Black Prince Lakes and Cirque

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
4.5-6h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
13.9 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
680 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.9
Physical Difficulty
This 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.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This 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.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Read Reviews
Directions to Trailhead
Panoramic views from the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

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.

Guide-book quality info for over 8,000 trails

View Black Prince Lakes and Cirque on Map

View Map

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers

Route Description for Black Prince Lakes and Cirque

This is another great, and underappreciated, hike in the Kananaskis.

To begin with, take the clear and signed path out of the parking lot. This is a well-made trail, and easy to make good time. In about 2.0 km you will reach Warspite Lake. In the early summer this is a beautiful lake, however it quickly dries up. You can see our photos from mid-August and the water is almost all gone!

At Warspite Lake contour around the right-hand side of the lake. The path is clear, however it can be muddy if it’s been wet recently. Later in the year the path is drier, and the streams are easily crossed, however earlier in summer the streams get bigger and the trail can get muddier.

At the end of Warspite Lake, follow the clear path as generally follows Warspite Creek. You’re aiming for a waterfall in the far left-hand side of the valley. The trail goes straight and then curves over (and up) beside the waterfall.

As you hike towards the waterfall, you have to go over a boulder field. The path isn’t clear over the boulder field, though there are some cairns.

Once over the boulder field the route starts to climb, gaining elevation as it climbs a steep slope. You come right beside the pretty waterfall before emerging from the trees into Black Prince Cirque. The view here is surprisingly great.

While the trail looks like it goes straight up the valley, Black Prince Lakes are actually up ahead and on the right. Follow the trail as you come through some more rocks, but lookout for a trail that goes off on the right and then take it.

The trail sticks close to the edge of the forest (the forest is on your right) before a path leads up on your right, going up steeply. The path swings to the left over some rocks before swinging back to the right and providing great views of Black Prince Lakes. If there is a lot of water then Black Prince Lakes will look like one singular lake, like it does in our photos.

You can walk along the ridge, though the large boulders make it tricky. We continued to the end of the ridge, where we were stopped by a steep descent that was too tricky for us.

Return the way you came, being very careful on the descents, which are tricky and can be very challenging if wet.

Check out other amazing hikes in Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien:

Insider Hints for Black Prince Lakes and Cirque

  • We would not recommend hiking up to Black Prince Cirque or the Lakes if it is wet out or there is snow on the ground.
  • We’ve been turned around before by Grizzly bears in the valley past Warspite Lake. Best to do this hike in a group.

Getting to the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Trailhead

From the Stoney Nakoda Casino on the TransCanada, take Highway 40 south for 50.0 km to the winter gate, and turn right onto the Kananaskis Lakes Trail (Highway 742). After 2.2 km turn right again on the Smith Dorrien Trail, which is the continuation of Highway 742. Follow this road for 8.4 km and take the signed left turn for Mount Black Prince and follow this to the parking lot.

Route Information

  • When to do

    June to September

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    Trailhead

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    None

  • Crowd Levels

    Low

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

Check Area Weather

Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Reviews

Add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Nearby Trails

Nearby Regions

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers

Tours

Routes

Blogs