For a downloadable PDF version of this guide CLICK HERE!
Today we’re hiking Turbine Canyon starting from Upper Kananaskis Lake. This is a great overnight hike with multiple options to stay two nights or even three with plenty of day hikes around the area to keep you busy. Beautiful country with beautiful mountain views.
Time Required: 8-10 Hours or overnight
Location: 136km west of Calgary in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Distance: 15.1km one way
Highest Elevation: 2245m
Elevation Gain: 525m
Difficulty: 7/10 – Steep sections
Season: June to mid-October
Additional Requirements: Camping permit
From Calgary: Take the Trans-Canada (Hwy 1) west approximately 70 km to Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40) and then follow that 50 km to Kananaskis Lakes Trail. Turn right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail and follow it for 13 km. Park at the North Interlakes Day Use Area on Upper Kananaskis Lake.
From Canmore: Take the Trans-Canada (Hwy 1) east approximately 30 km to Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40) and then follow that 50 km to Kananaskis Lakes Trail. Turn right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail and follow it for 13 km. Park at the North Interlakes Day Use Area on Upper Kananaskis Lake.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable Footwear: Hiking shoes. Make sure your shoes are broken in prior to tackling this hike to prevent unexpected blisters. You could get away with running shoes but having extra grip on the rock surfaces will definitely come in handy!
- Water: This hike is long with lots of elevation gain to reach the campsite. Be sure to bring enough water for 5 hours of physical exertion. There are streams to fill your water bottles along the way so bring purification tabs or a filter.
- Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike as well as meals for at the campsite. Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
- Weather appropriate clothing: You will be exposed to the elements throughout this hike. Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
- Sunscreen: If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
- Insect Repellent: Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
- Bear Spray: You are in bear country. Always hike with bear spray that is easily accessible.
- Camera: There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
- Camping Gear: If you are staying the night… bring appropriate camping gear
- Camping Permit: A backcountry permit is required to stay at Turbine Canyon
- This Guide: Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike
Wildlife: You will be hiking in bear country. It is always advisable to check in at the local Visitor Information Center to learn of any trail closures due to wildlife. Carry bear spray in an easily accessible location. Travel in groups of multiple hikers and make lots of noise to avoid an unexpected encounter.
Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:
- Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
- Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
- Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
- Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
- Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
- Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.
To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca
Summary: This hike is relatively flat until just past the Forks Campground, where almost all of the elevation is done in about 3km. After that the trail levels off again and it is a beautiful walk through meadows and mountains to Turbine Canyon campground.
The hike begins at Upper Kananaskis Lake Parking Lot (Route marker #1 on the map) and follows a very well maintained, easy to follow trail around the North side of Upper Kananaskis Lake. After hiking this trail for 7.3km you will reach Forks Campground (Route marker #2 on the map) where you will take a trail fork to the right to get to Turbine Canyon. Forks Campground has 15 tenting campsites, a pit toilet, creek to fill water and designated fire pits for campfires.
After going right at the Forks Campground the trail will continue north and elevation gain will begin for about 3km along switchbacks. This is the hard part of the hike, after the switchbacks the rest is quite easy. Follow the trail through meadows and forests for another 5km. The trail passes Lawson Lake on the east side and Turbine Canyon Campground (Route marker #3 on the map) is a hop skip and a jump away. There is a small creek that runs into Turbine Canyon called Maude Brook, and the campground is just North of that creek.
This Campground has 12 tenting campsites, a creek for water, food storage lockers and a pit toilet. Fires are prohibited. From the Campground, there are multiple day hikes that are worth checking out.
- Obviously the Turbine Canyon itself, which is just downstream of Maude Brook.
- Maude Lake is 2km to the Northwest which is stocked with fish if you are into that.
- Haig Glacier is 3km North of Turbine and houses winter skiing athletes in the summer months for their training.
After enjoying your stay at Turbine Canyon make your way back down the same way you came up. Hope you have FUN!
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
Thank you for choosing Epic Trip Adventures as your guide. We are committed to continually updating our guides to be as relevant and accurate as possible. If you have feedback to improve this guide please leave it in the comments below.
We also want to hear about your Turbine Canyon adventures. If you have stories, pictures or even a link to your own adventure video please share them below!
Have fun out there!