Rawson Lake

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Easy
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.
2-3h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
7.3 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.
300 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.8
Physical Difficulty
This 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.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This 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.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama from Rawson Lake snowshoeing trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

Snowshoeing to Rawson Lake is a Kananaskis Classic! Enjoy this trail as it goes along Upper Kananaskis Lake before going up through a giant pine forest towards Rawson Lake. The picturesque Rawson Lake is stunning in winter.

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Route Description for Rawson Lake

Snowshoeing to Rawson Lake is a classic way to explore the Canadian Rockies. While the route to Rawson Lake is rated as Simple-Class 1, there are many dangers lurking once you get there.

First of all, Rawson Lake is ringed with avalanche chutes and you shouldn’t venture out from the safety of the trees. In addition, Rawson Lake has a history of bad ice, and there have been others who have fallen through the ice while venturing out onto Rawson Lake. We don’t like to get too far from shore ourselves.

To snowshoe to Rawson Lake, leave the Upper Kananaskis Day Use parking lot and take the trail that goes to the left of the parking lot, past the toilets, and continue around the shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake. There are wonderful views across the lake here.

Soon you cross a bridge over Sarrail Creek and continue on the trail, looking for a path on your left. Follow the signs directing you to the Rawson Lake Trail on the left, which leaves the lakeshore and begins to gain elevation through the forest.

The trail gains steadily through dense pine forest towards Rawson Lake. You will be snowshoeing through the forest until you come abruptly to the lake shore. Enjoy the clearing here and admire Rawson Lake and surrounding peaks. If you’re here in midweek, you just may have all of Rawson Lake to yourself, which is a tremendous feeling.

Be aware of the dangers some of the snowshoe tracks leading off from here may pose. The tracks going left, around the edge of Rawson Lake lead into potential avalanche paths and should be avoided. In addition, the lake ice is hard to gauge, so be careful if you go on the ice. We personally avoid it.

Once you’ve had a great rest at Rawson Lake, return the way you came.

Insider Hints for Rawson Lake

  • Enjoy a winter picnic at Rawson Lake, but remember to bring your thermos!
  • Always check the avalanche forecast for Kananaskis before heading out.
  • If there hasn’t been snowfall in a while, you may be able to get up to Rawson Lakes with microspikes, as the route has been packed down.
  • Snowshoeing in the Kananaskis is a remote activity. Make sure you are prepared for an emergency with warm clothes, extra food, matches and ideally a satellite transceiver, like a Garmin InReach. Cell phones do not work until you get to Canmore.

Getting to the Rawson Lake Trailhead

From highway #40, follow signs to Upper Kananaskis Lake. Park at the Upper Kananaskis Lake Day Use Area and walk to the the left. There will be a trail kiosk with a map and toilets you pass by.

Route Information

  • When to do

    December - April

  • Mountain Huts

    None

  • Toilets

    Trailhead

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Avalanche Risk

    Simple

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Rawson Lake Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Rawson Lake Reviews

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