Rawson Lake


Rawson Lake

Rawson Lake

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (Kananaskis)

Time: 5 hours (because we started at Interlakes Parking Lot)

Distance: 16 km (return) (should have only been 6 km)

Elevation Gain: 305 m

It just wouldn't be a hike with Matt if we didn't end up getting confused some way or another...


The weather started off really nice that day with the exception of a few clouds starting to roll in. The wind had died down and it the temperature was in the low twenties. The trouble started right from the beginning when Matt and I accidentally ended up parking at the wrong parking lot. We parked at Interlakes instead of at Upper Kananaskis Lake which made it so we had to hike an extra 5 km! By the time we realized we had probably parked in the wrong spot, we had already hiked quite a ways so we kept going.


There was a small detour along the way because of the floods of 2013 (not sure if this has been cleaned up yet or if the detour is still there). The trail re-routed, forcugn us to climb down on to the beach rocks that surround the upper lake, walk for a few 100 metres and then climb back up to the original trail. For the most part the rest of the trail was very flat with a nice view of the lake.

Upper Kananaskis Lakes

There were a lot of little islands along the way and a lot of them had a lot of tree stumps on them. I found it to be kind of eerie looking.


The real trailhead for Rawson Lake starts off by going clockwise around Upper Kananskis Lake, starting at the Upper Kananaskis Lake trailhead. Matt and I finally made it to the correct trailhead where we stopped at a picnic table and had some lunch. We took a few pictures (I used Matt's spider tripod for the first time so we could get a picture of both of us) and then we set off on the actual Rawson Lake Trail.

Me, Matt and Upper Kananaskis Lake

There was a warning sign that the bridge crossing Sarrail Falls had been washed out because of the 2013 flood and sure enough, when we continued to follow the trail around the lake, we found the waterfall with no bridge.

Sarrail Falls

It took us a few minutes to try and figure out what the safest way to cross was. The river was pretty deep below and we didn’t want to cross too close to the waterfall.

Matt and Sarrail Falls

Eventually we climbed to the top and cross the river just before the waterfall over a few logs, which was kind of sketchy but also kind of fun.

Made it safely across Sarrail Falls!

Then we continued on. The trail eventually forks to the left and begins to ascend upwards. This was definitely the hardest part. We had to climb almost 3 km going completely uphill. We had to stop for a lot of breaks, especially because we were already tired from previous hiking the day before. We finally made our way to the top and were able to find a nice secluded spot by a log.

Taking a nap

Finally at Rawson Lake!

Matt was hungry so we had a few more snacks while enjoying the view. We even were able to spot a fish in the lake.

Matt doing a silly pose in between looking for fish

We took a few pictures but were disappointed that the incoming clouds had made it so the lake didn't look very blue. Regardless, with the mountain wall behind it, the view was still very nice.


Then we began our long, uneventful trip back. It was a hard trip back because we were both tired and had to walk the extra 5 km to our parking lot. Matt's feet were hurting and I had developed blisters on my right ankle.


However, when we finally got back to our parking lot and after driving for a bit, we were treated to the sight of a small grizzly bear on the side of the road so that was definitely a silver lining!


This trail is a classic and that's because it's a short climb to a big reward. It probably would have been a lot more rewarding for Matt and I if we had just parked at the right trailhead. Don't make the same mistake as us!

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