Kananaskis country is an impressive multi-use recreational area in the foothills and front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. there are several Provincial parks and campgrounds located within Kananaskis including peter Lougheed, spray valley, and Bragg creek provincial park. as one of our favorite areas for adventuring, K-Country is home to some of the most incredible views, wildlife, & activities in all of Alberta.
This entire area is chock-full of remarkable mountains, lakes, and campgrounds with beauty and excitement around every corner. You really can`t go wrong with any turn, the diverse landscape from the foothills to the Rockies makes Kananaskis quite unique. If you`re looking to avoid the crowds, your best bet is to drive south on Highway 40. The further you get from the town of Canmore or the Number 1 Highway, the less busy it will be! Ready to start exploring? Keep reading for our very favorite hikes in Kananaskis Country.
King Creek Ridge
HARD: 6.8km & 777m elevation
Did you eat your Wheaties this morning? We hope so because King Creek Ridge may not look too tough on paper but this trail gets hella steep! The views from the top, though, of the surrounding mountain ranges and the Kananaskis Valley, are entirely worth your effort. You gain almost all of your elevation over the first few kilometers, so once you get to the ridge you can relax and enjoy the scenery for the rest of the hike.
TIP: Make sure to bring proper hiking boots and poles for this one! You will thank us later.
Mist Mountain Hot Springs
HARD: 6.4km & 555m elevation
Mist Mountain Hot Springs is one of the most rewarding hikes in Kananaskis Country, located along Highway 40. The entire trail is remarkable, winding you through the forest, alpine meadows, and along a rocky ridge to the springs. There are 2 hot pools to reward your efforts with views of the entire valley.
TIP: This trail has become quite popular over the past few years. If you want to increase your chances of having the hot springs to yourself, either go early in the morning or for sunset on a weekday! If you do happen to arrive at a busy time and want some peace and quiet, continue past the hot spring and around the mountain a few hundred meters. No one goes that way and the views are excellent! We hung out there for about an hour and made some hot chocolate to escape the crowds after our soak.
Rawson Lake & Sarrail Ridge
HARD: 11.3km & 1066m elevation
The trail to Rawson Lake is only 3.9km each way with about 320m of elevation gain. If you are a beginner or looking for a laid-back day hike, finish at the lake and enjoy your time there for the afternoon. If you`re up for a challenge, however, we would highly encourage you to move on to Sarrail Ridge. Over 700m of elevation in 2 kilometers… it`s a thigh burner the entire way up! Your reward for making it to the top is an incredible, panoramic view over Upper Kananaskis Lake.
Blackshale Suspension Bridge
EASY: 6.1km & 333m elevation
This trail is located along Highway 747, near Kananaskis Lakes, and begins at the Black Prince parking lot. Even though you can technically park closer to the bridge, it is illegal to park along the shoulder of the highway. The good news is that this trail is short, easy, and runs parallel to the highway. Once there, the bridge is picturesque and offers some great photo opportunities!
HARD: 8.9km & 922m elevation
This is one of the first mountains you will see after leaving Calgary. Its large flat face on the north side of Highway 1 is a dead giveaway and the trailhead is located right at the base of the mountain. The trail is well marked as you make your way through the forest but once you reach the tree line and start the scramble to the peak, it becomes a bit more difficult.
This hike is so popular that people have carved out multiple different trails along the way. It’s a good idea to carry a GPS map on your phone to make sure you’re on the correct path. Getting closer to the peak, there is a chain in place to help you scale a small 20-foot ledge. The way down goes extremely quickly as you can shale run down about 1/3 of the mountain!
TIP: We would highly recommend choosing Yamnuska for a sunrise hike. Once you get above the treeline, you have a panoramic view of the sun rising up over the prairies.
Ha Ling Peak
HARD: 7.2km & 748m elevation
Towering over the charming town of Canmore, Ha Ling is an impressive peak with some really unique aspects along the way. The first viewpoint from the trees is over the turquoise blue water of Whiteman`s pond. From there, you will climb several stairs (which make for a great photo op) before beginning the scramble to the top. The final section is often incredibly windy so be sure to bring layers—even in the middle of the summer!
HARD: 21.7km & 949m elevation
The trailhead to Ribbon Lake is located right beside Kananaskis Village. This trail has two backcountry campgrounds, one at the base of Ribbon Falls and the other at Ribbon Lake. Although the hike to Ribbon Falls is 8km each way, the moderate elevation gain is gradual and very doable with all your overnight gear! You will walk along Ribbon Creek and through the beautiful forest until the trees open up and you get a spectacular view of the falls.
You can choose to stay at The Ribbon Falls Campground for a night first or jump right into the additional 2km hike up to Ribbon Lake. The 250m of final elevation is challenging and involves climbing up a chain secured to a steep rock face. Once you arrive at the lake, though, you will be rewarded with a sense of remote serenity and extreme beauty.
TIP: Bring your fishing rod, your hammock, or your favorite donut floaty to enjoy the water.
HARD: 10.8km & 904m elevation
Porcupine Ridge is close to Calgary and offers amazing views of the surrounding peaks and valley! You’ll spend the first 0.5km of this hike walking along a creek bed before reaching the ridge. Once you hit the beginning portion of Porcupine Ridge you’ll start gaining elevation very quickly. The views are exceptional the entire way as you follow the ridge all the way up to the peak. Don’t forget to sign the pink book at the top before heading back down!
MODERATE: 3.7km & 298m elevation
Last but not least, this trailhead is located along Highway 66 near Bragg Creek. We love the fact that it is close to home and relatively short, making it a perfect evening sunset hike. The trail starts out fairly flat but quickly begins to gain elevation as you make your way up to the peak. The view from the top is absolutely beautiful and well worth the steep ascend.