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.
Backcountry campgrounds: Sure, together with the Forks Campground, Turbine Canyon Campground, Beatty Lake Campground, and Three Isle Lake Campground.
Canines: Permitted on a leash.
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.
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.
- The climb up the headwall to Three Isle Lake Campground with a loaded backpack is bodily taxing.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Further backpacking journeys in BC and Alberta you’d most likely take pleasure in
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