It’s been an absolute privilege growing up near the Canadian Rockies. That drive from Calgary towards Canmore and Banff may be one of the most beautiful drives in the world. With so much to explore and so much to see in Kananaskis, we wanted to share 5 hikes in Kananaskis that you must do if you’re travelling the area or live close by.

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These are 5 hikes that we’ve personally done and absolutely recommend. We will share the length and difficulty for each of these hiking trails in Kananaskis to give you an idea of what they’re like and which ones you want to conquer first. They all range in difficulty and some are easier than others but, in our opinion, they are all some of the best hikes in Alberta.  

Kananaskis Country is the perfect place to hike because there are tons of trails just off of the highway, not too far from Calgary. Like Wasootch Ridge for example. Even if you’re driving between Banff and Calgary then there are plenty of great hikes right off the Kananaskis turnoff. There’s a reason why we always love spending weekends out there and hopefully you will too!

There’s an abundance of hiking in the area and sometimes it’s hard to figure out where to start first. With this post, at least you’ll have a list of a few great hikes to consider 😉

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Jo hiking on Grizzly Peak in Kananaskis.

5 hikes in Kananaskis that will put a smile on your face

#1 Chester Lake Trail Trail

Chester Lake hike in Kananaskis Alberta, Canada.

Practical information about Chester Lake Trail

Distance: 9.2 km return / 5.7 miles return
Elevation: 300 m / 1000 ft. elevation gain
Type: Out and back
Length: 2-3 hours return
Difficulty: Easy 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Here’s a map of the beginning of the trail

Are you looking for an easy day hike near Canmore with a gorgeous lake? Then add Chester Lake Trail to your list of places to visit in Canada’s Rockies. Chester Lake Trail has an alpine lake and a waterfall!

Located in Spray Valley Provincial Park near Kananaskis, this beautiful and easy hiking trail takes you through the forest and onto an alpine meadow by Mt Chester. This is the perfect trail if you’re looking for something not too difficult and not too long. But it still comes with a view worth hiking up to. The alpine lake that you will find up in the meadow makes this hike stand out compared to some others.

The lake is the goal for this hike and once you get there you’ll have a perfect place for a picnic. We spent some time taking photos of Chester Lake and the mountains surrounding it. For being a fairly moderate hike you are rewarded with some amazing views. We also discussed how we’re going to climb up to the summit of Chester Lake Mountain one day. That’s also something you can look into if you’re an advanced hiker.

If you wish to make this hike longer, you can walk around the lake. Once you get behind it you’ll be able to spot a stunning waterfall. Be careful though as bears have been spotted in this area quite frequently (this was the reason we didn’t go.)

Views of Chester Lake Mountain while hiking in Canada.

Kananaskis trails are known for bear sightings, so just keep a lookout for them. Spray Valley Provincial Park, in particular, is known for bear sightings on many of its well-known hikes. So check in advance before heading out on the trail. Here are all the advisories associated with Spray Valley Provincial Park.

If you do end up hiking Chester Lake Trail then it’s just over an hour from Canmore to get there. A very easy drive if you’re looking for a hike to do near Canmore.

Even though we didn’t have a 4×4 we’d recommend one because the gravel road going to Chester Lake isn’t in the greatest condition. It’s doable but the drive will be much quicker and comfortable to the trailhead and back into town if you have a vehicle that doesn’t mind potholes. Here’s any extra information you may need on the trail.

#2 Wasootch Ridge

Wasootch Ridge in Kananaskis, Alberta!

Practical information about the Wasootch Ridge

Distance: 15.4 km return / 9.56 miles return
Elevation: 1451 m / 4761 ft. elevation gain
Type: Out and back
Length: 4.5-6.5 hours return to the furthest peak.
Difficulty: Moderate up until the cairn, then the scramble to the summit is difficult.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Here’s a map of the beginning of the trail

Wasootch is quite the challenging day hike in Kananaskis but very rewarding. From the outskirts of Calgary, you can get to the Wasootch Ridge parking lot in just under an hour and get your hike started right away. With a lot of incline in the first kilometer you’ll already be seeing amazing views after the first half hour. Really… Wasootch Ridge gives you stunning views of Kananaskis.

It is a typical in and out hike. Most hikes in Kananaskis are in and outs so this one is no different in that sense. The steep incline from the beginning reminds us of Vision Quest near Nordegg (one of our favorite hikes in Alberta). But once you get past the first bit of incline on Wasootch you start to walk along the ridges for the rest of the hike. It is still steep and challenging but you’ll have views for days.

hiking in Kananaskis Country.

One thing that really stands out on Wasootch is how quickly you get out of the trees and just get to experience the views. Most hikes tend to be in the forest for the majority of the trail and then open up near the summit. But Wasootch is the opposite. You’re in the bush for the first half hour and after that it’s completely open.

It does end up feeling like you’re on a rollercoaster by the end of it with all the ups and downs along the ridge line. It was an absolute blast though and if you want more information on this hike then we got you covered. Read more about Wasootch Ridge here.

#3 Grizzly Peak

Admiring the views from Grizzly Peak hike.

Practical information about Grizzly Peak

Distance: 5.6 km return / 3.4 miles return
Elevation: 875 m / 2870 ft. elevation gain
Type: Out and back
Length: 3.5 – 5.5 hours return
Difficulty: Hard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Here’s a map of the beginning of the trail

Grizzly Peak is a short but difficult hike in Kananaskis. Located near Kananaskis and Peter Lougheed National Park in Alberta, you will find this mid-length hike in Kananaskis, an absolute grind that will test you both mentally and physically. But you’ll be so satisfied once you reach the top of Grizzly Peak.

