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    Panorama of the Windtower hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

    Hikes in Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien

    Region in Kananaskis Country, Alberta

    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 (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.
    2. 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!
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.

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    Best Hikes in Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien

    Showing 21 to 26 of 26
      Open details for Karst Spring Trail

      Karst Spring Trail

      Moderate
      9.0 km
      302 m
      2.5-3.5h

      Karst Springs trail is a beautiful hike that goes past Watridge Lake to a natural piped spring, where you can enjoy fresh mountain water. This is a great trail for beginners and those who are looking for a relaxing trip while exploring Kananaskis.

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      Open details for Watridge Lake

      Watridge Lake

      Moderate
      8.2 km
      194 m
      2-3h

      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.

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      Open details for Lower Kananaskis Lake Trail

      Lower Kananaskis Lake Trail

      Moderate
      6.6 km
      246 m
      2-2.5h

      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.

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      Open details for Hidden Lake Trail

      Hidden Lake Trail

      Hard
      16.3 km
      397 m
      4-5.5h

      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.

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      Open details for Marl Lake Trail

      Marl Lake Trail

      Easy
      3.2 km
      80 m
      1h

      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.

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      Open details for Pig’s Back Trail

      Pig’s Back Trail

      Hard
      10.1 km
      666 m
      3.5-5h

      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.

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