- Physical DifficultyThis 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.
- Technical DifficultyThis 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.
The Crandell Lake hike takes you to a beautiful emerald green lake. It offers an inviting place to climb, play, hike, or picnic. You can loop around the entire lake, spend time climbing the rocky crags, sunbathe on the smooth shoreline boulders, or prepare a picnic under the shelter at the beach. This is a wonderful destination for the family.
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Route Description for Crandell Lake
Note that much of Waterton National Park was severely impacted by the 2017 Kenow Wildfire. To find out what trails are open, please check the Parks Canada website.
Crandell Lake has two main routes to it. The Red Rock Parkway trail is longer and has a greater elevation gain, although the pitch is fairly gradual. The route from Akamina Parkway is shorter and gains less elevation; however, it is rockier and seems to have a steeper grade. Both are beautiful approaches; this route description is for the approach via Akamina Parkway.
From the Akamina Parkway parking area, the path begins with several stepping stones. The trail travels through stands of aspen and pine, offering glimpses down the valley. The path itself is rather rocky and requires some attention to foot placement. The climbing is steady.
Although steep at times, the beautiful surroundings ease the ascent. The low underbrush is lush and green. The views through the trees to the south east, down Akamina Parkway, are excellent.
At 1.0 km, you’ll reach a signed junction with another approach trail from the townsite. Stay left for Crandell Lake. At this point, the trail begins to drop towards the lake. Soon, views open up to the north and west, with views of Ruby Ridge. Be careful with your footing as you occasionally rock hop downhill; you may have to navigate around horse droppings as well. At 1.3 km, look for the lake below you.
You’ll reach another signed junction at 1.5 km. To go to the south foot of the lake, make a sharp right and go 20 m down a steep, rocky path to the shore (a left at the junction will take you through the trees to the north end of Crandell Lake).
From the south end of the lake, there are views of the west slope of Crandell Mountain. For a wider view, walk along the south shore of the lake (right) for another hundred metres. A rugged path leads around the eastern (right) shore of the lake to the north end, where there is a picnic shelter, pit toilet, and backcountry campground. Along the northeast shore are smooth rocks that invite you to sit and ponder.
From the north end of the lake, take a left at the signed trail junction towards Akamina Parkway to return the way you came. Looping around the eastern shore of the lake to the north end, then travelling south along the west side of the lake back to the junction will add approximately 1.5 km to the total distance.
Insider Hints for Crandell Lake
- This trail is open to bikers as well; so keep an eye open for approaching cyclists and keep your children close by.
- For an easier approach, hike to Crandell Lake from Red Rock Parkway on the north end. From Red Rock Parkway, turn left on the Crandell Mountain Campground access road and, continue on to the signed parking lot for the Crandell Lake trailhead.
Getting to the Crandell Lake Trailhead
Go south on Akamina Parkway. Travel 6.0 km to the well-signed Crandell pullout on right side of the road.
Crandell Lake Elevation Graph
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Crandell Lake Reviews
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