If you truly are looking for a fairly short and difficult hike in the area then Grizzly Peak is a good option as the total hike is only 5.6 km / 3.7 miles return, but the elevation gain is almost 1000 meters. It’s basically a steep incline the whole way up and a steep decline the whole way down. I mean, that sums up a lot of the hiking trails in Kananaskis but this one is a challenge, especially on your knees. A fantastic workout if you’re looking for that! 😉

top of a mountain in Kananaskis, Alberta.

It’s a fairly straightforward hike most of the way up as you can see the path the whole way. Coming back down is a bit of a different story, so we would recommend trying to remember a few landmarks on your way up so you don’t get lost coming back down. There are lots of animal tracks on this hike which you don’t notice going up, but coming down it gets quite confusing…

We had one of our scariest hiking memories on this hike. We simply couldn’t remember the trail back and ended up always having to backtrack and the sun was slowly starting to set and our cellphones were basically dead.

Luckily, after a minor panic attack we sat down for a second and thought about where we could have gone wrong and in the end made it down. Please, don’t make the same mistake as us and either download the map beforehand, use AllTrails or take some pictures to help you remember the way down.

With all this said though, this is a beautiful hike in Kananaskis and if you go prepared you’ll have no problems getting to the peak. It may be challenging but with a few breaks and a few stops for snacks you’ll reach the top and have a 360 view of the Canadian Rockies. You can find more information on Grizzly Peak here.

#4 Jumpingpound Summit Trail

Views from the top of Jumpingpound Summit Trail.

Practical information about Jumpingpound Summit Trail

Distance: 6.91km return / 4.29 miles return
Elevation: 438 m / 1437 ft. elevation gain
Type: Out and back
Length: 2 – 3 hours return
Difficulty: Moderate hike with a lot of incline
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Here’s a map of the beginning of the trail


Jumpingpound is a gorgeous hike located near Bragg Creek on the edge of the Rockies. If you’re coming from Calgary or somewhere east of the Rockies and are looking at getting your first taste of a hike on the edge of the prairies then this is the one. Jumpingpound Summit Trail is only an hour and a half away from Calgary, so this one is an easy one to get to if you’re looking for a hike in Kananaskis.

Jumpingpound is a great moderate hike that takes a few hours and is very rewarding with its incredible views. The trail is great and so is the distance and elevation gain. It was a very nice peaceful hike that beautifully portrays the Rockies and just how huge they are. You’ll be able to compare the prairies on the one side to the mountains on the other and get a feel for just how big they really are. It’s one of the many perks off hiking near Bragg Creek.

Jo looking down from Jumpingpound Summit.

In case this isn’t a long enough hike we have this epic post on 3 hikes near Bragg Creek that can easily be done in a day. We did all three in an afternoon and it made for a wonderful day trip from Calgary. We were so pleased with the waterfalls, pond, and of course the view from the Summit of Jumpingpound.

A good portion of this hike is spent in the trees, so the views aren’t there right away but as soon as you get into the opening you’ll be rewarded with mountain flowers and the summit not too far away. We spent some time enjoying the summit and taking pictures.

There are even plenty of other trails and ridges that you can walk on once you’re at the summit of Jumpingpound. Either way whatever you decide this is a great moderate hike in Kananaskis. You can read more about the Jumpingpound Summit Trail here.

#5 Tombstone Campground Trail

Famous Tombstone Lake in Alberta.

Practical information about Tombstone Campground Trail

Distance: 20.8 km return / 12.92 miles return
Elevation: 479 meters / 1571 ft. elevation gain
Type: In and out
Length: 7 – 8 hours including time for lunch and pictures
Difficulty: Moderate to hard
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Here’s a map of the beginning of the trail

The trail starts at the Elbow Lake parking lot in Kananaskis very close to a hike we already mentioned: Grizzly Peak. The parking lot will likely be super busy since it’s a very popular place to hike in Kananaskis. With tons of hiking, mountain biking, and even camping in the area it makes it a popular place for many Albertans and travellers to visit.

Beautiful meadow in Kananaskis.

As this is a longer hike, we have divided it into sections: From the trailhead to Elbow Lake, Elbow Pass Lake to the valley, from the Valley to Tombstone Campground, and lastly, from Tombstone Campground and back to the trailhead. You can find all the information you need about Tombstone Campground here.

The hike to Tombstone campground is a long one but you’ll pass an alpine lake, one of the most beautiful meadows in Kananaskis. On top of that, if you’re feeling up for it, you can continue past Tombstone campground and find two more lakes nestled under Tombstone mountain. You’ll likely have them all to yourself because it’s quite a journey to get there. Well worth it though- the pictures and memories made up for the sore legs!

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Hiking in Kananaskis Country.

Enjoy all the best hikes in Kananaskis

There you have it! 5 very different hikes in Kananaskis that we absolutely love and recommend. These are all day hikes and can be done if you’re driving from Calgary, Canmore, or anywhere else that’s a few hours away from Kananaskis.

Majority of these hikes are good moderate hikes that will take an afternoon to do but there’s a few that are definitely all day hikes. Almost every hike in Kananaskis that we mentioned has an alternative shorter route so don’t pass up on a hike if it seems too long.

In our opinion, these are some of the best hikes in Kananaskis and we love being able to share this little pocket of the world with travellers and locals like you looking for some new hikes to conquer.

Let us know what you think about the list and what you think the best hike in Kananaskis is.

Stay safe in Kananaskis and remember the weather changes all the time so be prepared for all sorts of weather conditions.

Have fun!

Dom & Jo
Red White Adventures
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