If there is any hike that we could recommend to get some absolutely stunning views on Kananaskis – we’d say Sarrial Ridge every damn time. The drive through Kananskis to get there is enough. The reward on top of the ridge will blow you away. You can hike to Rawson Lake any time of year. However, in winter you need to be careful of avalanches and in summer it is home to Grizzly’s. For any anglers, they stock this with trout so pack your rod with you!
How to get there
Turn onto Highway 40 from the Trans-Canada Highway and enjoy the views while driving 1 hour and 20 minutes. Follow the signs to Upper Kananaskis Lake. Once you arrive, park as far back to the south side of the lake as possible. The trail head is located behind the washrooms. There is also a large sign for all the hikes in the area.
You’ll begin by walking along the lake for just over a kilometer. It’s rather flat and very easy to navigate through. There is a gorgeous waterfall (Sarrial Creek Falls) and a small bridge to cross which then the trail head begins. From there on out the trail turns into fairly steep switchbacks with an elevation gain of 300m for 2 kilometers. The trail is very compact and will be flooded with people in the summer. We will always recommend an early start for any popular hike. It’s a fantastic hike for families as well, so you’ll come across children and a ton of dogs!
When you are near the lake, it starts to level out a bit (thank goodness) and then you’ll reach the end of the lake with the most stunning views! It should take around an hour from the parking lot to the lake. From this point of view, the entire background is Rawson Lake with Mount Sarrial.
Continue to walk around the east side of the lake but BE CAREFUL! This meadow is home to Grizzly Bears so please bring bear spray with you. In the winter, the backside of the lake is also prone to Avalanches so be very careful when snowshoeing. At the backside of the lake is a perfect place to enjoy a snack or some lunch and admire the mountain lake views. Feel free to call it a day after reaching Rawson Lake. The strenuous hike up the ridge isn’t everyones cup of tea.
From the backside of the lake there is a trail to head up the ridge. This is so unbelievably steep and in the summer will be dusty! Take your time and use poles. It took us around 45 minutes to get to the top from there. We stopped quite frequently due to the heat and to give the dog some water. (What I mean is.. my calves were burning and I needed a
friggen break!) Also take some time to enjoy the views behind you, over looking Rawson Lake.
Those views though.. definitely worth your calves screaming at you for the past 45 minutes! From the ridge, you can see Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes and Hidden Lake. Sit up there for a while, crack open that well deserved beer and take in all the glory that Kananaskis is.