Rawson Lake is a beautiful green lake sitting below the sheer cliffs of Mt. Sarrail in Kananaskis Country. The trail starts at the upper Kananaskis Lake parking area and leads off west along the lakeshore. At about 1km (past Sarrail Falls), turn left up the slope. The trail is fairly steep, but only for about 1.5km.
Once at the lake you can fish, relax or explore. Some have gone up the grassy slope at the SW corner of the lake. Although very steep, it is short and affords great views back to the lake.
Be aware that grizzlies have been spotted at the south end of the lake. Watch for pikas in the rocks as you walk around the lake.
NTS Map: 082J11
Elevation Gain: 305 m (1,000 ft).
Park at the upper Kananaskis Lake parking area and take the trail to the west (left).
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Posted By: Nooper
- Sat Sep 17 04:16:14 UTC 2016
CommentBeautiful hike to Rawson Lake on September 14 but please be aware of an active grizzly at the far end of the lake. It was moving along the shore, going for a quick dip and then up the ridge much to the consternation of descending hikers. Just be bear aware!
Posted By: crtaylor
- Sun Jul 26 22:54:08 UTC 2015
UpsideA beautiful lake that meets a wall of mountains is the perfect reward for the elevation gain. There are opportunities to go beyond and hit Sarrail Ridge and get a view of Rawson Lake and Upper Kananaskis Lake. Even if you don't want to do Sarrail Ridge, continue to the south shore of the lake. The slopes surrounding the area were covered in wildlflowers and we saw a pika and other small animals. DownsidePretty crowded trails but not too bad. Crossing Sarrail Creek can be a little scary for some since the bridge was washed out. CommentThe foot bridge crossing Sarrail Creek was washed out during the floods of 2013 and hasn't been fixed. The creek crossing is now a bunch of rocks and logs which sounds bad but's it's really not. You do have to take your time and of course so does everyone else so the crossing can be slow. I was half tempted to just go through the creek to cross on the way back.
Posted By: Gpennell
- Mon Sep 08 14:23:06 UTC 2014
CommentThis hike looks like it was originally posted in 2005. The GPS has only a few points on it. Also it stops at the North end of the lake. Most people probably also go to the South end of the lake and many probably also go up to Sarrail Ridge. Therefore, I would recommend downloading the GPS from the posting that is for Rawson Lake & Sarrail Ridge combined.
I went part way up Sarrail Ridge but not all the way. I spoke to a couple of pretty fit hikers and they both said it took them over an hour each way (i.e. over 2 hours in total) to complete the ridge. That is starting from the south side of Rawson Lake.
For a group with mixed hiking stamina, the South side of Rawson lake would be a good place for the novice hikers to stop for lunch a 2 hour break while they let the stronger hikers go for the extra 2 hour trip.
Lots of high end cameras on this hike. The mountain on the east side of the lake leaves part of the lake in shadow until probably about 2 hours after midday (in September).
Posted By: cjenkins
- Thu Jan 23 23:36:18 UTC 2014
UpsideGorgeous views from the top. Snowshoed this winter of 2013 and am contemplating taking friends up there this winter because it was perfect.
Posted By: jmiona
- Fri Aug 23 14:03:34 UTC 2013
UpsideGreat for beginners. Excellent views for such a short hike. Ability to fish. Trail accessable year round. DownsideBusy especially on holidays/weekends. Steady uphill would make it hard for those not as fit to enjoy the trail. No views on trail itself other than at the end (Rawson Lake) and at the beginning (Upper Kananaskis Lake). Forging accross flooded bridge difficult for those not limber. CommentBe sure to have your license and unbarbed hooks if you're going to fish at Rawson lake as conservation officers frequent. This was one of my first hikes, and I've done it 3 times since then, and have enjoyed it every time since, whether in winter or summer. I have completed it in the winter, and didn't need snowshoes until we reached the lake, and have hiked it in June and wished I had snowshoes as there was still much sticky, deep snowcover.
Posted By: 6mcneills
- Tue Sep 06 03:18:22 UTC 2011
UpsideAbsolutely stunning views at the top. The lake nestled in with the mountains truly was gorgeous. DownsideElevation gain was 1000 feet over about 1.5 - 2 km of trail...in other words it is steep for us out of shape folk and I truly nearly blacked out. My extra 75 lbs of baggage (aka my butt) was probably the main issue. CommentI am so proud that my 4 kids and I all made it up this climb. Bring lots of water.
Posted By: longleggedhiker
- Tue Jan 11 20:25:32 UTC 2011
UpsideDefinitley one of the best day hikes in Kananaskis Country. The trail isnt overly strenous and the scenic value is outstanding! DownsideThere really is no downside to this hike other than the fact that it is quite popular. CommentThis is a must hike for anyone is the area. You start out on the easy Upper Kananskis Lake trail for 1.2 km before heading up the hill for 2.7 km to Rawson Lake. You are in the shade most of the time so this is ideal for a hot summers day!
Hiking to the lake an back takes only about 2 hours so you should give yourself an extra hour to spend sitting arround at the lake and enjoying the area!
Posted By: mountain momma
- Sat Aug 08 18:19:43 UTC 2009
UpsideBeautiful, easy snowshoe DownsideShort CommentI have snowshoed this multiple times & love it. It's always a great day out!
Posted By: adoukas
- Mon Jun 08 17:34:24 UTC 2009
UpsideThis was a fun hike that would have been fairly easy (probably too easy) if it weren't for the few feet of snow near the top. I'm sure the lake is beautiful when it's not snow-covered! A fairly short hike to get the season started, and even half-covered in snow it wasn't difficult. DownsideThe lake was still snow and ice-covered on June 7! CommentFun hike - it would have been better if the lake hadn't still been inundated with snow, but it was a novelty to be knee-deep in the white stuff again getting into the middle of June.
Posted By: outofshape
- Tue Sep 16 23:25:04 UTC 2008
UpsideGreat walk to do with kids - 5.5 year old made it there in 1.5 hours.... Downsidedon't let kids run on the scree!!!!! CommentLoved it - great introduction to what K-Country has to offer!!!!
Posted By: Mapitfirst
- Mon Sep 17 21:51:44 UTC 2007
UpsideScenic value is excellent for the amount of effort required to get there. DownsideA little too busy if you want a quiet get-away CommentA perfect hike for kids. My six year old made it no troubles although lots of snack breaks and distractions are required. The four year old that was with us had to go in the carrier for the last half kilometer.
Posted By: brauks
- Mon Aug 15 13:55:16 UTC 2005
UpsideA good short challenge for beginners, with a nice reward at the end. Absolutely fantastic fishing, as the no keep limit has allowed the trout to get to a nice size. DownsideAs it is fairly short, it is fairly popular. CommentMakes for a great late afternoon hike. Round trip can be done in under 3 hours.
Posted By: sdecarie
- Tue Aug 02 17:34:03 UTC 2005
UpsideExcellent views of lake when you arrive DownsideTrail is steep in places CommentIt's relatively easy walk and can be crowded at times