Whether you’ve come to visit Banff National Park or live nearby, hiking in Kananaskis will leave you wanting to come back for more. With jaw dropping views, we’d consider many of these to be the best hikes in Kananaskis.
While we think that the views from these Kananaskis hikes are more than worth it, there’s more than that! From waterfalls to stunning mountain lakes to alpine meadows filled with wildflowers, the incredible beauty and variety of these hikes is what makes Kananaskis one of the best places for hiking.
While there are plenty more amazing hikes, you won’t want to miss these 13 Kananaskis hiking trails.
Kananaskis Country is one of our favorite places to hike. It’s much easier to escape the crowds of Banff National Park and find quiet hiking trails.
With the closer proximity of these Kananaskis hikes to Calgary and Canmore, it’s definitely a locals favorite place to hike. While no one can dispute the incredible views you can get in Banff, you’ll find equally breath taking views in Kananaskis.
Kananaskis Hikes You Don’t Want to Miss
This isn’t an extensive list of hikes in Kananaskis, nor are these ALL the best hiking trails in Kananaskis. This is a list of hikes that everyone should do at least once. Each one provides something different, whether it’s a mountain lake, stunning mountain views or both.
This also does not take into account winter hiking in Kananaskis. Many easy summer trails can turn deadly in the winter if the trail enters into avalanche zones. We’ve made note of which ones make good winter hikes in Kananaskis but also recommend these easy Kananaskis snowshoe trails.
You’re likely to find Ha Ling Peak and EEOR (below) on every list of the best hikes in Kananaskis. What makes these so great? You can’t beat the views! While hiking up Ha Ling will get your blood pumping, that uphill climb is well worth it.
We’ve seen people of all fitness levels complete the Ha Ling Peak hike. While it can take some perseverance, one step at a time will get you there. The trail is easy to follow and it has a great reward. Just be cautious going past the saddle where you’ll be hiking on loose rocks and never venture too close to the edge.
With this hike being so close to Canmore, you can reward yourself with some delicious Canmore ice cream in town after your efforts!
While you’ll often see hiking Ha Ling Peak recommended on lists of best Kananaskis hikes, little is said about Miners Peak. While we think Ha Ling Peak is well worth the effort, if time permits, we recommend hiking to Miners Peak as well.
It’s little additional effort to hike up Miners Peak after you’ve already made it up to the saddle of the Ha Ling Peak hiking trail, but it’s quieter and the views are equally spectacular. In addition, you’ll get one of the best views of Ha Ling Peak.
One of our all time favorite Kananaskis hiking trails is hiking Wind Ridge. We’ve done this Kananaskis hike several times and it never fails to impress us. In 2020, we were excited to finally able to take our kids up this difficult day hike in Kananaskis.
The Wind Ridge hiking trail passes through a lush forest before climbing to an alpine meadow. Be sure to time this hike when the mountain wildflowers are in bloom. Hiking through the alpine meadow with the mountain views will leave you breathless.
Note: The Wind Ridge trail is closed every year from December 1 to June 15 to protect critical winter range habitat for elk and bighorn sheep.
After the view of Ha Ling Peak from Miners Peak, you can get an equally jaw dropping view from this Kananaskis hike. Hiking up EEOR (East End of Rundle) is also some of the best hiking in Kananaskis.
The higher you climb hiking EEOR the better the views get! Even with those incredible mountain views, hiking EEOR can be challenging especially when it comes to finding the trail. We highly recommend using the AllTrails app for this hike.
Trailhead: The nearest official parking lot is the Goat Creek parking lot. The EEOR trailhead is an unmarked trail from the side of the Smith-Dorrien Trail Highway
At the risk of calling all the Kananaskis hikes our favorites, the Wasootch Ridge hike definitely makes that list. We first hiked the Wasootch Ridge trail some 10 years ago and fell in love with the incredible mountain views.
We've returned to this hike several times over the years, continuing to enjoy it each time as much as the last. After a steep grind through the forest, you reach the ridge and hikers are treated to stunning mountain views the entire time.
To complete the full hike will take some scrambling on the final peaks. We, like most hikers, have turned around at the 5.2 km mark usually due to a time constraint. But don't worry, you'll get the best part of the hike even if you don't go to the Wasootch Ridge summit.
Trailhead: Wasootch Ridge trailhead is found in the Wasootch Day Use parking lot. Find the trail sign near the picnic tables nestled in the forest and follow the trail behind them.
Grassi Lakes is an easy hike in Kananaskis with a great pay off. This short Kananaskis hike is very popular on weekends as it’s the perfect family friendly hike. The trail is wide and being only 4 km, it can be done by most everyone.
Up at the top, you’ll be rewarded with views of the most stunning turquoise lakes. Hiking Grassi Lakes is also possible in the winter and is one of the best easy Canmore winter hikes. This family friendly hike in Kananaskis is busy enough that any snow will be packed down quickly requiring only winter boots (or possibly microspikes if the trail gets icy).
Grassi Lakes does have two different routes. If you prefer, you can do both trails as a loop. To improve your views, we recommend doing the harder trail on the way up and the easy trail on the way down.
Note: The Grassi Lakes difficult route is closed in the winter.
Trailhead: The Grassi Lake trail is found within the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park and the Grassi Lakes trailhead is found along Highway 742 (shortly after passing the Canmore Nordic Centre).
