Explore river, lake, few days - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Great hike with minimal elevation gain, all along Stein River. A few scree scrambles but they're short. Many well developed campsites along the trail with bear bins and pit toilets make for good camping.

The canyon is spectacular. Hiked in from the main parking lot and it took around 7 hours. A lot of elevation gain so I would suggest staying at the campground!

hiking
3 months ago

I grew up hiking Stein so I’m biased. However if you hike this trail. I promise you won’t regret it. There’s beautiful paintings along the way. At the beginning there’s an asking rock which you pray to a higher power you believe in and ask them to watch over your journey before you hike along. There’s camping spots along the trail & fresh water also along the way. This trail is known to get bears, however as long as you have bear spray and bear banger or something to make noise you shouldn’t have any issues. If you have dogs please pickup after them. The trail is beautifully kept & for good reason. I always bring my dogs and always stop at the water for them to cool off and get some fresh water. The devils staircase is my favorite spot to stop for a quick bite to eat. If you keep going there’s plenty of stops to stop @ however be prepared for a workout. :)
No pass is needed to park at the trailhead.

hiking
3 months ago

Fun hike and gorgeous views. Just make sure when u enter the valley and see the headwall with two sets of waterfalls that you are on the trail angling up to the higher set!! Otherwise it's a grovel up rocky scree.

One of the most rewarding hikes. Wouldn't say it's hard untill we got to the chains. Definitely look for the arrow pointing to the right before you enter the veally. We missed it and scrambled up the side of the mountain. Would have been easier on the trail. The Lake is great and very relaxing. I don't like people cutting entire trees to get fire wood. Ten more years and the trees are gone.

hiking
3 months ago

Went this past weekend and it was great. Left base camp at 6:00 PM and ascended the chains in the dark at 9:30 PM (I do not recommend that). Overall, had a great trip. Fish were biting and the atmosphere was relaxing. Will do again.

hiking
3 months ago

Would not say this is a hard hike, just long. The hardest part would maybe be finding the chains.? You literally have to walk straight towards the waterfalls and than you’ll find them!! The trail is not very popular so it was nice being alone; that being said be careful if you’re by yourself and watch out for bears!! It was a warm day although the smoke from BC was extremely bad on the 15th. You also have to cross water twice, but the second ones not as deep and has a tree over it you can use instead of getting wet. The water at the top was warm enough to go in, and lots of fish!! It was super windy, but died down once we went around the left side towards the back trees! Soon I will post a short video on youtube of this hike if you would like too see it !! Channel name is ellakattey!!

Video name: Hiking - Carnarvon Lake

https://youtu.be/UzpaxO6ynhY

Excellent trails! Well maintained, great uphill workout and awesome downhill. Best to start at Balmoral trailhead.

This “trail” is just a forestry service road. We ended up driving the whole way up what the map showed as the trail. Not exactly what we were looking for (as in a place to go backpacking and camp overnight).

hiking
4 months ago

We did the hike on August 4 2018, and I added to "my favourite hikes" list.
After crossing the river you have a few other trails mark, and it's easy to get lost. Just follow the left ones until you have to cross a small river again (it's no deep or wide like the first river crossing)
The trail is not very steep, but they are few steeper sections, once you start getting closer to the chains.
We followed the trail record and continued straight, and ended in a no end where we had to do a hard scramble. Don't follow that, and take the right where the "barricade" is. We added more things to the barrier to make it more visible (see the photos)
The chains were my favourite part, and I believe is the only reason why this trail is consider "hard".
The lake is beautiful and amazing, you have tons to see and enjoy. Next time I will camp there for sure.

backpacking
4 months ago

Trail starts off nice and gradual. Around 2k into the hike you do have to cross a river, so be prepared. We found that if you hike up the river slightly there is a shallower section to cross. Once you've passed the river the hike does incline a bit. After about 8-9k you will reach the top of the forest hill and come to the mountain meadow. From there, you travel up the side of the mountain to the base of the waterfall. Be warned that there are a few sections where you ha e to climb up a chain. Once you're past the chain you'll be at the top of the lake! It is VERY windy as you get to the lake until you get around to the small wooded area across the lake towards the bc border.
A fantastic hike with incredible views. Would highly recommend.

Was my first time doing a hike of this calliber... absolutely insane. The effort was well worth it. Would recommend making sure you have perfect navigation (gps, map, compass) as its very easy to get lost on this trail.

backpacking
4 months ago

Highly recommended loop! We backpacked it over 3 days, staying at Aster Lake, then Three Isle campground. We had lots of rain around Point Campground to Hidden Lake, but then clear after that. Lots of elevation gain after Hidden Lake (gut buster!), towards Aster. Was still a large portion of snow in a chute at the scree portion of Aster Lake trail. Too icy to cross, but we managed to skirt around it. Day 2 was the long grind up to the ridge. Hot weather around us until we got to the highest point of the ridge trail.. then we got pummeled with hail. Excellent views all around, making it a highlight. Lots of storms around the area during the day, but we only got hit once. Some thinner portions of ridge, but was manageable. The descent down to Three Isle was longer than expected, but still some great views. Three Isle was a beautiful campsite on a really nice lake. Day 3 was the descent back down to Upper Kananaskis Lake. Some steep descending initially, until the trail leveled out and turned into a well groomed trail, which was easier on the body!

backpacking
4 months ago

A beautiful hike that includes all the goodies: brush, shale, waterfall, climbing, fishing and a pristine lake. The trail up is a steady climb, and a super wide path. The chains at the top were challenging but not terrifying if you are comfortable with heights; just don’t let go of the chain. It took us 4 hours to get up and about 3.5 to get down with packs. Enjoyed the overnight stay, but it seems to be in a weird weather vortex so prepare for all the elements. It would be too long of a day hike for me, I recommend a one nighter to have time to enjoy the lake ☀️

