Rawson Lake Snowshoe – Kananaskis – Hiking Alberta


Rawson Lake above Kananaskis Lakes is SW of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Rawson Lake, Upper Kananaskis Lake, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada  


Rawson Lake is a small, beautiful alpine lake nestled in the mountains, 1,050 vertical feet (320 m) above and to the south of Upper Kananaskis Lake in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park component of Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

Arrival at the Upper Kananaskis Lake upper parking area at 5,626 ft (1,715 m) and -2 degrees C finds overcast skies which will remain that way for the rest of the day.  Snowshoes easily navigate 6 inches (15 cm) of fresh powder snow over a well-traveled crust beneath.  Fresh snow deepens as elevation increases.  The trek to Rawson Lake at 6,644 ft (2025 m) is 4 KM (2½ miles) each way in a world of white, winter wonderland. 

Near the beginning, the trail leads counter clockwise around and above the shoreline of Upper Kananaskis Lake through crisp and musty, old spruce forest.  In about a kilometer (⅝ of a mile), a foot bridge passes Sarrail Falls forming new ice at its edges.


Rawson Lake – Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Sarrail Creek Waterfall -  Rawson Lake - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada


Views are spectacular across Upper Kananaskis Lake to the mountains beyond.


Rawson Lake – Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Rawson Lake – Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada


Closer to Rawson Lake, gains in elevation increase marginally but are well within the limits of recreational snowshoe travel.  Lunch is traditionally enjoyed at the shore of iced-over and snow-covered Rawson Lake with 10,414 foot (3,714 M) Mount Sarrail looming in the background.

Giant ice columns on its flanks and a series of small avalanches provide entertainment during lunch.  To snowshoe beyond the near end of Rawson Lake quickly enters serious and dangerous avalanche terrain.


 Rawson Lake – Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Rawson Lake – Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada


A short off-trail excursion reveals trees with their lower branches missing.  This is strong indicator of an avalanche chute.  Without beacons, avalanche gear and avalanche training, retreat is mandatory.


Rawson Lake – Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A view on the trail to Rawson Lake across Upper Kananaskis Lake


The return hike on the same route is swift.  There is intermittent sun on distant mountains and heavy weather rolling in from the north. 

Another beautiful day in the mountains.