Explore the most popular camping trails in Kananaskis Provincial Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great views pretty easy trail but is very rocky the hole way. About 4km from elbow lake there is a small man made Inuksuk on the left if you fallow that into the bush on the left it comes out to a beautiful water fall definitely worth the hike !

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
2 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

hiking
2 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.

Hiked this the other day with my kids. Easy, beautiful Hike. Pack a lunch and enjoy the lake when you get there. Campsite where clean, well taken care of.

backpacking
2 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.

backpacking
2 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 ☀️

hiking
2 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.

Simple review here. Absolutely beautiful spot. Great backcountry camping spots. Outhouses were clean. Lake is beautiful and fishing was great. Not the biggest fish but they bite like mosquitos. Follow @Thebackcountrycamper on Instagram
Thank you Alltrail for an amazing app. Follow them too @alltrails

hiking
2 months ago

It’s a long hike 21 km. But it’s easy. Start at Elbow lake hike the trail on the left of the lake, stop at Edworthy Falls around half way point marked by a Cairn on the left side of the trail after you go through the valley. Do some research before going to find maps to Rae Lake or you could lost. It’s off Sheep River trail. I love this area. It’s a must see.

hiking
3 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.

hiking
3 months ago

Fairly easy hike. Under 2 hrs with a 3 year old (only including lake loop). Beautiful lake and lots of places to stop for a picnic or dip in the water.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked this trail June 30,2018. Initial ascent is is a bit steep to Elbow lake then the rest of the hike is on a flat wide trail with nice views along the way there was a few wet spots but otherwise trail is in great shape. When we needed to branch off and ascend the trudge up Rae mountain we needed to do a bit of route finding since it's early season and the trail we were on was almost non-existent and there are no signs. We finally found the trail up to Rae Lake which is really pretty.

Awesome hike. Beautiful scenery from start to finish.

I really love this Trail the beginning is a bit steep but once you get to to the lake the rest is pretty flat easily one of my favorite hikes

I did this hike the weekend after I did pocaterra ridge. They are in perfect view of each other. We did Elbow lake, Elbow pass, Tombstone pass then both the lower and upper Tombstone lakes. It was a long hike but the scenery was phenomenal.

cool place! great easy hike!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

it's a long one. I'd recommend doing it in two days via hiking or grab a mountain bike and start the trail at 7am

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Very easy. Very pretty.

incline at the trail head was a challenging, but once you reach the lake it's worth it. And the rest of the trail to Edworthy falls and tombstone was a great hike.

hiking
Monday, September 04, 2017

A gorgeous lake at the end. We hiked up to the falls near the glacier and then followed the running water back down to the lake. So much fun.

very easy and accessible for anyone

hiking
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

**Did a variation of the posted map**
Where the map has you turn to walk below the mountain, we continued on down the main path another 700 m to the junction with the Sheep River Trail. Walk down the Sheep River Trail for about 1.8-1.9 km. You'll see a big pile of rocks - that's your trail head (If you've walked over top of the stream [piped underneath the pathway] you've gone too far). Walk along this narrow, forested, uphill pathway alongside the river for about 1.37 km, at which point you will arrive at at Rae Lake! Taking this way in and out was 19-20 km and took about 6 hours, with a couple short breaks,
I would recommend long sleeves and pants if you want to walk along the river pathway - there are branches of all shapes and sizes at various heights.

Overall quite enjoyed this hike. Great scenery - forests, lakes, river, valleys. Hard, loose rock pathway so you'll want some thick soled shoes! Will definitely do again.

My wife and I finished our week near Banff with this hike. Did 60+ miles this week. This hike was steep in two parts. The first bit to Elbow lake and the last bit from Tombstone campground to the lake are quite steep, but easy to climb (not slippery, etc). Don't miss the waterfall that is about halfway to the campground (as others have mentioned). There is a nicely made rock pile to mark the trail to it. The trail from the Tombstone campground to the lake had minimal traffic (on a Saturday), and there are portions that seem very isolated and have good bear habitat. Make noise. The lake is an amazing place. Bring your fly rod and some dry flies. The cutthroat trout were surfacing constantly while we ate lunch. Maybe the most tranquil place I visited this week.

Randomly found this little gem on a day drive of the Kananaskis Trail and walked up to Elbow Lake. Plan to return to camp here and trek further up to Tombstone. Met a couple guys on the trail with skis and a snowboard who had hiked up to the glacier to ride it down in July!!!

It was great hiking! Love it!

Always a favourite spot! Elbow Lake is beautiful and a great place to camp!

It was raining when I was there last time but still amazing. Will go again.

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