Panoramic views from the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore
Panoramic views from the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

Black Prince Lakes and Cirque hike

Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien
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Trail up to Warspite Lake on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreDry Warspite Lake on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreLakes on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreFalls on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreAscending on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreWaterfall area from the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreView across the valley on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreTrail of the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreWildflowers on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreAlpine-like views on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreAlpine wildflowers on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreBlack Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreRidge view from the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreHiking along the ridge on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreViews along the ridge on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreViews of the ridge on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreViews of the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreWalking through the rocks on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreLittle meadow above the waterfall on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreWaterfall on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreTrail on the boulder field on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreView from the meadow on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreDried up Warspite Lake on the Black Prince Lakes and Cirque Hike near Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near Canmore

Black Prince Lakes and Cirque hike

Distance: 8.7mi
Elevation: 2,231ft
Time: 4.5-6h

Difficulty Rating:

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9.3 Overall Rating
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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.

Black Prince Lakes and Cirque hike Map

Getting there

From the Stoney Nakoda Casino on the TransCanada, take Highway 40 south for 31.1mi to the winter gate, and turn right onto the Kananaskis Lakes Trail (Highway 742). After 1.4mi turn right again on the Smith Dorrien Trail, which is the continuation of Highway 742. Follow this road for 5.2mi and take the signed left turn for Mount Black Prince and follow this to the parking lot.

I’ve done this 38 people have done this
I want to do this 64 want to do this route

About

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


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 1.2mi 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

  • 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.

Comments

Diana C. 1 year ago

Pretty lake! Good for family outings!

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Luna M. 1 year ago

What's not to love about this place? It's amazing in every way!

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MartiniC 1 year ago

" Amazing hike! Black Prince Lakes looks ethereal. You'll also get to see plenty of scenic views as you go further."

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5h 30m Time Taken
Willow F. 1 year ago

Great place to enjoy nature. The hike to Black Prince Cirque and then Black Prince Lakes was remarkable. The trail goes straight and then curves over beside the waterfall.

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Jeremy R. 2 years ago

The muddy trail was troublesome. Heard that it rained 2 days ago, but did not expect to encounter this problem. Either way, it's part of life. Just need to get over it and move on.

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Theodore R. 2 years ago

Calm lake and stunning waterfalls. You will not get disappointed!

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Chris F. 2 years ago

Sometimes it's nice to relax and take everything slowly in places like this.

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Ermengard Q. 2 years ago

It was always in my mind after seeing it. I even dreamt about it.

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james pipes 2 years ago

Nice place with ponds and lush green forest!

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noraliu 2 years ago

You will have unique views of spectacular sights all over this area. It will be busy, but worth it.

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23 Comments Show all

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