Hiking Sarrail Ridge: What a View!

One of the most popular hikes in all of Kananaskis is Rawson Lake. It’s an easy and well established trail with a steady incline, beginning at Upper Kananaskis Lake. The hike is nice, taking you past a waterfall and through a tree clad forest, and will lead you to a tranquil lake nestled in an alpine bowl. Surrounding this blue pool is steep and daunting rock walls, where glaciers melt during the summer months.

Most people stop here, at Rawson Lake, to enjoy their lunch, relax by the water, or go fishing. But if you’re looking for a spectacular view as far as the eye can see, then continue around the lake and start your trek up Sarrail Ridge. The hike is roughly 11.3km round trip.

On the day I hiked up Sarrail Ridge, the weather was quite moody. Thunder was clapping around us, but we couldn’t see any lightning so we continued our ascent. We experienced every type of weather, from rain to hail to thunder to wind, but I find that’s all part of the hiking experience! Especially when you’re in Kanasnaskis, where the weather is rather unpredictable.

From the lake, a short yet steep trail leads out of the woods onto a scree slope. We walked along the right-hand side of the creek, which took us about an hour to complete. It’s quite the leg workout, but so worth the view at the top.

Sarrail Ridge is a remarkable ridgecrest above flower covered meadows, giving you a bird’s eye view as far as the eye can see. Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes can be seen to the North, with a view of Rawson lake to the south.

Once we arrived at the top, we realized we had the whole place to ourselves! The thunder started to roll up again, bouncing off the walls of the peaks surrounding us. It felt eerie, yet calming all at the same time. We ended up staying at the summit for about an hour. It’s so important to remember to enjoy the view. I mean, the whole reason you hike is to get to the top, right!? But so many times I find myself not taking in the spectacular views I came to see.

Sadly, we were met by more hail and thunder, so we began our decent. This is one of the few hikes I’ve done where you go down the same way you’ve come up. Usually you’ll find yourself climbing up the backside of a mountain only to climb back down on the front.

If it’s hot enough, you can enjoy a quick dip in Upper Kananaskis Lake when you make your way back down. The icy, mountain water is sure to cool you off on a hot day!

Christianne Balzun