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Friday, June 14, 2024

North to South Kananaskis Go Hike through Turbine Canyon

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If you happen to’re a severe hiker and also you’ve spent loads of time in Alberta’s Kananaskis Nation, likelihood is excessive that you just’ve heard about or thought-about doing the North to South Kananaskis Go hike through Turbine Canyon, Beatty Lake, and Three Isle Lake. I’ve thought in regards to the hike for years, however anxious in regards to the route discovering on the path. Thankfully, it wasn’t a difficulty in any respect. Over time sufficient folks have hiked between North and South Kananaskis Go that the path is boot-beaten and both lifeless easy to search out or in locations the place it’s overgrown, the best way ahead is clear.

There isn’t any signage on the path as soon as you permit Turbine Canyon Campground heading to North Kananaskis Go or Three Isle Lake heading to South Kananaskis Go. With a mountaineering app like Natural Maps, and a superb topo map to maintain you oriented, skilled hikers shouldn’t have an issue, however this isn’t a hike for novices.

You are able to do the hike in both course however as you’ll see beneath, in the event you learn the put up, I like to recommend doing it from North to South Kananaskis Go. I used to be drained on the finish of on daily basis, however I’m blissful we did it as three day hike. If you happen to wished one thing epic, you would add on an out and again on the Northover Traverse from Three Isle Lake.

The North to South Kananaskis hike is outstanding – and on par with many backpacking journeys in Banff and Jasper Nationwide Parks. If you happen to keep at Beatty Lake and  Turbine Canyon Campgrounds, you’ll have extra leeway in dates – and it’s best to have the ability to e book final minute (Turbine Canyon had 3 of 15 spots taken on a stupendous July weekend!) when you understand there’s a superb climate window. 

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North to South Kananaskis Go through Turbine Canyon abstract

Distance: Roughly 40 km (25 miles), primarily as a loop hike with an out and again part from the parking zone to the Forks Campground.

Elevation achieve/loss: Roughly +1,426 m (4,678 ft)/-1,370 m (4,495 ft)

Greatest time to hike: Mid-July till someday in September. There’s a lengthy stretch stuffed with larches on the ultimate few kilometres to Turbine Canyon Campground. They’d be magnificent come mid to late September.

Time wanted: Two nights and three days or three nights and 4 days for a better expertise.

Issue: Onerous

Backcountry campgrounds: Sure, together with the Forks Campground, Turbine Canyon Campground, Beatty Lake Campground, and Three Isle Lake Campground.

Canines: Permitted on a leash.

Mt. Beatty Glacier seen on the North Kananaskis Pass hike
Mt. Beatty Glacier seen on the North Kananaskis Go hike

Trailhead location for the North to South Kananaskis Go hike

You’ll discover numerous parking and washrooms for the North to South Kananaskis hike on the North Interlakes Day Use Space in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. To get there take the Trans-Canada Freeway to Freeway 40. Drive south for 50 km. Flip proper or southwest proper (in the event you’re coming from the Trans-Canada) onto Kananaskis Lakes Path.

Keep on the paved Kananaskis Lakes Path. (Ignore the turnoff in your proper onto the Smith Dorrien Path.) Go the turnoff to the Canyon Creek Campground, William Watson Lodge and Boulton Creek. (However go right here after your hike in order for you chilly drinks and ice cream!) Don’t take a left in direction of the Higher Kananaskis Day Use Space. As a substitute, proceed previous the turnoff to the Interlakes Campground to achieve the North Interlakes Day Use Space, principally on the finish of the street. From the turnoff at Freeway 40, it’s roughly 15 km to the parking zone.

If you happen to’re driving north on Freeway 40 from Highwood Go, the one factor it’s good to do in a different way is flip left onto the Kananaskis Lakes Path by the winter gate.

There's a big parking lot at the North Interlakes Day Use Area
There’s an enormous parking zone on the North Interlakes Day Use Space

Backpacking itinerary choices for the North Kananaskis – South Kananaskis Go hike

There are many choices for the North to South Kananaskis Go hike. You can hike it within the different course from South Kananaskis Go to North Kananaskis Go however there are three causes for not doing that.

