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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Memorial Lakes Hike in Kananaskis

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The Memorial Lakes are a collection of three lakes in Kananaskis Nation, with every yet another tough to achieve that the earlier one. The higher lake, accessed by a gnarly scramble, is residence to a stone memorial to honour 13 victims killed in three separate airplane accidents in 1986, two of which have been search and rescue operations for the primary airplane crash. The quantity of unhealthy luck is unbelievable! The hike to the Memorial Lakes can function a reminder of how fleeting life may be.

The Memorial Lakes hike is average to difficult, relying on how far you go. We selected to do the hike on a scorching, sunny day, figuring out that there was loads of water for our canine alongside the route and sufficient shade to maintain us considerably cool. We stopped on the beautiful second Memorial Lake and wouldn’t have needed to scramble as much as the third lake with a canine after listening to from a few guys on the way in which down that there was a stretch of fourth-class scrambling. Hike inside your limits, particularly on this one as you don’t see lots of people.

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The second of the Memorial Lakes in Kananaskis Country
The second of the Memorial Lakes in Kananaskis

Memorial Lakes hike in Kananaskis abstract

Distance:  15.2 km (9.4 miles) return to the center lake; 17.2 km (10.7 miles) return to Higher Memorial Lake

Elevation acquire: 599 m (1,965 ft) to the second lake and 816 m (2,677 ft) to the third lake.

Time wanted: 5 – 6 hours for the center lake, 6 – 7 hours for the higher lake.

Degree of issue: Average to tough to the center lake and difficult to the third lake.

Location: Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park

Trailhead: The Memorial Lakes hike begins on the Ribbon Creek Day-Use Space and shares the identical begin because the Ribbon Falls hike.

Greatest time to hike: Late June till mid-October. Ideally you need a snow-free path.

Backcountry campsite: A no-fee backcountry tenting allow is required to camp at Memorial Lakes. To get a allow go to the Alberta Parks Customer Info Centre in Kananaskis Nation.

The first Memorial Lake is more puddle than lake but what a backdrop
The primary Memorial Lake is extra puddle than lake however what a backdrop

Discovering the trailhead for the Memorial Lakes hike

From the Trans-Canada Freeway, drive south on Freeway 40 for 22.8 km and switch proper (west) onto Mt Allan Drive, signed for Nakiska Ski Space. Proceed for 850 metres. Take your first left onto Centennial Drive. Drive 250 m and switch proper onto Ribbon Creek Highway (you’ll go the Kananaskis Hostel) and proceed to the massive parking zone on the finish of the highway.

The hike begins from the western finish of the parking zone beside Ribbon Creek. There may be signage. On the trailhead there are additionally washrooms and rubbish cans. This parking zone can also be the place to begin for the Ribbon Falls hike (you hike the identical path for the primary 4 km) and the unbelievable however lengthy and onerous Centennial Ridge – Mount Allan hike.

The hike to Memorial Lakes starts on the Ribbon Falls trail
The hike to Memorial Lakes begins on the Ribbon Falls path

Memorial Lakes hike description

The hike to Memorial Lakes begins from the west finish of the parking zone. Head proper alongside the vast path, as you’d should you have been climbing to Ribbon Falls. Cross a collection of bridges, and a few picnic tables roughly half-hour into the hike. 

Once you attain a signed junction, keep proper to remain on the Ribbon Creek path. The path to the left is the Kovach Path. Once you begin to go a collection of enormous wood benches, you’ll be near the turnoff to Memorial Lakes. Maintain a watch out for a brand new signal pointing within the route of Memorial Lakes and a slim path taking off into the woods previous some scrawny timber. The turnoff is 3.8 km from the parking zone.

Lovely sections of wildflowers early on the hike
Beautiful sections of wildflowers early on the hike
New signage pointing to Memorial Lakes (it wasn't here in 2022)
New signage pointing to Memorial Lakes (it wasn’t right here in 2022)

From the turnoff observe the Memorial Lakes path up Ribbon Creek’s north-fork drainage. You’ll cross two bridges after which the path begins to climb. Once you attain a gorge, drop all the way down to water degree, and take a look earlier than beginning the steep climb up the best or north fringe of the gorge.

When you get to the highest of the gorge the Memorial Lake path ranges out considerably. You’ll attain the primary Memorial Lake briefly order. We have been there in 2 hours, quarter-hour from the parking zone, with a number of quick stops for pictures and water.

This is what the first part of the Memorial Lakes hike looks like
That is what the primary a part of the Memorial Lakes hike seems to be like
Cross the first of two bridges on the Memorial Lakes Trail
Cross the primary of two bridges on the Memorial Lakes Path
A view of the gorge on the Memorial Lakes hike
A view of the gorge on the Memorial Lakes hike
And looking down on the gorge
Trying down on the gorge

The primary Memorial Lake

We stopped for a brief break on the first Memorial Lake – the place I seen a few tents within the woods, benches, and a fireplace pit. There’s a tough campsite right here that’s free to make use of, however you’ll want a backcountry allow which you may get on the Barrier Lake Centre on Freeway 40.

From the primary Memorial Lake you get a view of Bogart Tower (entrance and centre). Mount Bogart is within the background on the left and Mt. Sparrowhawk to the far proper or northwest. Ribbon Peak, not proven, is to the left.

You may as well see a cascade to the left of Bogart Tower. Some individuals hike down this terrible scree slope from the third Memorial Lake, however it’s NOT really helpful.

The first Memorial Lake is pretty, the backdrop beautiful but the edges are muddy
The primary Memorial Lake is fairly and the backdrop stunning however the edges are muddy

The hike to the second of the Memorial Lakes

The hike to the second of the Memorial Lakes is steep and tougher – particularly on the descent again to the primary lake, however I’m getting forward of myself.

