Ribbon Creek Trail to Ribbon Lake Trail

MODERATE 87 reviews

Ribbon Creek Trail to Ribbon Lake Trail is a 20.6 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 accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
20.6 km
ELEVATION GAIN
997 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

lake

river

views

waterfall

no dogs

hiking
3 days ago

Just went to the falls. Very well maintained path until we hit some snow. Couldn’t seem to find the trail for about 10 minutes just before the falls but forged a path through the snow which was still doable. Super easy and the water is incredibly clear right now. About 4.5 hours round trip just to the falls at a moderate rate.

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful hike! Went with a large group of 9 people and we were not prepared for how long it is or the trails. Once you hit the nonmaintained trail it's incredibly hard on your feet so be sure to wear proper footwear. There are many rocks and tree roots you need to step on or over! Right now is the perfect time to go because the water is so clean and beautiful same as the waterfall. We didn't make it to the lake as we started late and wanted to make it back before sunset and our feet were hurting from the trail but other hikers said there was knee-deep snow still up there so would want to wait at least a month before going again. We started the hike around 12 pm and ended at 8 pm on the dot but we did go chill out at the rocks for a while which took us much longer.

hiking
6 days ago

A really fun but long hike. Went yesterday May 19 and there was still lots of snow (waist-deep) on the trail from the falls to the lake. Trail finding was pretty difficult but we made it to the lake and though it was mostly frozen over it was incredibly beautiful and calm. Not many people make this trek at this time of year, so chances are you'll have it to yourself. Take caution on the chains as they can be a little slippery when wet.

The 11km to the falls, however, was very gentle and the trail was in good condition. The falls are big and gorgeous this time of year. Perfect for dogs and family outings.

hiking
14 days ago

Lots of bear activity today. I would wait until later in the summer before attempting this hike again.
We hiked about 2.15hrs in, almost to the campground but there was a fresh kill on the trail so we turned around.

Not too much snow until about 2 hrs in.

The little waterfalls along the way are nice but no spectacular views.

Pretty easy hike.

hiking
19 days ago

We went May 2nd and the trail was full of snow which made it pretty hard to walk through with hiking boots. Definitely would need cleats or snow shoes to finish it. It was pretty flat for the most part, I wouldn’t even call it a moderate hike. There are a lot of reviews about if being really scenic and breathtaking. It was nice but I wouldn’t say the scenery was amazing. Going to try it again in the summer, maybe have a better experience.

snowshoeing
4 months ago

Great for snowshoeing, beautiful

snowshoeing
6 months ago

Beautiful place to Snowshoe!

hiking
6 months ago

Nov. 2nd hike 10 cm of snow... beautiful.

hiking
7 months ago

We hiked this trail on October 1st. As it started snowing on our way out we did not make it past the falls - it would've been too dangerous to pass the cliff hazard and two ladies coming down had already told us that the trail to the lake was barely visible.
Although it's a fairly long hike (16 km out and back if you only go to the falls) it's not a very challenging one - I am new to hiking and managed easily. It took us about 4.5 hours with breaks for snacks/drinks and photos. There is very little elevation gain and it rises very gradually. Only when it started snowing it got a bit more difficult because it got a little slippery. The trail mostly follows the creek which provided nice views of the water. The falls are beautiful. There is also a washroom at the campground by the falls (as well as at the trailhead). Because the weather wasn't great we only saw 5 or 6 other pairs of hikers on the trail.

7 months ago

nice trail beautiful

8 months ago

one of best creek in alberta rocky.

hiking
9 months ago

We took Ribbon Creek Trail to Ribbon Falls and onward to Ribbon Lake. This was a fantastic day. The hike to Ribbon Falls is long, but not too challenging. The trail climbs gradually, though the path is rocky and uneven much of the way. I'm glad I didn't bring my dog as the very rocky terrain would have been hard on her paws. The Falls are beautiful and make for a full-sensory stop along the trail for photos or lunch.

Beyond the falls, the trail to Ribbon Lake is steeper and more challenging. The chains to scale the cliff hazard are manageable for a novice hiker, but not for the faint of heart. We managed alright with our daypacks, but would be hesitant to try the chains with overnight packs. However, we did see others on the trail who were planning to backpack to the lake. We saw children on the trail around 10 years old manage the chains alright too. We definitely wouldn't want to climb down in the rain, however. A slip could be very dangerous with the cliff below. Also, trying to get a dog up/down the chains is NOT something I recommend. Nevertheless, Ribbon Lake is beautiful and worth the trek! The views up there are amazing! It was much chillier up there, however, so dress appropriately.

It took us about 3 hours to get to the Falls. The entire day to the lake and back was 8.5 hours including lunch, snack and photo stops.

camping
9 months ago

We hiked to the Ribbon Lake campground, which is a beautiful and fairly sheltered spot. The hike from the parking lot to the falls is fairly flat and gets a bit boring, but the hike from the falls to the campground is more challenging, especially with the chains. My husband kindly carried my backpack up the chains for me, and I had no problems. Highly recommend going up the chains, as the views are much better.

9 months ago

Longer hike than anticipated and wish we had got an earlier start. Many awesome places to stop along the trail and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. I did not know there was a campground at the base of the falls and was envious of the people setting up camp there! We hiked to the chains but was getting too late in the day to head up to the lake. Busy trail early to late afternoon but that evening we were solo on the trail. Will definitely redo this hike and camp.

9 months ago

started early mid-week so pretty empty... loved all the access points to the creek - the dog was in and out of the water all day..

backpacking
10 months ago

I'm going to start this by talking about the chain section, as it was the part I was most nervous about and I tried to find more details about online, but found them relatively lacking. I hope this is helpful for others who are nervous!

