Point Campground and Upper Kananaskis Lake
- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Backpacking around Upper Kananaskis Lake is another classic introductory backpack in Kananaskis. While this trail is often done as a day hike, it is so pretty that doing it as an overnight makes it a great way to test your gear and enjoy the stunning outdoors.
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- Map Data: ©OpenStreetMap
- Tiles: ©CyclOSM
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Route Description for Point Campground and Upper Kananaskis Lake
The backpack around Upper Kananaskis Lake is a great backpack for beginners. The trail is clear, there isn’t too much elevation gain and the Point Backcountry Campground is very well situated.
On the route we show, we parked in the Upper Kananaskis Lake Day Use area, though if you want to shorten your first day you could park in the North Interlakes Day Use area.
Start at Upper Kananaskis Day Use Area and head out by walking across a causeway over the lake and then hug the shoreline. Make sure to check out the great views across Upper Kananaskis Lake.
After about 4.3 km, you will come to the North Interlakes Day Use Area, which also has parking.
Continue past here and cross the dam. The Lower Kananaskis Lakes will be on your right. Both the Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes are natural lakes that were turned into reservoirs to provide hydroelectric power and flood control, as well as water reserves for Calgary.
Continue on the trail until you’re presented with the options of both an upper and lower path. Both go to the same place, however we prefer the upper path. The route brings you through the trees and emerges on a fantastic landscape very similar to the surface of the moon – the natural landslides have produced a rugged beauty. Make sure here to descend to the trail that contours around the lake and don’t continue along the route to Three Isle Lake, although this is also a great backpack option.
Soon you arrive at Point Campground, roughly 8.0 km into the trip. There are 20 campsites here, with firepits, firewood, pit toilets and very, very pretty views.
Once you’ve set-up your campsite, you can either relax and enjoy the beauty, take a stroll out towards Forks campground or explore the shoreline near the campground.
Today you’ll complete the circuit around Upper Kananaskis Lakes. The views aren’t as good as the first day, as you soon enter the forest and pass Upper Kananaskis Falls.
While hiking back through the trees, you have the option of going off the trail and exploring Hidden Lake, which is 300 m off the main trail, in the SW corner of Upper Kananaskis Lake. Hidden Lake is on the Aster Lake Trail.
As you continue around Upper Kananaskis Lake, you’ll notice options to hike down to the rocky beach, populated by eerie forests of dead trees. If you’re feeling brave, venture down here for some beautiful views.
The trail continues along the lake in the trees, though closer to the lake shore. At approximately 1.5 km from your Day 1 parking lot (15.0 km into your trip), a track heads up to your right to Rawson Lake and the extension up to Sarrail Ridge, both great hikes in the area. If you’re feeling strong, this is another great side trip.
Soon enough you are back at the parking lot.
Insider Hints for Point Campground and Upper Kananaskis Lake
- Make your reservation for Point campground early, it’s very popular.
- Consider side-trips, especially to Hidden Lake and Rawson Lake.
Getting to the Point Campground and Upper Kananaskis Lake Trailhead
Take Highway 40 south from the Trans-Canada Highway for 63.4 km. Turn right at the “winter gate” onto Highway 742. Keep straight at the junction with the Smith-Dorrien Trail and follow this road for roughly 12.5 km, past the “Upper Lake” sign. There are two parking lots, an upper and a lower. If you want to shorten your first day, park in the North Interlakes Parking lot.
Point Campground and Upper Kananaskis Lake Elevation Graph
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Point Campground and Upper Kananaskis Lake Reviews
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