Black Prince Interpretive Trail / Warspite Lake
The hike on the Black Prince Interpretive Trail is a great family-friendly hike on the Smith-Dorrien. The trip takes you to Warspite Lake on a good path and there are great views once at Warspite Lake.
From the Stoney Nakoda Casino on the TransCanada, take Highway 40 south for 50.0km to the winter gate, and turn right onto the Kananaskis Lakes Trail (Highway 742). After 2.2km turn right again on the Smith Dorrien Trail, which is the continuation of Highway 742. Follow this road for 8.4km and take the signed left turn for Mount Black Prince and follow this to the parking lot.
|When to do|
Black Prince Interpretive Trail is a wonderful, family-friendly hike on the Smith-Dorrien. Close to Kananaskis Lakes, this is a good trail if you are camping nearby. More experienced hikers can continue past Warspite Lake right up into the Black Prince Cirque.
The start of the trail is at the signed trailhead, near the outhouses. From here, head out on an old logging road. After about 15 minutes cross a bridge over Smith Dorrien Creek and continue along the broad path. Soon it enters the forest and comes to a fork.
At the fork you can go either way, the right-hand trail takes you on a walk with interpretive posts and most people go in this direction.
In about an hour from leaving your car (faster if you aren’t hiking with little children) you reach Warspite Lake. This is a very pretty lake, and on calm, sunny days you will want to spend a while here, savouring the view of Black Prince Cirque high above and Mount Black Prince. The reflections in the lake can provide stunning photos, and you will find yourself snapping lots of pictures on a nice day.
At the lake, there is a path to your right that goes partially around Warspite Lake to the falls. There are small streams to hop over on the way, which is too much for little kids. This is a fun way to explore the area. Beware that this is a popular habitat for grizzlies.
Come back after exploring the side of the Warspite lake and you can find an interesting ‘rock garden’, which is a good place for lunch.
While you can return on the same path you hiked into Warspite Lake on, we prefer to take the variant path back to the car. This path soon connects with the main hike.
The views on the way down are better than the way up.
Warspite Lake dries up as the summer goes on, especially if it’s very hot. Early July usually has the best combination of weather and water-levels, though it’s also the most crowded.
You can continue on to Black Prince Lakes by following a rough path at the far end of the lake that roughly follows Warspite Creek and then up to just below Black Prince Cirque.
There is great car camping nearby at the campgrounds near Kananaskis Lakes. Watch out for bears, as we’ve had them saunter through our campsite before!
West Wind Pass is a great hike! It’s not too busy and is a perfect hike for people who want…
The hike to Chester Lake is a great family route in Canmore, complete with a stunning alpine meadow and glistening…
The hike to Rummel Lake is a Kananaskis classic, with people returning year after year. The colours in autumn are…