My boyfriend and I were camping at the campground, so we had fairly heavy packs (compared to people who were day hiking). We found the first and second climbs of the section to be the most difficult, and after that it's pretty easy. To be clear, you're not hanging off the edge of the cliff with nothing down below, but these sections are a sharp incline and some of them are quite high up, so you could definitely hurt yourself if you fall off, especially if you were to missing the ledge falling down. I found the second section especially hard to navigate, as I just could not figure out how to get up. It seemed impossible with my short legs! (I needed to put more trust in the chain in the end.)

That being said, neither of us are experienced climbers in any way, and I'm quite scared of heights. But we were able to do it. Of course there is absolutely no shame in deciding it's too tough, but if you take your time and are careful, it's completely doable. Also, bringing some gloves with a good grip would be helpful. My hands hurt a lot after.

Also, as someone else said, I have no idea how you would get a large dog up this section. It's very steep and I don't think it would be fair to force a dog up. You could probably carry a small dog up, I guess?

If you're not up for the chains, I would still recommend going up until you hit the chain section because you get some very beautiful views. The falls are nice but the hike there is a bit monotonous. (The lake is completely worth getting to as well, in my opinion.)

The campground is fine but there's not enough group fire pits for 20 tent sites. The group area got really crowded, especially around meal times.

In conclusion: the chains aren't completely unmanageable, especially if you've never done it before, just be careful and take your time. No shame in calling it quits either, definitely listen to your gut! If you want to avoid the chains, at least go up past the falls for a little bit to get some nice views.

It took us about 3 hours and 20 minutes to get from the trailhead to Ribbon Lake campground, and a little less the next morning on the way back. (About 2 hours to Ribbon Falls).

Hopefully that was helpful for anyone who was looking for this information!

hiking
10 months ago

great trail with good length, well marked nice and shaded. even better if you continue past the falls and go to the lake ... a must do hike for anyone who has never done it or any hike and want to get in to hiking

hiking
10 months ago

The hike to the falls is beautiful and easy, but quite long (I guess this is why it's rated moderate). You hike through beautiful areas along Ribbon Creek. There are lots of places to stop and take in the scenery. The falls are about 10km into the hike, just past the campsite. The hike to the lake is where it gets a bit more steep, with some scree slopes to cross. The first chain climb was easy, but we weren't prepared or skilled enough for the second chain. I commend those who make it to the lake, because it takes a great amount of skill and effort!!

hiking
10 months ago

Amazing hike, beautiful views.

10 months ago

This was a beautiful trail! It is a nice gentle incline over a long distance and the scenery was breathtaking throughout! We had lots of stops to enjoy lunch and snacks along the way and we're able to do the full route to the waterfalls and back within 6 hours! Highly recommend for both new hikers and pros!

hiking
10 months ago

Easy but long in the beginning. Really beautiful wooded trail with some parts thick bush and others rocky. After the falls, as most people mention, it gets pretty steep. The chains weren't too bad on the way up but there's one part that's really smooth and I struggled on the way down with my footing. I'm not a climber and I'm not used to the body mechanics to do it safely. I'm also one to panic so I'm glad I had someone with me to help. Although we saw people maneuvering it with 40lb backpacks so it depends on your own abilities :)
The lake at the end is stunning...actually the views for most of the way are gorgeous.

We did see a brown bear about an hour into the hike and a small cougar about 30 mins after the falls. The cougar was very disinterested in us and we saw the bear with enough time and space to back off and let it move on. There's lots of bush on this trail though so keep that in mind. Wildlife can be hard to spot. We probably got within 15m of the bear before we saw it and I don't think it saw us. Could have easily got closer if we weren't paying attention! Luckily there was a lot of people not too far behind us making lots of noise so we stuck close to other groups after that and had no more encounters.

hiking
10 months ago

Loved doing this hike. The beginning of it is pretty easy. Just a leisurely walk through the woods until you get to the waterfall and then it starts to incline upwards. The chains to Ribbon Lake look intimidating but they are easy to do. Would do this hike again.

backpacking
11 months ago

The trail is pretty boring until you reach the falls, but from there on it's quite interesting. The chain section is alarming to some, but don't be dissuaded from continuing onto the lake. The section immediately following the chains was memorable for me; there was a lot of fog cover which lent an eerie feel to the trail. There was a light scramble for a short while, until you emerge at the lakeside. I camped the night, and woke to find 3 inches of snow on the ground, making the lake and the surrounding scenery much more picturesque. There's firewood provided at the site, of which we burned liberally. Once I had a belly full of oatmeal, I set off homebound. I ran into a father and daughter struggling to get their golden lab through the chain section - it stressed me out just watching. There are plenty of other more appropriate hikes in the area for your four legged friends to participate in.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

This trail is labelled as easy, but it's got some pretty challenging bits such as the chains over the cliff, after walking 10 km.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Easy hike, beautiful trails

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Beautiful hike and relatively easy until you get to the chains, which are pretty a little difficult. The Ribbon Creek campsite is also very beautiful as you can hear the falls all night long.

hiking
Monday, August 29, 2016

Hiking to Ribbon Falls was relatively easy even with the new trail post flood, great valley views. Taking the extra time to go up to Ribbon Lake is well worth it but that leg of the hike is not "easy" the hike has the best views but the cliff section was a bit of a challenge, but so worth it! Our km tracking states it was 29.78 km round trip from Parking lot to Ribbon lake and back.

hiking
Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gorgeous views. This hike is good for all ages but best if started early in the day. Take snacks and beware that bears are out feasting on the excellent berry crop.

hiking
Friday, July 29, 2016

My best advice for this trail is the same advice I give for all of them. Start early, and don't forget your water. It is an easy hike with a waterfall at the end that makes the entire 22Km worth it. (and don't forget your sunscreen!!)

Monday, June 06, 2016

beautiful scenery!

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