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!
- Burstall Pass (15.0 km, 450 m, 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.
- Windtower (10.7 km, 1,005 m, 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!
- Buller Pass (15.5 km, 685 m, 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.
- Tent Ridge (10.4 km, 747 m, 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.
- Headwall Lakes (14.9 km, 535 m, 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.
- Rummel Pass (17.6 km, 570 m, 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.
- Black Prince Lakes and Cirque (13.9 km, 680 m, 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.
- Old Goat Glacier (9.6 km, 705 m, 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.
- Sparrowhawk Tarns (14.9 km, 720 m, 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.
- West Wind Pass (5.0 km, 390 m, 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.
Best Hikes in Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien
Little Lawson Hike
The Little Lawson Peak route (also known as South Lawson) is a straightforward trail that takes users to an incredible viewpoint. The trail travels straight up the ridge from the highway, making it very easy to follow. It is a great option in the early and late season as it isn’t dangerous and it rarely has snow along the ridge during hiking season.
Hiking to Watridge Lake is a great way to spend a few hours in Kananaskis. The wide, well-maintained trail to the lake is accessible to all abilities and makes for a quiet stroll through the woods. The trail is easy to follow and leads directly to the lake, which is the turnaround point.
Lower Kananaskis Lake Trail
The Lower Kananaskis Lake trail follows the lakeshore between William Watson Lodge and Canyon Creek campground. The trail has educational interpretive signs along the way and maintains a gentle grade that allows hikers to admire the surrounding peaks.
Hidden Lake Trail
There’s an element of uncontained excitement when making your way to a destination with the name Hidden Lake. Just hearing the name evokes a sense of adventure, and you won’t be disappointed when choosing this route. It is a stunning trail that leaves from spectacular Upper Kananaskis Lake and ends at the almost fake-looking Hidden Lake.
Marl Lake Trail
The Marl Lake trail is a moderately trafficked trail near Lower Kananaskis Lake that is accessible for all abilities. It has almost no elevation gain and follows a well-maintained path through the woods to the lake before turning back.
Pig’s Back Trail
The Pig’s Back is a route to a prominent feature along the Commonwealth Ridge Traverse. You will hike up Commonwealth Creek before reaching Commonwealth Lake and finally the Pig’s Back. There is some route-finding required, so make sure you are familiar with your objective before setting out for the day.
Essential Tools for Any Adventure
This page may include affiliate links. We may get a small commission for the purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.
We only recommend tools we personally think are great.