Panoramic views from the Black Prince Interpretive Trail / Warspite Lake hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore
Scenery from the Burstall Pass hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

hikes in Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien

Region in Kananaskis Country, Alberta
Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien tral map

hikes in Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien

The best hiking in the Kananaskis is along the Smith-Dorrien, the legendary gravel road that runs up the Spray Valley. Not only are these the best hikes in the Kananaskis, the trails around here are some of the best hikes in the Canadian Rockies. The best part is that the high-elevation Smith-Dorrien means shorter ascents and more time spent above treeline.

Kananaskis Country, or K – Country, is an undiscovered gem for outdoor lovers, and has fewer crowds than the adjacent Banff National Park. Often overshadowed by nearby Banff National Park, the Kananaskis is still relatively undiscovered. 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 great hikes in the Kananaskis!

THE TOP 10 HIKES ON THE SMITH-DORRIEN TRAIL

  1. Burstall Pass (15.0km, 450m, 4-6h): This stunning hike is one of the best in all the Kananaskis, if not all of Alberta. This 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, 1005m, 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 (15.5km, 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, 747m, 4-6h): The Tent Ridge hike may have 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. Headwall Lakes (14.9km, 535m, 5-7h): Sharing a trail-head with the popular Chester Lake, the hike to Headwall Lakes is a wonderful day out in Kananaskis. Take in stunning, high alpine lakes on this delightful walk.
  6. Rummel Pass (17.6km, 570m, 5-6.5h): The hike to Rummel Pass is spectacular, and not nearly as popular as it should be. While hiking to Rummel Lake is a Kananaskis classic, pushing to Rummel Pass is completely worth it, offering interesting terrain and stunning views from Rummel Pass.
  7. Black Prince Lakes and Cirque (13.9km, 680m, 4.5-6h): The hike to Black Prince Cirque and then Black Prince Lakes is stunning. This hike takes you to a classic Kananaskis cirque and then the beautiful Black Prince Lakes. It’s hard to believe so few people take the time to hike up to Black Prince Lakes and Black Prince Cirque.
  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. Sparrowhawk Tarns (15.0km, 720m, 4.5-6): The pretty hike to the Sparrowhawk Tarns is a hard trail to follow, however once you reach the tarns, the beautiful views make up for the route-finding challenges. Don’t wait until autumn, as the tarns dry up and are not as impressive.
  10. 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.
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The best hikes in Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien

Scenery from the Burstall Pass hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

01. Burstall Pass
Difficulty

15.5km 450m 4-6h

The hike to Burstall Pass is an iconic Canmore route for good reason – it's… Read More

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9.2Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from the Windtower hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

02. Windtower
Difficulty

10.7km 1,005m 5-7h

A hike up Windtower is an underappreciated gem of the Canadian Rockies. First take in… Read More

User Rating

8Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Buller Pass hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

03. Buller Pass
Difficulty

14.6km 685m 5-7h

The hike to Buller Pass is one of the most spectacular in Canmore. It’s perfect… Read More

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9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from the Tent Ridge Horseshoe hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

04. Tent Ridge Horseshoe
Difficulty

10.4km 747m 4-6h

The Tent Ridge hike is spectacular. Tent Ridge is the location for many of the… Read More

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10Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from the Headwall Lakes hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

05. Headwall Lakes
Difficulty

14.9km 535m 5-7h

The Headwall Lakes hike is not as popular as it should be. This walk takes… Read More

User Rating

8Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from the Rummel Lake hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

06. Rummel Pass
Difficulty

17.6km 570m 5-6.5h

The hike to Rummel Pass is spectacular, and not nearly as popular as it should… Read More

User Rating

8Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

07. Black Prince Lakes and Cirque
Difficulty

13.9km 680m 4.5-6h

The hike to Black Prince Cirque and then Black Prince Lakes is stunning. This hike… Read More

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9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail from the Old Goat Glacier hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

08. Old Goat Glacier
Difficulty

9.6km 705m 4-6h

The hike to Old Goat Glacier is a classic Kananaskis hike on the Smith-Dorrien. While… Read More

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8Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Sparrowhawk Tarns hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

09. Sparrowhawk Tarns
Difficulty

15.0km 720m 4.5-6h

The pretty hike to the Sparrowhawk Tarns is a hard trail to follow, however once… Read More

User Rating

9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the West Wind Pass hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

10. West Wind Pass
Difficulty

5.0km 390m 2-3.5h

West Wind Pass is a great hike! It’s not too busy and is a perfect… Read More

User Rating

9.7Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

Yes, there are more than 10

Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien that you should take a look at as well

Trail of the Chester Lake hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

11. Chester Lake
Difficulty

9.3km 320m 1.5-3h

The hike to Chester Lake is a great family route in Canmore, complete with a… Read More

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Trail of the Rummel Lake hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis

12. Rummel Lake
Difficulty

13.3km 380m 3.5-5h

The hike to Rummel Lake is a Kananaskis classic, with people returning year after year.… Read More

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Scenery from the Black Prince Interpretive Trail / Warspite Lake hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

13. Black Prince Interpretive Trail / Warspite Lake
Difficulty

5.1km 125m 1-2h

The hike on the Black Prince Interpretive Trail is a great family-friendly hike on the… Read More

User Rating

9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

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