 740m
  • 5-7h

Rae Glacier

08. Rae Glacier

  • Difficulty
  • 9.3km
  • 425m
  • 3.5-5h

Upper Kananaskis Lake

09. Upper Kananaskis Lake

  • Difficulty
  • 16.5km
  • 295m
  • 4-5.5h

Ptarmigan Cirque

10. Ptarmigan Cirque

  • Difficulty
  • 3.5km
  • 195m
  • 1-2h

Centennial Pass and Mount Allan Summit

11. Centennial Pass and Mount Allan Summit

  • Difficulty
  • 16km
  • 1380m
  • 7-9h

Wasootch Ridge

12. WASOOTCH RIDGE

  • Difficulty
  • 11.7km
  • 750m
  • 5-6h

Elbow Lake

13. ELBOW LAKE

  • Difficulty
  • 4.3km
  • 130m
  • 1-2h

Rawson Lake

14. RAWSON LAKE

  • Difficulty
  • 7.8km
  • 320m
  • 1.5-3h

Troll Falls

15. Troll Falls

  • Difficulty
  • 3.7km
  • 60m
  • 1-2h

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

– Henry David Thoreau