Canadian Canoe Routes

Backpacking Routes in Kananaskis Country?
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Author:  miniwheat [ March 17th, 2005, 10:32 am ]
Post subject:  Backpacking Routes in Kananaskis Country?

I will be in Alberta this summer and I would really like to do a backpacking trip in the Rockies. Does anyone have any suggestions for a 2 -3 night trip in Kananaskis country? We are experienced backpackers, looking for a quiet and beautiful hike. We are thinking K-Country, since I have heard it is a lot less travelled than Banff, but we are open to suggestion, as long as it is in the Southern Rockies.


Author:  SGrant [ March 17th, 2005, 11:27 pm ]
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Given that you are experienced backpackers, in 'K' country you can't beat the Aster Lake / Northover Ridge/ Three Isle Lake loop. It's brought tears to peoples' eyes. And you end up back where you started. Definitely not for novices, as people have made fatal errors on this hike.

Do an Internet search for "Aster Lake" and "Northover Ridge". Just don't go up Mt. Northover like I did, please.

Most Banff park backcountry trails have been utterly destroyed by seemingly uncontrolled horse party useage.

Author:  John V [ March 18th, 2005, 4:18 pm ]
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S Grant is right about the scenery on that route. But experience and good navigation skills are required. I found parts of that trail were sparse. Another option is to go the other direction from Three Isle lake into B.C. and Height of the Rockies PP. Beatty Lake is a great place to camp and it is less than 5k from Three Isle. From Beatty you can hike around Beatty Mt. which gives you a great, no, incredible view of the Palliser River valley. Or you can go up and visit the Beatty columns. They are small from the bottom but huge up close. You can also hike over the saddle above Beatty Lake and approach the N. Kan pass from there. You miss the view of the Palliser River but you'll see Le Roy Creek instead. Once at the top of the pass you cross back into Alberta and you are at Maude Lake. Wow! BTW, Maude and Three Isle both have excellent fishing for Cutthroat, but not Beatty. After Maude Lake you can camp at the Turbine campground. Turbine canyon is something to see, for about 15 minutes, but I really enjoyed the hike up to the C.O.D.A. camp. The camp boss (at the time it was Bjorn, great guy) gave us a little tour and we met some of the skiiers on the Haig glacier. Mt. Jellicoe is quite climbable from the right approach and it is the highest peak in the area at 10,600 something. Near the C.O.D.A. camp, check the contour lines and you will find a spectacular waterfall that is off the route and not really marked. If you can't find it someone at C.O.D.A. will direct you there, it is also worth seeing. This is an amazing trip and if you travel light you can see all this in 3 or 4 nights. Hope this helps.


Author:  D.R.Zandee [ March 18th, 2005, 10:35 pm ]
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Next weekend we will be down there skiing, mtn biking and canoeing.
I can pick up a map for you if you like.
I'll ask our friends what they would recommend.

Author:  dunkin' [ March 20th, 2005, 6:33 pm ]
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I have done both the trips mentioned. Both are absolutely fantastic. The country and views are wonderful. I have not done either for almost 20 years but have definite plans to go back soon, now that I have gotten back into the whole outdoor pursuit mode again.

The first route could easily be done over 2 nights. The trip through south Kananaskis pass and back up the norh Kananakis pass will take 3 nights. We did the latter using 4 nights so we had a bit of time to play. What inspired us to do this trip in the first place was looking at our topo's and seeing a small lake just acroass the valley in BC called Tipperary Lake, and we all know 'It's a long, long way to Tipperary', so we just had to go there. Beautiful little lake, ice walls along one end and no sign of humans (at least back then). Saw the biggest ol' silver tipped grizzly I have ever seen by there. We watched him across a small draw as he foraged, then made our presence known.

There are countless other easier trips throughout K-country but seeing you are experienced backpackers these should be not problem and you would not go wrong with either of them.

Author:  miniwheat [ March 21st, 2005, 10:52 pm ]
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Thanks all for your suggestions. I googled "Northover Ridge" - it is indeed beautiful....I am a little concerned about the ridge portion of the trail, I have never done anything like that, having hiked mostly in Ontario. It looks like it could be very precarious. :o

Zandee - I would totally appreciate it if you could ask your friends for recommendations.

Author:  D.R.Zandee [ March 22nd, 2005, 11:29 am ]
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Not a problem. I'll get back to you early next week.

Author:  D.R.Zandee [ March 29th, 2005, 1:02 pm ]
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Just returned from Kananaskis where we skiied Elk Pass then canoed the Kananaskis River (including the Class III kayak course that the guy at the info center said people don't canoe).

MiniWheat, your simple questions generated much conversation around the campfire. It was very hard to stay just in Kananaskis. As we have a lot of experience in Jasper and Waterton Lakes.

Jasper's Skyline Trail is 44km along the ridge crest of the Maligne Range.

Waterton's Tamarack Trail is 34km (60km if you go to the townsite like I did) crossing 4 summits. Spectacular!

Banff's Mt. Assiniboine (Citadel Pass-Wonder Pass) is 62 km of magnificent!

But back to your question: The concenses for Kananaskis.
1. Northover Ridge Route for the experience mountain backpacker. Exposed ridge walking, glaciers, lakes, and some serious elevation gain.

2. Maude-Lawson Trail (Haig Glacier and Mt Jellicoe) for a walk up a treed valley with lakes, glaciers, and climable moutains at the end.

Some must do day hikes are:
1. Mt. Indefatigable. A 4 hour strenuous hike with 475m elevation gain and some spetacular views at the top.
2. Burstall Pass. A 6 hour moderate hike with 470m elevation gain through a forested valley into the sub-alpine meadow with scramble options abound.

I bought you a map and info if you want me to send it or just go to
The maps are $11. You want the Kananaskis Lakes one.

You wlll need backcountry passes from

also visit


or call the trail office (Barrier Lake Info Center) at (403) 673-3985

Author:  dunkin' [ March 29th, 2005, 1:33 pm ]
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I'm thinkin' you might just have to move out here for a year or two. All Darren's suggestions are exceptional trips, and there are hundreds of others as well.

As far as my all time favorite backcountry playground goes, it would be Assiniboine Park hands down. Once there there are multiple trips to do. Summer is beautiful, always wildlife to see, lots of apline flowers in late July and onward. The winter skiing is phenomenal, 100's of hectares of slopes to swoosh. I have even cheated :oops: and taken the helicopter in on a winter trip to allow us 2 weeks of supplies. To do this area justice it would be nice to plan a 5-10 day trip though a minimun of 3 nights would work..

There is lots of great hiking and scenery throughout Ontario and Quebec but none of it matches the majesty of the Rocky Mountains.

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