  1. The climb up the headwall to Three Isle Lake Campground with a loaded backpack is bodily taxing. 
  2. I feel the hike down the steep scree slope after Beatty Lake is tougher than the hike up – except it’s stinking scorching and also you’re out of water.
  3. The hike as much as North Kananaskis Go is lengthy and really steep.

We elected to backpack the 48 km North to South Kananaskis Go hike over two nights and three days, however you would add an evening, particularly in the event you’re coming from afar. It’s not troublesome to get a reservation for Turbine Canyon Campground, however Three Isle Lake Campground is extra fashionable and due to this fact tougher. That’s the fantastic thing about an evening on the Beatty Lake campground. It’s additionally free and first come, first served. There are 4 tent websites and one other couple of tents may very well be squeezed in if needed. 

There are 4 choices in the event you’re mountaineering from North to South Kananaskis Go.

Itinerary 1: Turbine Canyon Campground – Beatty Lake Campground – parking zone (that is described beneath)

Itinerary 2: Forks Campground – Turbine Canyon Campground – Beatty Lake campground – parking zone

Itinerary 3: Turbine Canyon Campground – Three Isle Lake Campground – parking zone

Itinerary 4: Forks Campground – Turbine Canyon Campground – Three Island Lake campground – parking zone

There are additionally 4 choices in the event you select to hike from South to North Kananaskis Go.

Itinerary 1: Forks Campground – Beatty Lake Campground – Turbine Canyon Campground – parking zone

Itinerary 2: Forks Campground – Three Isle Lake Campground – Turbine Canyon campground – parking zone

Itinerary 3: Three Isle Lake Campground – Turbine Canyon Campground – parking zone

Itinerary 4: Beatty Lake Campground – Turbine Canyon Campground – parking zone

Beautiful reflection over Beatty Lake
Lovely reflection over Beatty Lake

Day 1 on the North to South Kananaskis Go hike: North Interlakes Day Use Space to Turbine Canyon Campground

Distance: 15.0 km (9.3 miles) a method

Approximate elevation achieve: 525 m or 1,722 ft

Time we took: Roughly 6.5 hours with a lunch cease and a protracted cease on the Forks Campground

Go away the parking zone through a footbridge over the spillway. Flip left onto an previous street. Go the turnoff to Mt Indefatigable – a path it’s best to not hike because it has been decommissioned to guard grizzly habitat. 

When there’s an intersection, keep proper on the higher path. If you happen to ever plan to hike the Higher Kananaskis Lakes Circuit, the decrease path is a good selection as a day hike. 

On the subsequent intersection, 2.2 km into the hike, maintain proper and observe the rocky street beneath steep slopes. Proceed, passing the Palliser rockslide. Attain a bridge over Invincible Creek, 3.8 km into the hike. 

Proceed via previous forest to achieve a bridge over the Kananaskis River on the 5.8 km mark. Skirt one other rockslide on the base of Mount Lyautey after which take pleasure in largely flat and simple mountaineering to the Forks Campground.

The first part of the hike going counter-clockwise around Upper Kananaskis Lake is easy and straightforward
The primary a part of the hike going counter-clockwise round Higher Kananaskis Lake is straightforward and easy
Getting into the rocky section just a few kilometres in from the parking lot
Moving into the rocky part simply 1.8 km in from the parking zone
In the rocky section you start getting good views of Upper Kananaskis Lake
Within the rocky part you begin getting good views of Higher Kananaskis Lake
Hiking through the Palliser rockslide on route first to the Forks Campground
Mountain climbing via the Palliser rockslide on route first to the Forks Campground

Arrival on the Forks Campground

Attain the Forks Campground at 7.2 km. It’s a superb place to cease for a break. It’s proper on the river, so you may refill water bottles. There are quite a few picnic tables and benches round a fireplace pit. There’s additionally a pit bathroom.

The Forks campground got a complete makeover in summer 2022 so you'll now find lots of wooden tent pads
The Forks campground obtained a whole makeover in summer season 2022 so that you’ll now discover numerous wood tent pads
The Forks Campground has picnic tables , benches, and fire pits
The Forks Campground has picnic tables , benches, and hearth pits

Persevering with to Turbine Canyon Campground

Hike previous the Forks Campground in direction of Three Isle Lake. You’ll discover the path to Turbine Canyon just a few hundred metres alongside from the Forks Campground. Flip proper. You may have about 7.7 km to go.

