Rawson Lake Trail to Sarrail Ridge

MODERATE 353 reviews

Rawson Lake Trail to Sarrail Ridge is a 10.8 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
10.8 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1,021 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

fishing

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

beach

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bridge out

bugs

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

closed

Closed due to bears as of July 7, 2018 https://www.albertaparks.ca/media/6495644/rawson-lake-closure-notice.jpg

hiking
6 days ago

Loved this hike! A good challenge since the hike up the ridge is really steep but it's totally worth it once you get to the ridge. It was smoky so will have to go back for the views but it was still absolutely beautiful and with the quick elevation gain it gives that sense of accomplishment. Head to the far end of the ridge and you can do another little climb up to the flag -not sure if the flag is new as this was my first time up there. Climbing to the ridge and back down again was a challenge for us since the dirt was dry and made footing a bit precarious at times with all the loose rocks -for me poles were a must but I saw lots of people getting by without. My friend and I are slow and steady when it come to hiking and it took us 6 hours total, 4 hours of moving time and 2 hours total for breaks. No real breaks on the path up to Rawson, but lots on our way up the ridge and a long one up top since it was so beautiful.

hiking
6 days ago

This is a well travelled trail and it is no wonder why. Some of the most amazing views you could hope for. The trek to Rawson Lake and around it is fairly moderate. From the lake up to the ridge is challenging but doable. So worth it to go to the top for the amazing views and feeling of accomplishment

One of the best views in Alberta!

hiking
7 days ago

Beauty hike! Started early which was a plus to avoid the crowd hiking. To the lake was a nice gently hike. To the ridge was steep and hard. But well worth the views!
Unfortunately did the hike when it was super smoky so could barely see upper kananaskis lake.

Definitely recommend doing this hike if you are looking for a good elevation gain in a short time.

10 days ago

I would rate this Trail easy , it sure is beautiful view up there took us 4 hours back and forth , with taking lots of breaks ,,,

hiking
12 days ago

Busy but fun. Rawson lake to the ridge is VERY steep. I never bring poles but I was glad to have found a walking stick along the way because especially going down, without it you will be slipping and putting great stress on your knees. Once you get up its a fantastic view of a few glaciers and both Kananaskis and Rawson lakes, one on either side. A must do but be mindful it is an incredibly steep, dirt trail.

The trail from the Kananaskis lake to Rawson lake is steady but quick, and quite easy in comparison to the ridge trail.

12 days ago

Very busy trail so get there early! Poles are recommended on the descent from Sarrail to the lake. Views on the ridge are unbelievable!

hiking
15 days ago

Trail is open as of August 3rd, spoke to the Kananaskis park info line to confirm.

hiking
15 days ago

Just hiked this yesterday with my wife. It's no longer closed. Amazing views and not a soul as it was raining on and off. The ascent looked as if it was going to take over an hour but to our surprise it only took us roughly 45 min. As others have stated, poles are almost a must. We only had one set but each used one and it worked out fine. IMO going up is much more daunting than the decent. It felt as if it'd be the opposite but we had no troubles and got down in about 25-30 min. Saw a bear mid way up the valley after we passed the bottom heading back along the lake otherwise no other wildlife (besides squirrels). We hike maybe once or twice a year in Wisconsin where we're from so we're pretty much beginner hikers and haven't dealt with any terrain close to this, but if you're in somewhat decent shape I feel almost anyone can make this. I also have a fear of heights but am glad we went up. You get used to it after 5-10 minutes of walking around up top.

16 days ago

What an amazing hiking trail! Thoroughly enjoyed the lovely trail to Rawson Lake! The water is a gorgeous green with a wonderful glacier in the background. The hike up the ridge is challenging to say the least, but as previous hikers have commented...SO WORTH IT!!! The views are phenomenal! Just an FYI-I would rate this portion of the hike as hard, the ‘moderate’ can be a bit misleading, unless that’s a reference for the Rawson Lake portion. Be prepared to get a great cardio workout in, it truly was an extraordinary hike!

17 days ago

I did this just before it closed and it's a burner! The hike to the lake is moderate, very groomed, and goes through a beautiful lush forest.. but then you see the ridge and you die inside a little. You see this really steep crazy looking hill with little dots making their way up it, so away you go. I love this one because it's quite trafficked with all types of people so it ends up being a pretty supportive "WE ARE DYING AND OUR LEGS ARE BURNING BUT WE CAN DO IT" group going up. On the decent when people ask you if they're almost to summit, just say yes, it will make them feel better about their decision. Bring poles, good shoes, a rain jacket, layers, and lots of water. Maybe a change of clothes incase it's raining because my boyfriend rolled down the hill like 5 times and was a mud swamp by the end. It was snowing at the top when we got there so we only managed to get one clear-ish shot, but I imagine it would be so so gorgeous on a clear day. We also saw an animal that we were convinced was a mountain sloth. They don't exist you say? Well that's what this ridge hike did to our brains... we were so tired by the time we got up the short ridge trek that we were jumping for joy at the sight of the great Canadian mountain sloth in the snow. We also told others and they were excited about it, lots of photos were taken of this rare National Geographic wonder. Turns out it was some kind of mountain rat or marmot or something. MEH. I fed it some bread anyways, the dude lives on top of a ridge and probably only eats one fly a month because he's really really slow. Like so slow. Hence the sloth situation. Carb loaded the little creature so he is set. Do this one, preferably when there isn't a bear apocalypse though.

