Things To Do: Hiking the Rawson Lake Trail

Kananaskis Country, Alberta

Rawson Lake, Kananaskis, Alberta

The Rawson Lake Trail is an easy hike to a scenic and secluded mountain lake in Kananaskis Country, Alberta. Perched in the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains, this scenic trail is a 5 kilometer trek with a rewarding view of a picturesque green lake at the base of a towering peak - a quinessential Canadian postcard picture.

Rating - Easy
Distance - 5 kilometers
Elevation Gain - 320 meters
Duration - 3 hours round trip
When to go - mid-summer to early fall (mid July to October); snowshoe in mid-winter (December - March).

Located 1.5 hours west of Calgary, this hike starts from the Upper Kananaskis Lake parking lot and winds around the southern shore of this lake. The first part is flat and well groomed, an easy tour along the shoreline, and after a short 1.2 kilometer walk, the branch to Rawson lakes starts its incline.

The next 2.7 kilometers has a vertical climb of 320 meters (1040 feet) to a mountain meadow along the shores of Rawson Lake. The view of the lake is reminiscent of Lake Louise, a colourful lake surrounded by towering mountains.

This easy hike in Kananaskis rewards hikers with a spectacular Canadian mountain view. Kids as young as 6 years old can make the journey. In the summer, the trail may be crowded. "Crowded" is relative, though; K-Country is huge and always seems uncrowded to, say, the Johnston's Canyon hike to Banff National Park.

Local Hazards when Hiking in Kananaskis

Besides the normal warnings about hiking in the mountains (sprained ankles, hiking at high elevation, and bears), it's probably best to avoid the trail around the Rawson Lake in late spring & early summer when the snowpack is still present on the surrounding mountains. Avalanches are common as the snow melts and the steep slope sends all debris directly into the frigid cold waters. Check the trail reports before you begin your trek. Mountain lakes in Alberta are still typically frozen well into June and swimming is not advised even when it's thawed (it's cold, damn cold).

This is an enjoyable trail to hike with your dog but they should be leashed at all time so as to not disturb the resident wildlife.


View Hiking to Rawson Lake in Kananaskis, Alberta in a larger map

The Rawson Lake Trail is one of the most spectacular hikes in Kananaskis, Alberta and is a scenic hike in the Canadian Rockies. It's short and easy and rewards hikers of all fitness levels with a classic Canadian mountain view.

Check out other things to do in Alberta, including more hikes and outdoor adventures, beautiful viewpoints, and unique roadside attractions.