The path parallels the west financial institution of the Kananaskis River for about 1.2 km. Then, there’s a steep ascent through switchbacks however at the least there are some views of Mount Lyautey to the south. When you’re again within the forest, search for larches. There are many them on the best way to Turbine Canyon campground.

The way in which ahead is all the time apparent.

Looking back towards the Forks Campground
Wanting again in direction of the Forks Campground
Lots of good wildflowers at the end of July on the way to Turbine Canyon Campground
A lot of good wildflowers on the finish of July on the best way to Turbine Canyon Campground

Putnik Pond is a reasonably sight, and worthy of a brief break. It’s about 4.3 km from the Forks Campground. For the subsequent 1.7 km take pleasure in subalpine meadows and the larch forest on the best way to Lawson Lake. Past Lawson Lake look as much as the dual summits of Mount Maude.

Go a ranger cabin close to the north finish of Lawson Lake and a 100 m later cross a bridge over Maude Creek to achieve the newly revamped Turbine Canyon campground.

Looking over to pretty Putnik Pond
Wanting over to fairly Putnik Pond
Hiking through larch filled forest on the way to Lawson Lake
Mountain climbing via larch stuffed forest on the best way to Lawson Lake – notice the dual summits of Mount Maude in entrance of John
Crossing Maude Brook to arrive at Turbine Canyon Campground
Crossing Maude Brook to reach at Turbine Canyon Campground
Turbine Canyon may be small but it's pretty
Turbine Canyon could also be small but it surely’s fairly

Turbine Canyon Campground

The Turbine Canyon campground is massive and unfold out. Some campsites have wooden chips whereas others have wood platforms for tents. There are 15 campsites, bear lockers, pit bogs, steel picnic tables (deliver an inflatable seat cushion to maintain your bottom heat), however no fires are permitted. You possibly can simply get water from Maude Brook.

This campground holds snow longer than most. One 12 months we had booked it in early July however there was nonetheless about 2 metres of snow on the bottom in line with a report we obtained. Until it’s a light-weight snow 12 months, I’d maintain off reserving until round mid-July. It’s additionally chilly at this campground. Even in late July we wore a down jacket at evening and within the morning – and knocked ice off the picnic tables.

From Turbine Canyon there’s a fashionable 2.8 km a method hike to the Haig Glacier, used as a summer season ski camp. Many individuals will keep at Turbine Canyon for 2 nights, mountaineering to each Haig Glacier and North Kananaskis Go earlier than retracing their steps to the Forks Campground and out.

Our friends Gemma and JR playing Yahtzee at Turbine Canyon Campground
Our pals Gemma and JR taking part in Yahtzee at Turbine Canyon Campground

Day 2: Turbine Canyon Campground – North Kananaskis Go – Beatty Lake Campground

Distance: 2.2 km (1.4 miles) to North Kananaskis Go plus roughly 8.4 km (5.2 miles) to Beatty Lake Campground

Approximate elevation achieve: Ascent of 770 m (2,526 ft) and a 760 m (2,493 ft) descent

North Kananaskis Go elevation: 2,368 m

Time we took: Roughly 9 – 9.5 hours with breaks.

Be ready for a protracted, troublesome however rewarding day of mountaineering from Turbine Canyon Campground to Beatty Lake.

The primary a part of the day’s hike begins off simply sufficient. There’s a 170 m elevation achieve over 2.2 km to achieve attractive Maude Lake, and North Kananaskis Go. Mount Beatty Glacier appears to be like shut sufficient to the touch!

The path wanders via the campground and never alongside Maude Brook as we initially thought. As soon as you permit the campground, the path is totally apparent and beautiful. Take a while round Maude Lake because it’s a magnificence. We did discover many grizzly bear diggings on this space, so be alert.

Hiking beside Maude Lake on the way to North Kananaskis Pass
Mountain climbing beside Maude Lake on the best way to North Kananaskis Go
We saw lots of grizzly bear diggings near North Kananaskis Pass
We noticed numerous grizzly bear diggings close to North Kananaskis Go
North Kananaskis Pass on a sunny July weekend
North Kananaskis Go on a sunny July weekend

On the opposite aspect of North Kananaskis Go there may be an expansive view of Mount Queen Elizabeth and Mount King Albert. When you begin descending, you gained’t lookup fairly often because it’s steep and you actually need to observe your foot placement.

