Forks Backcountry Hike
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Time: 3 hours
Distance: 7 km (to Forks Campground)
Elevation Gain: 320 m
How to Get to There: From Hwy 1, head south on Hwy 40 to Kananaskis Lakes Road. Stay on Kananaskis Lakes Road until it ends at the Upper Lake Parking lot.
Matt and I went to the Boulton Creek Campground in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and stayed there for the night before heading out on our hike. I was really excited because this was our very first backcountry camping trip! We settled on Forks Campground because of the minimal elevation gain and the fact that you are allowed to have a campfire at this site.
Around 10 am the next day, we packed up our stuff and headed to the trail. The trail started at the dam beside Upper Kananaskis Lake. There was a bit of confusion on where the trail was (though we always seem to be a bit confused) but then we found the trailhead and started on our way (we parked a little further than necessary and ended up having to hike up a huge hill to find the trailhead).
The trail followed around the Upper Kananaskis Lake for a short bit which provided a breathtaking view. It was gorgeous outside so the lake looked really blue and the mountains behind it were so clear! Then we forked off to the left and started slowly ascending up along a mountain. There were a lot of spots where we were walking through what looked like old rockslides.
Finally we reached the first bridge where we stopped to have snacks. Matt had his yogurt, a few cheese and crackers and trail mix. I had cheese and crackers and trail mix then we put on some bug spray and headed off.
The next portion of the trail was full of ferns and thick forest. It was very green and lush though there were only a few small hills to climb. This was probably for the best as I had a new big pack on and my body was still adjusting.
We walked out over another bridge passed over Upper Kananaskis Falls and stopped to take some pictures. The waterfall itself can't really be seen from the bridge but you can definitely hear it!
We kept going until we were walking over several one plank bridges. We checked our GPS after walking along the river for a while and about five minutes later stumbled upon our campsite. We picked #5 because it was further away from the river...and it was pretty much the only one left!
After unpacking our tent and stretching out, we went down to the river for a bit and hung out before starting the trail for Three Isle Lake. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and we weren't able to make it to the lake itself, but we did get far enough to see a beautiful waterfall along the switchbacks!
After coming back from our attempt at Three Isle Lake, we finally got the chance to use our fuel stove for the first time. We had vegetables and chicken but quickly realized that one bag of freeze dried food was not enough for two hungry people. We ate a few snacks as well just so we wouldn't go to sleep hungry. I also had a nap (as per usual) while Matt played some cards and played around with his knife. Then we went to the community fire pit where Matt was able to restart an old fire that had just burned out from only the kindling, which was very impressive. A few of the other campers also sat down and we all talked for a while. It was nice to be able to finally meet other hikers who loved it as much as I do. I was even able to get a few suggestions for hikes we could try. Then it was time for bed, since we were all so tired from such a long day.
Matt and I woke up early the next day because we wanted to get back to Boulton Creek Campground so we could start another hike called Rawson Lake. We had some granola with honey and blueberries using our stove and then set out. We stopped to fill up for water at a really beautiful clear creek not too far from Forks and then headed out.
The hike back home went a lot faster since it was mostly downhill. We stopped for snacks at the same place we did on the way up (the bridge) and then kept going.
Once again, the weather was absolutely beautiful though it started to get cloudy and windy the closer we got to Boulton Creek. That didn't hamper the fact that I had fallen in love with backcountry camping!
I would definitely recommend this hike to people who want to bring along their kids or maybe don't feel comfortable doing any difficult trails while backcountry camping. There was a family of four with two small kids at the campsite while we were there and they seemed to be having a blast!