Late July 2018. There are some nice views of Upper K Lake and looking back while hiking up the valley to Turbine, but most of the time is spent in the woods. Beautiful woods, but not that many views. After Forks, the hike up is challenging, but on a well maintained trail. When you make it to Turbine, make sure you actually check out the falls that are a 60 second walk from the campground (half of the people that we met didn't know it was there including us!). If you made it this far, it's well worth the 2.2 km to Maude Lake where you can capture Beatty Glacier, Maude Lake and the continental divide all in one panoramic shot.
Many other backpackers were hiking the loop to Three Isle via Mt Beatty. We made the rookie mistake of giving it a try without a map and couldn't find the route to Beatty Lake Camp, but spent the day in the Northern Kanaskis Pass and were struck by it's beauty.

hiking
4 months ago

The highwood river is the only obstacle a hiker will experience (max 3ft at deepest section on river.) *Obviously depending on runoff.
The trail is beaten and is lined with a healthy amount of Alberta's wildflowers.
The last KM is an ascent up talus, once you have reached the headwall there are two sets of chains. The first chain is hidden behind a slab, it's located right beside the waterfall.

The lake is stocked with cutthroat trout, so make sure to bring your rod with you.

hiking
4 months ago

Stunning hike
easy trail, beautiful waterfalls and lots of old growth forest
washrooms about every 2.5 km
we both loved it!!

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike / scramble. One lake followed by another. Best to camp at Aster Lake & do over 2 days, or use the camp site as a jumping off point for one of the surrounding peaks. Lots of ice, snow & scree, so can be challenging.

backpacking
5 months ago

I have completed this loop twice (once in Washington direction). I prefer going to Three Isle Lake first. We got a bit lost when we went Aster Lake way first. I preferred the descent going to Aster Lake from the ridge as opposed to descending to Three Isle Lake. I recommend hiking it during the week if you can - less people on the ridge!

hiking
5 months ago

July 8 2018, we tried to hike today, but after 25 min walking the river stopped us. The river was to high to cross it, so we turned back. We didn't see any other hikers. If you go, be prepared to get wet. We'll try the hike again in the future.

Did this hike Canada Day weekend. Absolutely stunning. On the way there we went from sunshine to rain to a little hail but for the most part it was alright, some patches of snow on the ground but didn't need any crampons or snowshoes. Slept at Turbine Sunday night and woke up to see beautiful frosted mountains. We thought it would only snow on the mountaintops but about 5 minutes into breakfast we got hit with heavy hail that quickly turned to flurries. The hike back to Forks felt like a completely different experience with everything above the switchbacks blanketed in a white crystal sheet. In the span of 3 hours we went from sun -> hail -> snow -> rain -> sun when we finally hit Forks.
It's a tiring climb up with a backpack but it's well worth the views.

Great hiking, really spacious camp sites. Cool temps beside the river for sleeping.

absolutely love this trail and would highly recommend it! I have done it twice and will go back again. views are spectacular. would recommend a multiday to have the time to go off and explore a little bit and not be so rushed to do the distance and elevation in one day. The trail up to Aster can be a bit tricky find and follow. as along as you know the general direction of where you are going you will be fine.

backpacking
Monday, October 09, 2017

I had my 65th birthday on this ridge- a dream come true! The trip up to Aster lk. has so much variety . The glacier at the ridge was stunning. We hiked the ridge in both directions, staying at Aster both nights. This yr was Smoky so we didn't get a clear view of the Royal range- We hope to return next year and do the loop.

backpacking
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Four of us did the three day from UKL > Astor, Astor > Three Isle, Three Isle > UKL. Day one was super smokey and a bit unpleasant but cleared up as we arrived at Astor so we could enjoy the spectacular views. Fossil Falls was absolutely a highlight for us all. The next day we did Northover Ridge which would have been intimidating in any weather. It was absurdly windy for our crossing which made it even more "exciting". The views were spectacular though. This is definitely a favourite trip for me!

Monday, September 11, 2017

3 day backpack or about 13hr one day hike. Have to wait until probably mid July for the snow to be gone.

backpacking
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Three day backpacking trip including Aster Lake, Northover Ridge, and Three Isle Lake with family and friends. Fantastic views on a beautiful ridge. Highly recommend

hiking
Sunday, September 03, 2017

Did it in one day, it's a real grind. Beautiful views make it worth the effort! Got to see a wildfire burning in bc.

backpacking
Monday, August 28, 2017

This is a beautiful hike in the Kananaskis that leads to an amazing canyon that is been carved out of solid rock over millions of years. If you have the energy it is worth hiking up to Maude lake.

hiking
Monday, August 14, 2017

This is a tough hike to do in one day if you’re not physically fit. I would recommend splitting it up into 2 parts, first camping at forks then heading to the canyon on the second day. The second day is a brutal steep uphill climb on switch backs that seem to last forever but once you reach the top the views are nothing short of spectacular!

It was extremely Smoky on the way up for us and we saw nothing but a deer as far as wild life goes. Because of the steep incline, we were far too tired to visit the hauge glacier or the north K pass.

The second day it rained pretty much the entire time expect for a few breaks here and there, so that hindered our attempts to make it to the glacier or the pass. The canyon itself is a neat feature, a massive deep canyon that gives you the chills even if you’re not afraid of heights.

For next time I would also stay at forks on the way down because the entire leg it’s tough to do.

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