This a part of the hike is a part of the Nice Divide Path – as was the primary day’s hike. Though there isn’t any signage, it’s boot-beaten and apparent. There are just a few areas the place it’s overgrown however jut plow via and it’ll open up. Finally, it’s 4.4 km from North Kananaskis Go to the second crossing of Le Roy Creek. 

Incredible views of Mount King Albert on the Alberta - British Columbia border in Height of the Rockies Provincial Park
Unimaginable views of Mount King Albert on the Alberta – British Columbia border in Peak of the Rockies Provincial Park
As we got closer to Le Roy Creek the vegetation got thicker
As we obtained nearer to Le Roy Creek the vegetation obtained thicker

Le Roy Creek crossings

There are two predominant crossings of north-south operating Le Roy Creek. Comply with Le Roy Creek very carefully for about 1.5 km earlier than the path drops down to achieve a wider, deeper part of the creek. There’s an intersection marked with flagging tape the place you’ll go left and be on the creek in 5 metres. (The Nice Divide Path continues in direction of the Palliser River.)

On the bigger stream crossing I’d advocate switching into water footwear or sandals – however earlier than you do look proper and throughout the creek to find a big cairn. There’s additionally flagging tape. That’s the place you’ll begin up on an unmaintained path in direction of Beatty Lake and South Kananaskis Go.

Poles helped on one of the Le Roy Creek crossings
Poles helped on this Le Roy Creek crossing
You needed to take your shoes off on the final stream crossing
It is advisable to take your footwear off on the ultimate Le Roy Creek crossing – and the water is freezing
When you get to the final crossing, look right and across the creek to locate the cairn as you head towards Beatty Lake
Once you get to the ultimate Le Roy Creek crossing, look proper and throughout the creek to find the cairn and the path in direction of Beatty Lake

After a break for lunch, we began up on the subsequent part of path. It was fairly steep initially and thick with vegetation as you may see within the picture beneath. Nevertheless it’s apparent and by no means as soon as did we lose the path.

Steep climbing through thick vegetation on the unmarked but obvious trail towards Betty Lake
Steep climbing via thick vegetation on the unmarked however apparent path in direction of Beatty Lake

Ultimately the path in direction of South Kananaskis Go heads in a extra easterly course and also you begin to go away the timber. We stopped at Magnificence Creek so we might refill water bottles earlier than beginning the steep ascent on scree up in direction of Beatty Lake. Look out for a blue tarn within the forest to the south of the primary path. 

Though it’s a slog, I cherished the scree part because the vistas had been nice – and I knew as soon as we reached the highest, we’d nearly be at Beatty Lake. It was on the scree part that we bumped into 5 different folks together with a few runners doing the entire loop in a day!

From the highest of the scree slope you continue to have one other 15 – 20 minutes of mountaineering to achieve the Beatty Lake Campground. It’s not exhausting, however on the finish of a troublesome day, the space feels longer than it ought to.

Heading up towards Beatty Lake from the Great Divide Trail along Le Roy Creek
Heading up in direction of Beatty Lake from the Nice Divide Path alongside Le Roy Creek
John coming off the top of the scree section
John coming off the highest of the scree part

Beatty Lake Campsite in Peak of the Rockies Provincial Park, BC

The Beatty Lake Campground is small and intimate with simply 4 first come- first served campsites. There are bear lockers near the consuming space and a pit bathroom a brief distance up a path. The lake is a magnificence and really refreshing to scrub up in on the finish of a sweaty, scorching hike.

From Beatty Lake – there’s a 1.1 km a method hike as much as Beatty Col ought to you might have the power. We didn’t.

I really liked the Beatty Lake campsite
I actually favored the Beatty Lake campsite
The Beatty Lake Campground is a lovely place to spend the night
The Beatty Lake Campground is a stunning place to spend the evening
Sweet campsite at Beatty Lake
Candy campsite at Beatty Lake

Day 3 on the North to South Kananaskis Go hike: Beatty Lake Campground – Three Isle Lake – parking zone

Distance: 14.3 km or 8.9 miles.

