Distance: 7.2 km
Elevation Gain: 525 meters
Time Required: 3 - 5 hours
Starting from beautiful Upper Kananaskis Lake, this hike is a grueling upward slog, but incredibly rewarding, every single time you look back. The paroramic views over Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes get better every time you stop to catch your breath, and even if you don’t summit, you will be thankful for the breathtaking view at whatever point you decide to stop. This is a strong intermediate to strenuous hike, but with no scrambling required. Plan this hike for later in the season, after you’ve warmed up on a few easier ones to get your legs in shape.
Starting at North Interlakes Day Use Area, head counter-clockwise around Upper Kananaskis lake and across the catwalk. The trail is less than 100 meters down the trail but isn’t marked, look for the worn trail heading to the right, following a path up the mountain. At the time of my visit, there was a small fence with a bear warning at the start of the trail. Hike in a group and take responsible bear precautions, and you should be fine.
Follow the trail through forest and then ascend the ridge that runs up the mountain. Be very careful of your footing along the ridge so you don’t fall, it gets steep at points. The trail climbs quickly and once you pass the tree line, the view over Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes is incredible. You can stop hiking and return at any point, without missing much. If you are a strong hiker however, you can continue up the ridge until the trail divides Go left to make the summit, or take a right and the trail with continue more level to a small pond around the bend.
I may have been a little out of shape when I did this hike, because I couldn’t make it to the summit. After the steady upward climb I was out of breath, and instead opted for lunch next to the pond. The views are stunning no matter where you look so it didn’t feel like a loss to miss the summit. The wildflowers were blooming and the pond was beautifully situated in a pocket on the other side of a wildflower filled meadow. Definitely one of the hardest hikes I have done, but the views aren’t to be missed. Make sure to check trail reports and take bear spray on this one.