I thought I would continue on with my trail review series by posting about my hike around the Upper Kananaskis Lake from October….Better late than never right?
When we left Calgary on this October morning the conditions weren’t exactly ideal – it was cold and starting to snow but thought we would brave the elements anyway…besides its only 15 km right?
We took the TransCan to Hwy 40 and headed South into the Kananaskis. We parked at the North Interlakes day use area in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and followed the signs for the trail from there.
The Upper Kananaskis Lake Trail is the perfect trail for walking, hiking, or even trail running with a nice and easy 15 km/9.5 mile loop around the Upper Kananaskis Lake. The trail is rated as moderate, not due to the elevation or terrain, but to the long length of the trail and can easily be tackled by beginners and seasoned hikers alike so long as the distance doesn’t bother you…
Getting There: 1 hr 45 min from Calgary
Distance: 15 km/9.5 mi
Elevation Gain: 806 m
The first 2 km of the hike or so were predominantly through the woods with not so much lake to be seen. It was then we emerged at a large section of Rockfall called Palliser Slide. It’s here that we got our first glimpse of the lake and the mountains beyond.
Now i’m not sure if it was the excitement of finally seeing something that wasn’t trees or the compelling conversation I was having with my hiking partner but it was around this time that we missed where the trail branches to the south to continue around the lake.
Instead, we carried on down a different trail for just over another 5 km before we realized our mistake and circled back. Even though we went the “wrong way” the views on this trail were some of the best we encountered the whole hike – totally worth it. Once we made it back to where the trail branched off (and where we should have headed south) we were left with the choice to simply take the short stroll back to the car or finish the loop around the lake like we had planned. We chose the latter.
While the rest of loop offered some stunning views of the lake along with some waterfalls I started to regret my decision around the 22 km mark. I was tired, hungry, my feet hurt, it was starting to snow and we were starting to loose daylight. I’ll be honest – I don’t think we spoke much those last 5km or so haha I think hangry was an understatement.
We finally made it back to the car with a little daylight to spare. My Garmin actually stopped working because it got so cold but based on the data I did have and the trail maps we finished the day with a total of almost 27 km (just short of 17 miles) in about 6.5 hours.
Looking back on the day, it was one of the funnest hikes I have done in awhile, with the best parts being where we got “lost”. I look forward to going back sometime this summer to experience the trail from a much different (and warmer) perspective. This time, I will be sure to pack extra food and water…you know, just in case.