Elevation achieve: 131 m (430 ft) to South Kananaskis Go and a 610 m (2,001 ft) elevation loss.

South Kananaskis Go elevation: 2,306 m.

Time wanted: About 6 hours with breaks and stops

The final days hike was the best. It’s a gradual 2.0 km climb on a scenic path from Beatty Lake to South Kananaskis Go. From there’s a fast downhill to achieve Three Isle Lake although the campground is 2.1 km from South Kananaskis Go. Three Isle Lake is just not at its greatest in mid-summer when lake ranges have dropped. Once we did a backpacking journey to Three Isle Lake two years in the past, the lake was a lot greater and there was loads of snow on the peaks.

Easy walking towards South Kananaskis Pass from Beatty Lake
Simple strolling in direction of South Kananaskis Go from Beatty Lake
Looking back in the direction of Beatty Lake
Wanting again within the course of Beatty Lake
Three Isle Lake in late July
Three Isle Lake in late July

From the Three Isle Lake Campground, there’s a brief little bit of uphill after which a flattish part earlier than you drop down off the headwall. The views from right here of the valley are very good. As soon as off the headwall, maintain an eye fixed out for grizzlies over the subsequent kilometre as they love this space. 

After you cross a bridged creek, you’re solely about 1.5 km from the Forks Campground – and the mountaineering is straightforward. When you’re on the campground you’re on acquainted territory and also you’ll be again on the automotive in about 2.5 hours. The robust amongst you could also have a frigid swim in Higher Kanananskis Lake to loosen the muscular tissues. Our group simply made a beeline for ice cream cones on the close by Boulton Creek Buying and selling Publish.

Part way down the headwall near Three Isle Lake
Half means down the headwall close to Three Isle Lake on the North to South Kananaskis Go hike
The headwall you need to hike up and down if you want to visit Three Isle Lake
The headwall it’s good to hike up and down if you wish to go to Three Isle Lake
Great views from the headwall on the way to and from Three Isle Lake
Nice views from the headwall on the best way to and from Three Isle Lake
On the easy part of the hike back to the parking lot
On the straightforward a part of the hike again to the parking zone
We finish the North to South Kananaskis hike just before the storm
We end the North to South Kananaskis Go hike simply earlier than the storm

Just a few issues price taking up the hike

I extremely advocate taking a paper map – for journey planning functions and particularly in the event you’re contemplating the hike between Three Isle Lake and Turbine Canyon campgrounds over North and South Kananaskis Passes. The Gem Trek Kananaskis Lakes Map is the one to get.

For the character lover who needs to study the names of wildflowers, the compact Fashionable Wildflowers of Alberta & the Canadian Rockies is a brilliant selection.

For sudden gear fails on a visit, Gear Assist Tenacious Tape Restore is the best way to go. It can repair sleeping pads, rain pants, down jackets, tent flies, tarps and extra.

If you happen to’re not an enormous fan of backpacking due to uncomfortable nights in a tent, contemplate investing in a deluxe pillow that weighs subsequent to nothing.

In case of emergency it’s nicely price carrying the InReach Mini  – however know easy methods to use it and be sure you’ve signed up for a plan.

The place to remain the evening earlier than the hike

It’s about an hour and 50-minute drive from Calgary to the trailhead. If you happen to’re staying on the Forks Campground, you may afford to get a late begin because it simply takes just a few hours to hike there. However in the event you’re going to Three Isle Lake or Turbine Canyon Campgrounds, you then would possibly wish to keep shut by the evening earlier than.

There’s numerous car-camping out there, with a lot of it first come, first served. Take a look at my put up – A Full Information to Tenting in Kananaskis.

If you happen to’re after a pleasant meal and a scorching bathe earlier than you begin tenting, there may be the choice to e book the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge in Kananaskis Village.

The Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel can also be an choice.

If you happen to’re coming from Canmore, and you’re after the B&B expertise, try A Bear and Bison Nation Inn. The Alpine Membership of Canada additionally runs a hostel in Canmore

One of the beautiful campsites at Interlakes Campground
One of many stunning campsites at Interlakes Campground in Kananaskis Nation

Further backpacking journeys in BC and Alberta you’d most likely take pleasure in

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

The 3-day North to South Kananaskis Pass hike (in Alberta) via Turbine Canyon and Beatty Lake



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