Another one of the easy hikes in Kananaskis is the hike to the Blackshale Suspension bridge. While you can park along the Smith-Dorrien (highway 742) and make this a short 1 km hike, we recommend hiking to the Blackshale Suspension bridge from the Black Prince Day Use parking lot. From the parking lot you’ll cross the Smith-Dorrien and start the 6km hike along the High Rockies Trail.
The trail undulates through the forest and while there may not be much to see, it’s a pleasant walk amongst the trees that eventually opens up the reveal the Blackshale Suspension Bridge.
Note: The Suspension Bridge is closed in the winter, but there is a bypass trail if you’d like to continue further along the High Rockies Trail.
Trailhead: Park at the Black Prince Day Use Area and the Blackshale Trailhead is directly across the Smith-Dorrien Highway.
While Chester Lake may be one of the more popular hiking trails in Kananaskis, it’s for good reason. Hiking to Chester Lake is always on our list of hikes to do in Kananaskis, at least once a season. The Chester Lake trail meanders up through the forest and pays off hikers with stunning views at the top.
In the summer, we enjoy the nice wide trail for this family friendly hike in Kananaskis. A picnic along Chester Lake is the perfect way to enjoy a warm afternoon in the summer in Kananaskis. For some extra fun, check out the nearby Elephant Rocks.
Chester Lake also makes a great winter hike in Kananaskis once the snow has been packed down. If there’s been a recent snowfall, plan to pack snowshoes and enjoy snowshoeing to Chester Lake. The meadow at the top is the perfect place to play in the deep snow.
Note: As part of an ongoing Kananaskis trail closures program, the Chester Lake hike is closed every year from May 1 to June 29 to allow the area to dry and prevent damage.
Trailhead: The Chester Lake trailhead leaves from the Chester Lake parking lot, found along the Smith-Dorrien Trail Highway (AB742).
Hiking the Watridge Lake Trail to Karst Spring is one of the best spring hikes in Kananaskis. The Watridge Lake Trails is wide, making it a family friendly hike in Kananaskis. If walking along the wide road doesn’t appeal to you, the Watridge Lake Trail is also an easy Kananaskis bike trail.
Along Watridge Lake Trail, you’ll get some impressive mountain views and Watridge Lake itself is beautiful. If you’ve ridden bikes to Watridge Lake, it’s time to park them and continue on the Karst Spring Trail by foot. The raging waterfall at the end of the Karst Spring Trail is well worth the effort.
A popular and rewarding hike from the Barrier Lake day use area, the Yates Mountain Trail is one of the best hikes in Kananaskis.
The Yates Mountain Trail offers a wide variety of scenery, ranging from a lakeside stroll along Barrier Lake, through dense forest and viewpoints with outstanding views of Barrier Lake and the stunning Rocky Mountains of Kananaskis Valley.
Given the Yates Mountain Trail is on the south side of the mountain, it gets lots of sun making it a nice option for a spring hike in Kananaskis.
Trailhead: The Yates Mountain trailhead leaves from the Barrier Lake Day Use parking lot.
Distance: 12.3 km out and back (option for a 15.9km loop)
Rawson Lake is one of the best easy to moderate hikes in Kananaskis. It's not often you get to enjoy not one, but two incredible Kananaskis lakes in the same hike!
Starting along the Upper Kananaskis Lake Trail, it’s hard to tear yourself away from the mountain reflections on the lake in the morning. The peacefulness of the Upper Lake in the morning makes you want to take it slow and hang around for a while.
While the Upper Kananaskis Lake trail starts off easy, you'll soon reach some steeper sections after the junction to Rawson Lake. Keep going though, because the views at Rawson Lake are more than worth the effort!
Trailhead: The Rawson Lake Trailhead is at the junction found 1.2 km along the Upper Kananaskis Lake trail.
If you have some energy after Rawson Lake, head up to Sarrail Ridge. This continuation of the hike is best for seasoned hikers in good shape.
You reach the Sarrail Ridge hike via Rawson Lake trail. You may not enjoy the steep climb (and by steep, we mean straight up!), but the views at the top of Sarrail Ridge will have you forgetting all about your burning legs.
Trailhead: Start at Upper Kananaskis Lake Trail to Rawson Lake. Sarrail Ridge hike starts from the end of Rawson Lake.
The West Wind Pass is a short Kananaskis hike that rewards hikers with some of the best scenery over such a short distance. While hiking up the side of a river valley, you'll get sweeping views over the Spray Lakes Reservoir.
At the top of the West Wind Pass trail, you’ll be at a mountain pass below The Rimwall and Windtower mountains. Looking northeast, you’ll enjoy incredible views of Wind Ridge (another of our favourite Kananaskis hikes), the Little Sister (Hope) from Canmore’s Three Sisters as well as Pigeon Peak.
It’s a stunning viewpoint which requires less than 3km of hiking to get there.
We are Dan and Celine Brewer, the proud owners of Travel Banff Canada. We are a local Canmore family who can't get enough of exploring our own backyard.
With two kids often tagging along on our adventures, you can rest assured that when we give advice on activities with kids that we’ve done it with our own kids. They've been our companions hiking and snowshoeing in these mountains since they were babies.
We’ve been exploring these mountains for decades and are excited to be sharing our insider knowledge of the Canadian Rocky Mountains with you.