The Rae Lake hike in Kananaskis Nation, particularly in Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park, flies underneath the radar. A part of the reason being that it’s an unofficial path, and it isn’t signed. A cairn in conjunction with the path will be seen while you’re heading to the Tombstone Backcountry Campground, however you’d must be in search of it and know that it takes to Rae Lake. When you’re on the path, its boot-beaten and straightforward to comply with.
We did the Rae Lake Kananaskis hike as a part of a 3-day backpacking journey to the Tombstone Backcountry Campground. We additionally included hikes to Piper Go and the Tombstone Lakes. Rae Lake will also be achieved as a 17.2 kilometre out and again hike from the Elbow Go Day-use space.
This publish consists of some affiliate hyperlinks. In the event you make a qualifying buy by considered one of these hyperlinks, I’ll obtain a small share of the sale at no further price to you. Thanks in your help.
Discovering the trailhead
The trailhead is similar one that’s used for Elbow Lake. It’s positioned on Freeway 40, 62 km south of the Trans-Canada Freeway and simply 5.1 km north of Highwood Go. This stretch of freeway is just open from June 15 till December 1 yearly.
The parking zone can get very busy, particularly on weekends. We ended up parking on the freeway – and have been in a position to safely go away our automobile there for 2 nights.
Rae Lake particulars
Distance: Roughly 17.2 km spherical journey
Elevation achieve: 432 metres
Time wanted as a day hike: 5 – 7 hours
Season: By late June the snow was lengthy gone; hike till the snow flies someday in late October
Canines allowed: Sure on leash
Random tenting allowed: Sure however go away no hint. You would possibly wish to learn Shit within the Woods by Invoice McKibben.
Map: Gem Trek Kananaskis Lakes (The route makes excellent sense while you see it laid out on the map.)
The Rae Lake hike to the cairns
Hike as much as Elbow Lake from the Elbow Go Day-use space. Observe the path alongside the west shore of the lake to achieve a creeklet with a log over it. Keep left and proceed up a highway (be careful for mountain bikers) into a fantastic meadow with beautiful views.
On the 4.3 km mark, you’ll be capable to see into Piper Creek Canyon. On route you’ll move some stones that mark a brief spur path to Edworthy Falls. The falls are value a brief facet journey.
In one other kilometre search for cairns on the left-hand facet of the highway marking the path to Piper Go. Fifty paces later search for cairns on the right-hand facet of the highway – as you’re heading northeast. It marks one of many routes into Rae Lake. From there the path to the lake is clear although by no means anticipate to see an indication.
The photographs on this weblog illustrate a clockwise loop to Rae Lake that begins on the cairns, turns proper on the Sheep River Valley Path, goes as much as Rae Lake after which descends through a slim path to return out on the highway arising from Elbow Lake. However you don’t must do a loop.
You may flip proper on the first cairns and easily do and out and again hike to Rae Lake.
Instructions from the highest of the Elbow River Street Path to Rae Lake
We did the Rae Lake hike from the Tombstone Backcountry Campground. We needed to retrace our steps from the campground to achieve the signal seen within the picture under. That intersection is on the finish of the highway arising from Elbow Lake. As you face the signal you may see that you simply go left to the campground and proper to proceed on the Sheep River Valley Street-Path that can lead you in direction of Rae Lake.
We hiked up the Sheep River Valley Street-Path for 0.8 km. At that time there’s a hairpin flip and in case you look intently on the best you’d see a cairn. (In the event you have been making an attempt to do a loop from the opposite path, you’d flip left right here and comply with the path for 0.5 km to satisfy up with the path you initially took as much as Rae Lake.)
On the hairpin flip we stayed left on the highway and adopted it for an additional 1.1 km. Preserve your eyes open for a cairn on the best simply earlier than a culvert. On the cairn head proper into the bushes on an apparent path and comply with it because it climbs for 1.4 km to achieve Rae Lake. The Rae Creek Gorge will probably be in your left all the way in which as much as the lake. It’s fairly a stunning part of mountaineering and the grade is reasonable.
Rae Lake sits in a tranquil and really stunning setting under the north finish of Mount Rae, east of Tombstone Go. The few folks that go to accomplish that primarily as a day hike. However there was apparent tenting close to the outlet.
Random tenting is allowed right here as a result of it’s in Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park. In the event you do camp, pack out what you pack in and go away no hint – one thing others have clearly not achieved. You may additionally camp within the meadows past the lake – and the hike to get water can be doable.
Within the fall, benefit from the larch bushes in all their glory close to the lake.
Rae Lake right down to the highway arising from Elbow Lake
John and I totally loved the descent from the lake by meadows, grassy sections and open forest to achieve the road-trail arising from Elbow Lake. I discovered the path to be effectively used and all the time apparent.
Once we reached the road-trail, we merely turned left and adopted it for five.3 km again to the automobile.
It was 36°C within the afternoon in late June so we made a beeline for chilly drinks and ice cream on the fuel station at Fortress Mountain on Freeway 40. It was manner too sizzling for our consolation however a minimum of there weren’t many biting bugs.
A couple of belongings you would possibly discover helpful on this hike
Additional studying on hikes alongside Freeway 40
Click on on the picture to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.