To search out the path, hike round to the far finish of the primary Memorial Lake. You’ll see a path or trails going up by the thick willows, with no less than one marked by flagging tape. Make your manner by them, cross an inlet stream, and switch proper. Hike steeply up the rocks to the left of the inlet stream pictured beneath. Cross a rockslide on the base of the Bogart Tower – searching for cairns alongside the way in which. It’s simple when you’re by the meadows and on this path.

Once you come to an open space with a cairn search for and determine which route you need to take. The route up the scree seems to be tremendous going up, however we opted for the hike up by the forest. You come out on the identical place by a big cairn – overlooking the second Memorial Lake. Comply with the path all the way down to the water and discover a place for lunch.

Try to stay on a trail through the willows on the hike to the second lake
Attempt to keep on a path by the willows on the hike to the second lake
On a proper trail through the scree
On a correct path by the scree
Hike up to the left of a small waterfall
Hike as much as the left of a small waterfall
Keep going - very steeply at times on the trail to the second Memorial Lake
Maintain going – very steeply at occasions on the path to the second Memorial Lake
Looking back to the first Memorial Lake part way up to the second lake
Trying again to the primary Memorial Lake half manner as much as the second lake
On the hike up to the second Memorial Lake you can cut in on a trail through the woods about halfway up in this photo or head up the scree on a bit of a trail
On the hike as much as the second Memorial Lake you’ll be able to minimize in on a path by the woods about midway up on this photograph or head up the scree on a little bit of a path
The last steep section on the hike to the second Memorial Lake
The final steep part on the hike to the second Memorial Lake
The second Memorial Lake is dazzling
The second Memorial Lake is dazzling
We spy a small peninsula into the lake that makes for a perfect lunch stop
We spy a small peninsula jutting into the second Memorial Lake that makes for an ideal lunch cease

A cease on the second Memorial Lake

We wandered round to a beautiful spot beside the water and loved a peaceable lunch on the second Memorial Lake. There wasn’t a soul round for the primary hour and as we have been about to depart we noticed a few guys coming down the scree from the third Memorial Lake. 

The second Memorial Lake is a great place for lunch
The second Memorial Lake is a good place for lunch
Looking over to Bogart Tower
Trying over to Bogart Tower
Looking over to the route up through the scree to the third Memorial Lake
Trying over to the route up by the scree to the third Memorial Lake
There is a guy in red at the junction of the light and shadow to the right of the big junk of rock halfway up the picture - the difficult scree up to the third lake is around the corner from this
There’s a man in crimson on the junction of the sunshine and shadow to the best of the massive junk of rock midway up the image – the tough scree as much as the third lake is across the nook from this

The hike to the third Memorial Lake

We opted to not hike to the third of the Memorial Lakes due to the warmth, time of day, the canine, and the extent of issue. Don’t go until you’re a sturdy hiker and are ready for some scree and scrambling. The 2 males we met coming down from the lake stated there was a bit of Class IV scrambling – which suggests “Technical scrambling on uncovered terrain. A fall may end in demise.” I’m tremendous with Class III scrambling and mountain climbing the place I’m tied in, however I wasn’t feeling it the day we did it.

It’s essential to scramble up by a vertical gulley – the crux of this a part of the Memorial Lakes hike. You then undergo a “meadowy draw” and as much as the best of a tiny basin. Nothing is tough previous the scree and it’s solely a kilometre away. You possibly can hike across the third Memorial Lake, positioned in an alpine cirque beneath Mt. Bogart and Ribbon Peak. The stone memorial is on prime of a knoll on the northeast shore of the lake.

To return, retrace your steps, exercising nice warning on the descent by the scree.

The descent from the second Memorial Lake

To return to the primary Memorial Lake, and the parking zone merely retrace your footsteps. Earlier than we began down, we went over to take a look at the path down by the scree – and to admire the view over to Mount Allan, earlier than going again down the way in which we got here up – which was by the woods and never on the scree. Take your time on the steep bits. 

It took us 2.75 hours to hike again to the automotive from the second lake – with a number of stops alongside the way in which to dip ft and arms within the cooling waters.

A great view over to Centennial Ridge on the Memorial Lakes hike
An amazing view over to Centennial Ridge on the Memorial Lakes hike
The odd piece of flagging tape will help keep you on the Memorial Lakes trail
The odd piece of flagging tape will assist preserve you on the Memorial Lakes path (see the primary lake by the timber)

A number of issues to tackle the Memorial Lakes hike

Take bear spray in a straightforward to entry bear spray holster

For the Memorial Lakes hike, choose up a duplicate of Gem Treks Canmore and Kananaskis Village.

Don’t overlook a water filter or purification tablets so that you don’t cramp up from dehydration. And take some energy-protein bars because it’s a protracted hike so that you’ll want a lift for the ultimate hour.

Think about taking a pair of light-weight socks Darn Robust socks you’ll be able to develop into close to the top of the day particularly should you sometimes put on heavier ones. Take Compeed – a product I swear by for blisters. It’s costly however price each penny because it quickens therapeutic time.

The place to remain close to the trailhead

If it’s car-camping you’re all in favour of, learn A Full Information to Tenting in Kananaskis

You’ll go the Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel on the drive in. 

In the event you’re after a glamping expertise in teepees or trapper’s tents, try Sundance by Basecamp.

In Kananaskis Village, simply 5 minutes from the trailhead is the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge.

Excited about extra hikes within the space?

Click on on the photograph to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The beautiful Memorial Lakes hike in Kananaskis Country



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