hiking
20 days ago

We did this hike the day before it closed. It was the most amazing scenery. Rawson lake is a beautiful green lake with a glacier surrounding it. The hike to the ridge is steep and slippery if it’s been raining, but the view at the top is amazing. We ran into a young grizzly down the bottom who was totally chill and minded his own business. Most beautiful experience!

23 days ago

Trail closed due to Bears

hiking
1 month ago

Love this hike. A steady climb up, there is quite a bit of snow on the trail. If you stay on the packed trail you should be ok. We just hiked to the lake which is still frozen but still stunning. It will start to get muddy with the melt.

1 month ago

Amazingly beautiful. Gets busy depending on the day and the season. The views from the top of the ridge are unbelievable. The ridge is a challenging hike up. The Rawson hike is moderate and enjoyable.

hiking
1 month ago

Rawson Lake Closed due to bears

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike!! The hike up to Rawson Lake is a steady incline but manageable! The hike from the lake to the ridge is more difficult as it is very steep - I would strongly recommend poles. It is doable though and so worth the view! We even saw a goat on the ridge with us. I would do this hike again.

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty easy hike up until the ridge. Steep but so worth the views! We went up with my dog and she did really well. Only sketchy coming down as it was raining and really slippery. Was worried about getting my dog down but she did fine and there were many other dogs up the trail as well

1 month ago

Beautiful! All forest until you reach Rawson and then it’s straight up the ridge. Steep and a bit challenging but the payoff at the top is well worth it. Great view of the mountains and upper and lower Kananaskis lakes. Highly recommended

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

One of the best hikes in Kananaskis. First bit is moderate, middle bit is easy, last 1km is hell. Small bit of scrambling and very steep to the summit, but you’re rewarded with insanely beautiful views of Kananaskis.

hiking
1 month ago

Section from Upper Kananaskis Lake to Rawson Lake is in the trees, but otherwise excellent views the whole way. Portion above Rawson Lake is not an official trail - goes straight up with no switchbacks and so quite bad coming down - wouldn't recommend attempting without hiking poles. 2 hours up and same coming down due to all the gravel and risk of slipping.

1 month ago

This may be the best hike I’ve ever done! The hike from Upper Lake to Rawson Lake is moderate but I would rate the hike up to the ridge as hard. Hiking boots and poles would be very helpful. But it is definitely worth the view! Also be sure to bring bug spray as there are a ton of mosquitoes.

1 month ago

Great 360 degree views from the top of the ridge

hiking
1 month ago

Completed this hike on Canada Day. Easy hike to the upper lake. From the upper lake to Ridge it’s a grind but worth it for the view!
Would highly recommend poles and ankle boots from the lake to the ridge. Started to rain/snow on the descent which made it very slippery.

1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful. Gorgeous hike; however, be prepared for the hike. Definitely have some sort of rain gears and good boots/ shoes with you.
Have snacks and water.
I rate this hike as hard for most of it.

hiking
1 month ago

Do it for the views.. When I pulled up at the Upper Kananaskis Day Use area, the view from the parking lot alone was fantastic. But it got better. The climb from Upper Kananaskis Lake to Rawson Lake is a steady with little reprieve, but the payoff at the top is worth it. Rawson Lake, when the sun came out, was magical. Calm winds meant beautiful reflections and great photos. I walked to the other end of the lake, but didn’t do the climb to Sarrail Ridge as a bear was spotted adjacent to the trail by some other hikers (July 1, 2018). So exercise caution.
Dogs: The hike to Rawson Lake would be fine for dogs as the trail is mostly dirt to that point. But I’d be concerned about their paws on the rocky path around the lake and up to the ridge.
Timing: I departed the day use area around 7:55am. My climb up was quiet and peaceful with few other hikers. The path got quite busy with tourists and families around mid-day, however, so I was glad I started earlier. I walked at a leisurely pace, stopped to take many photos, and enjoyed lunch at the lake. With all the breaks, I made it back to the car by 1:15pm.
I’ll definitely be doing this hike again. Easily one of my favourites in Kananaskis now for the views.

1 month ago

Definitely should be rated hard for portion up to the ridge. Was so beautiful though and even saw a grizzly! Great day!

1 month ago

Very steep hike but totally worth it. The view is incredible.

hiking
1 month ago

Hike to Rawson Lake is relatively easy, followed by a short but steep hike up to Sarrail Ridge.

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