Ribbon Creek Trail to Ribbon Lake Trail

MODERATE 57 reviews

Ribbon Creek Trail to Ribbon Lake Trail is a 20.9 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
20.9 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1240 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

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.

hiking
6 days ago

camping
9 days 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.

21 days 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.

hiking
25 days ago

hiking
25 days ago

27 days 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..

hiking
30 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike, beautiful views.

1 month 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
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago