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

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 (9.3mi, 1476ft, 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 (6.6mi, 3297ft, 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 (9.6mi, 2247ft, 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 (6.5mi, 2451ft, 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 (9.3mi, 1755ft, 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 (10.9mi, 1870ft, 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 (8.7mi, 2231ft, 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 (6.0mi, 2313ft, 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 (9.3mi, 2362ft, 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 (3.1mi, 1280ft, 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

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

01. Rummel Lake Hike
Difficulty

8.3mi 1,247ft 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 Burstall Pass hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

02. Burstall Pass
Difficulty

9.6mi 1,476ft 4-5.5h

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

User Rating

9.4Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Chester Lake hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

03. Chester Lake Hike
Difficulty

5.8mi 1,050ft 2.5-3.5h

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

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9.7Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the West Wind Pass hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

04. West Wind Pass
Difficulty

3.1mi 1,280ft 2-2.5h

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

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9.6Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from the Rummel Lake hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

05. Rummel Pass
Difficulty

10.9mi 1,870ft 4.5-6.5h

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

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9.4Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from the Tent Ridge Horseshoe hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

06. Tent Ridge Horseshoe
Difficulty

6.5mi 2,451ft 4-5.5h

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

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Trail of the Buller Pass hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

07. Buller Pass
Difficulty

9.1mi 2,247ft 4.5-6.5h

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

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9.4Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from the Windtower hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

08. Windtower
Difficulty

6.6mi 3,297ft 4.5-6.5h

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

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9.4Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from the Headwall Lakes hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

09. Headwall Lakes
Difficulty

9.3mi 1,755ft 4-6h

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

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9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Sparrowhawk Tarns hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

10. Sparrowhawk Tarns
Difficulty

9.3mi 2,362ft 4.5-6.5h

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

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 from the Old Goat Glacier hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

11. Old Goat Glacier
Difficulty

6.0mi 2,313ft 3.5-5h

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

User Rating

9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Trail of the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

12. Black Prince Lakes and Cirque
Difficulty

8.7mi 2,231ft 4.5-6h

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

User Rating

9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
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

3.2mi 410ft 1.5-2h

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

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9.4Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Watridge Lake Map

14. Watridge Lake
Difficulty

5.1mi 636ft 2-3h

Hiking to Watridge Lake is a great way to spend a few hours in Kananaskis.… Read More

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Short Upper Kananaskis Lake Hike Map

15. Short Upper Kananaskis Lake Hike
Difficulty

4.8mi 505ft 2-2.5h

The Upper Kananaskis Lake hike is a beautiful way to explore the lake without feeling… Read More

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Three Isle Lake Map

16. Three Isle Lake
Difficulty

14.2mi 2,008ft 5.5-8h

The trail to Three Isle Lake leaves from the ever-popular Kananaskis Lakes area. There are… Read More

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Lower Kananaskis Lake Trail Map

17. Lower Kananaskis Lake Trail
Difficulty

4.1mi 807ft 2-2.5h

The Lower Kananaskis Lake trail follows the lakeshore between William Watson Lodge and Canyon Creek… Read More

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Upper Kananaskis

18. Hidden Lake Trail
Difficulty

10.1mi 1,302ft 4-5.5h

There’s an element of uncontained excitement when making your way to a destination with the… Read More

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Heart Creek Trail Map

19. Heart Creek Trail
Difficulty

2.9mi 991ft 1.5-2.5h

The trail up Heart Creek is a popular access point for rock climbers; however, the… Read More

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Tryst Lake Trail Map

20. Tryst Lake Trail
Difficulty

4.5mi 1,302ft 2.5-3.5h

The trail to Tryst Lake is used year-round by many different types of adventurers. The… Read More

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Marl Lake Trail Map

21. Marl Lake Trail
Difficulty

2.0mi 262ft 1h

The Marl Lake trail is a moderately trafficked trail near Lower Kananaskis Lake that is… Read More

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Blackshale Suspension Bridge

22. Blackshale Suspension Bridge
Difficulty

0.7mi 236ft 0.5h

The Blackshale Suspension Bridge Route is an easy, family-friendly trail with fantastic wildflowers, mountain views,… Read More

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Frozen Lake Trail Map

23. Frozen Lake Trail
Difficulty

8.6mi 2,838ft 5-7h

The trail to Frozen Lake follows the Elk Pass and Elk Lake trail for the… Read More

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Karst Spring Trail Map

24. Karst Spring Trail
Difficulty

5.6mi 991ft 2.5-3.5h

Karst Springs trail is a beautiful hike that goes past Watridge Lake to a natural… Read More

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Little Lawson Hike

25. Little Lawson Hike
Difficulty

5.5mi 2,526ft 3.5-5h

The Little Lawson Peak route (also known as South Lawson) is a straightforward trail that… Read More

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Pig’s Back Trail Map

26. Pig’s Back Trail
Difficulty

6.3mi 2,185ft 3.5-5h

The Pig’s Back is a route to a prominent feature along the Commonwealth Ridge Traverse.… Read More

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