Frozen Lake Trail

Difficulty
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Hard
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.
5-7h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
13.8 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.
865 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The trail to Frozen Lake follows the Elk Pass and Elk Lake trail for the first 4.2 km. The wide, decommissioned road is easy to follow and passes by some power lines on the way. This is a destination hike, so don’t expect to be wowed along the way, you’ll have to wait until you reach your objective after gaining elevation steadily from Elk Pass.

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Route Description for Frozen Lake Trail

To get to Frozen Lake, you will need to take the Elk Pass trail. This trail is used for those travelling to the pass by foot or bike, scrambling nearby peaks, and also making their way to the Elk Lakes area, where a backcountry hut and campsite are located. Be sure to follow the Elk Pass trail to the pass before joining the trail to your objective; Frozen Lake.

This is an excellent trail from the central Kananaskis Lakes area. Many frontcountry campgrounds are located nearby, which makes this an excellent jumping off point for hikers spending a few days in the area. You’ll want to keep your eye on the prize and try not to expect an exhilarating trail on your way in. This hike is all about the destination and not so much the journey itself.

Starting from the Elk Pass parking lot, join the exceptionally wide trail at the large trail sign. Begin your hike in the forest and gain some elevation on a steep incline right away. You’ll follow the trail as it joins the utility corridor and travels beneath the power lines. There are many trail junctions in the area including the trailhead for the popular Blueberry Hill.

100 m past the Blueberry Hill trailhead, follow the trail sign with a small hiker on it. There are many bike trails in the area, so stick with the hiker signs to ensure you are on the right path. At 2.7 km, you will cross a footbridge that is quite wide. 1.5 km and some gradual elevation from the foot bridge, you’ll reach Elk Pass and the BC/Alberta border.

Follow the sign at the junction here to Upper Elk Lake. You’ll need to turn right for this trail. The Upper Elk Lake trail itself is closed due to flood damage from 2013; however, the Frozen Lake trail branches off quickly and is still maintained.

After 100 m, you will pass by a BC/Alberta marker that sits on the Great Divide. Immediately after, you will find yourself at a clearly marked junction. Take the Frozen Lake trail on the right. You will now come to a meadow with incredible views of Mount Fox. The trail narrows and climbs steadily. There is a noticeable contrast between the Alberta and BC sections of this hike and you will be feeling it. After 1.5 km of climbing from the junction, stop at a beautiful clearing that looks down over the crystal blue waters of Fox Lake and the Upper Elk Lake trail that is currently closed.

Continue climbing for 0.5 km to reach the jaw-dropping Frozen Lake. The lake itself has an incredible shore, perfect for a lunch break in the sun. Take in the views of Mount Fox towering above this jewell-coloured alpine lake. This trail is part of the Mount Fox scramble route, so look for scramblers gaining the ridge from the right.

After a relaxing break and some time sightseeing here, head back the way you came. Make sure to stay on the main Elk Pass trail after the junction and stick to the hiker signs along the way.

Find other amazing hikes in Kananaskis Country

Insider Hints for Frozen Lake Trail

  • Be prepared for a gradual 4.2 km through the forest on an easy trail before making your final climb to Frozen Lake. The destination is worth it, so enjoy the casual approach.
  • Book a night at nearby Interlakes Campground and create a bucket list of surrounding hikes to tackle on your visit. Check out Sarrail Ridge via Rawson Lake, or Aster Lake while in the area.
  • Be sure to bring bear spray and make noise, there is lots of wildlife travelling through this area.
  • If you are up for a big adventure, plan to scramble Mount Fox right from Frozen Lake. This is a difficult one, so make sure you are prepared.

Getting to the Frozen Lake Trail Trailhead

The best way to get to the Frozen Lake trailhead is by taking Highway 40. From Banff, travel eastbound on the TC-1 and from Calgary, travel westbound. Merge onto Highway 40, and travel 50.0 km before turning right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail road. Look for the Elk Pass trailhead on your left and turn into the parking lot. You will be following the Elk Pass trail for the first 4.2 km.

Route Information

  • When to do

    May-September

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Elk Lake

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Frozen Lake Trail Elevation Graph

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