Rawson Lake - Hike

A trail through the woods with a steady incline, but a view worth working for. Arrive at your destination and step through the trees to see the lake and the splendor of the mountains so near and stunning! Emphasis on the fact that you don't have to summit a mountain in order to take in an amazing view!

Round trip: 7.8km 
Hiking Time: 2hr -4hrs
Elevation Gain: 300m 
FitBit: approx 13,100 steps and 120 flights of stairs
LocationPeter Lougheed Provincial Park
 Driving Directions from Calgary
Click map to link to directions on Google Maps

Marked: Yes
Facilities: Yes
How to get there: From Calgary drive west on HWY 1 towards Canmore. Take exit 118 toward Kananaskis Country and turn left onto Kananaskis Trail/AB-40 S. Drive about 50km to where the road is closed and turn right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail. Continue approximately 12.6 km and turn left when you see the sign for the Upper Lakes. Drive about 500m and turn right, there are multiple parking lots, so keep left and at the T turning into the south parking lot.

The Rawson Lake trail actually starts out on the same path as the Upper Kananaskis Lake trail but splits shortly after the waterfall. Before you get to the waterfall there are breaks in the trees and the views of Upper Kananaskis Lake are beautiful on a clear day! At the waterfall you will be reminded of the devastation of the flood of spring 2013. There used to be a bridge of which there is no sign of. Climb carefully down the rocks towards the river and you'll see where people have created a makeshift bridge out of two larger tree trunks (*This is as of spring 2015 and may have changed). You will need to traverse these and step on a few rocks to make it to the other side. It may be nerve wracking, but it can be done! We saw numerous people of all ages go across. This included one feeble looking little senior lady who used a walking stick in each hand to keep her balance. I figure if she can, I sure can, and therefore you can!

Once across the river head back to the tree line and look for the opening in the trees for the new path created. Take a right, away from the falls, and continue on your way. Not too far after you'll come to a fork, but there is a sign to point the way! Take a left and start your ascent. It's a steady incline with a few switch backs, not much to see other than forest, but if you stop and listen you'll likely hear some birds in the trees :)

Now this will depend on the time of year that you go, but in early June, nearing the top, there is lingering snow which only becomes deeper as you continue. The middle of the path was a packed ice ridge so caution is necessary so as not to slip. To the sides of the ice the snow was melted because it hadn't been packed down, but it's also a mucky wet mess. So this is your fair warning to wear proper footwear!

As you continue there are wooden planks to keep you above the melted snow, but at this time some parts were still covered in ice.

Once you reach the lake the view is spectacular! Peek through the trees and snap some pictures and don't turn around yet because you can keep going around the lake (there's actually an outhouse if you so need) and get a nice open view of the lake and the base of the mountain. You can follow the tree line around, but if you don't want to make your own path if there is none in the snow before you you may opt to scramble up the rocky/mossy hill.

Enjoy the stunning views before making your way back the same way you came. 

Upper Kananaskis Lake
View looking down from the base of the waterfall, flood devastation apparent.
Upper Kananaskis Lake, river crossing on the right
A makeshift bridge, balance required, but doable!
Rawson Lake in early June 2015
Don't forget to enjoy what's underfoot too!

-In the spring time it is said that bears can be seen feeding on the green space at the base of Mt. Sarrail. Be smart and educate yourself before setting out hiking. And always carry bear spray.
-Sometimes the air and sun are warm when you get started hiking, but a gain in elevation can mean a drop in temperature as well so bring layers just in case.

Happy Hiking!