Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

Enjoy spectacular scenic hikes to lakes, wildlife viewing, stunning mountain and glacier view, summer wildflowers, golden larches and other fall color in the Kananaskis Lakes Region, south of Canmore, Alberta, Canada.

getting there

From Trans-Canada Highway 1, just east of Banff and Canmore and west of Calgary, turn south on AB-40 and follow it to AB-742. Trailheads for hikes in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park are along these two highways. Alternatively, follow AB-742 south from Canmore.

on the trail

Burstall Pass (7,800 ft)

9.4 miles Round Trip with 1,550 elevation gain and options to extend to Upper Spray Valley

With high, open terrain, alpine wildflower meadows, larch trees, sweeping views of Canadian Rockies peaks in Peter Lougheed, Banff, Height of Rockies and Mount Assiniboine parks, this is one of finest areas in southern Canadian Rockies. Early season expect ankle-deep fords (that become lat season rock hops) in braided flats beyond Burstall Lakes.  Explore the rolling summit ridge  toward Burstall Pass. Enjoy abundant wildflowerfilled meadows in early July to mid-August. Trailhead parking in on the west side of the road at the south end of Mud Lake off AB-742, 28 miles south of Canmore.

Chester Lake

6 miles Round Trip with 1,030 feet elevation gain

Enjoy golden larches in mid- to late September.  Extend the trip by 2 miles round trip (including scrambly sections) beyond Chester Lake's western shore over larch-covered slope to Three Lakes Valley beneath Mount Galatea, passing small tarns and enjoying views across Smith-Dorrien Summit to the glaciated peaks of the Rockies' divide. Trailhead parking is on the east side of road, opposite of south end of Mud Lake parking area off of AB-742, 28 miles south of Canmore. 

Rawson Lake

4.8 miles Round Trip with 1,000 feet of elevation gain

Hike switchbacks through mature sub-alpine fir and Engelmann spruce forest enjoying views of Upper Kananaskas Lake along cascading creeks to small Rawson Lake in spectacular glacier-carved cirque. After the lake comes into view, follow trail along its southeast shore for a few hundred feet to small meadows and cliff bands that form the curved, soaring headwall wrapping around the western end of Rawson Lake. The 350-million-year-old carboniferous limestone headwall of Rawson Lake, drops from summit of Mount Sarrail towering over 4,000 feet above the lake. In late July, melt from winetr's snow lie along base of cliffs, and wildflowers bloom along the lakeshore. Just before the 2.4 mile mark, a park sign may warn of fragile shoreline and slopes beyond, and common bear sightings. If there are no recent bear sightings, consider proceeding around the end of the lake on a rough, scrambly route to a saddle with views of Kananaskis Lakes. Trailhead parking is at the Upper Kananaskis Lake day use parking area that is 7.8miles from AB-40, 31 miles south of Trans-Canada Highway 1.

Ptarmigan Cirque 

2.2 miles Round Trip with 700 feet of elevation gain

A popular, rewarding alpine interpretive loop trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, it offers one of quickest routes to alpine environment in Canadian Rockies from the highest paved road in Canadian Rockies' parks.  The cirque amphitheater is enclosed by rockslides and towering limestone cliffs, along with beautiful rolling alpine wildflower meadows and larches. Enjoy views of waterfalls, Pocaterra Cirque, and Mount Tyrwhitt's twin summits. In early summer wildflowers in bloom include glacier lilies, larkspur, arnica, fleabane, and pink paintbrush. Viewing and encountering grizzly bears, bighorn sheep and more wildlife are possible. Trailhead parking is at the Highwood Meadows Day Use Area on the west side of the AB-40, 10.5 miles south of its junction with AB-742.

Pocaterra Ridge

7.8 miles Round Trip with 3,400 feet of elevation gain

Trailhead parking is at the Little Highwood day use area on AB-40.

Little Highwood Pass

4.2 miles Round Trip with 1,100 feet of elevation gain

Tyrwhitt Loop


  • Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, 9th ed  by Brian Patton & Bart Robinson (Summerthought Publishing 2011).
  • Kananaskis Country: A Guide to Hiking, Skiing Equestrian & Bike Trails, 2nd ed. by Gillian Daffern (Rocky Mountain Books 1993).
  • Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, Vol. 1,  4th ed.  by Gillian Daffern (Rocky Mountain Books 2010).
  • Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, Vol. 5, 4t ed. by Gillian Daffern (Rocky Mountain Books 2016).


  • Bear-safe hiking  and backpacking practices are important in this area, including hiking in a group (3-6+ persons), storing food in bear canisters, carrying bear-spray, etc.

Information for Leaders

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Land Manager: Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • CNTS Kananaskis Lakes 82 J/11
  • CNTS Mount Rae 82 J/10
  • Kananaskis Lakes Gem Trek Map
Trip Reports

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.