This is a continuation of the Ribbon Falls trail. The trail is much less crowded and only 2km from the falls to the lake. However, there is a cliff to be scaled, which will keep lots of folks away. There are 2 sections to the cliff, each with chains attached to the rock for assistance. Know your limits. These chains are necessary to ascend this cliff.
After you get past the cliff, the hike is not difficult, and is short to the lake. The campground is very nice, with a communal firepit, food locker, bear poles, an axe and lots of firewood. At night (at least when we were there), you could hear rocks sliding off the cliffs across the lake.
Return the way you came if you feel comfortable descending the cliff (much more difficult than ascending), or make the loop through Guinn's Pass to Galatea Creek Trail, or straight through to the Spray Lakes Road via Buller Pass.
Ribbon Creek parking area in Kananaskis country, just off the road to Kananaskis Village.
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Posted By: AlleyCat
- Thu May 25 02:40:58 UTC 2017
QuestionMe and my friend want to hike to the top of Ribbon Falls and we know we have to climb up that cliff but the problem is we want to take his dog. The dog is too large to carry so we were wondering if there is any way to get a larger dog to the top. Or if there was an alternate route. Also would it even be safe to bring a dog up there, he is very well trained but I do worry about widlife. Please let me know if anyone has any comments or suggestions. Thank you. ANSWERS are in this forum: Bringing a dog to the top of Ribbon Falls
Posted By: rebooted_hiker
- Sat Jul 04 10:24:52 UTC 2015
UpsideThe views are as pretty as ever, the hike from the falls to the lake gets the heart pumping. If it's around two hours to the falls from the parking lot, it's close to another hour up to the lake even though it's only 2k or so - but keep going! You are getting to the best part! DownsideAll the new chains in place take the thrill out of the cliff face :). The first time I did it there was very little chain in place, only at the toughest part, about 10 feet long, which you didn't really need. The rock used to be good and grippy, but now its been smeared off so the chains are a nice addition. (Thanks to all those who bolted them in place.) CommentI first did this 30 years ago. It has changed substantially from the flood damage. It's no longer the easy day hike to the falls that it once was, the detour and new trail add a lot of up and down elevation changes and some distance. However, the views and scenery have in many ways improved with the new trail routing once you are back on the Ribbon Creek trail itself.
The views all along the trail, and particularly from the cliffs and the lake, are well worth it. A small extension of your hike up towards Guinn's pass gives great views of the lake from above.
Posted By: Ursus
- Fri Apr 17 02:25:00 UTC 2015
UpsideOver all decent trail, it's a fairly stead climb to the falls. New bridges DownsideThey have installed new bridge, however the traditional access to the trail from the parking lot (west side) is completely washed out. It's doable, slightly time consuming, but fun. CommentI really liked this trail, me and a few friends did it today (April 16, 2015). Weather was great and we made it up to the frozen falls in about 3 1/2 hours. That time includes stopping for pictures and snacks.
Well worth the effort, if you're looking for fun access the trail from the west-side of the parking lot as its mostly washed out, but not impassable.
If you're looking for something easier, take the Kovach trail on the south side of the parking lot and that will eventually take you to the Ribbon creek trail. See signs on trail.
Posted By: longleggedhiker
- Thu Jan 13 19:07:13 UTC 2011
UpsideAn exciting and spectacular hike to an incredible high mountain lake. Ribbon Lake is definitley one of the best backcountry destinations in all of the Canadian Rockies! DownsideThe chains up the rock face are difficult and will undoubtley turn away some people. Also you need to keep in mind that the decent is much more difficult than the ascent. However, you have options which I will outline below. CommentYou follow the popular Ribbon Creek Trail for 8.5 km to beautiful Ribbon Falls, all is easy to this point. However, the further 2 km to Ribbon Lake is much more difficult, even dangerous.
At the falls you turn straight up the cliff and climb along a good trail to the base of the headwall. You then have to heave yourself up a total of three chains.
You might want to consider accessing Ribbon Lake from the Smith-Dorrien Road via. Buller Creek Trail, or from Galatea Trailhead on Highway 40 via. Galatea Creek and Guinn's Pass Trails. Both these options are actually shorter (marginally) and completely avoid the chains.
If you do decide to use Ribbon Creek Trail to access the lake and you are camping overnight, you may want to arrange a car shuttle and have someone pick you up at either Galatea Trailhead or Buller Creek Trailhead so that you will not have to decend the chains. This is reccomended because the chains are more difficult to decend with heavy backpacks.
If you wish to visit Ribbon Lake as a day trip both coming and returning on Ribbon Creek Trail, you should have an easier time decending the chains without a heavy backpack. Do know that this is a long day outing with a total distance of 21 km. If you want to do this, I reccomend bringing your bike and biking to the end of the old road. This shaves off 8 km of hiking and gives you more time for the cliffs and to spend at the lake.
Posted By: Sonja23
- Fri Oct 22 15:58:44 UTC 2010
Upsideincredible rush on the chains and amazing views when you reach the top! Incredible lake! DownsideThe chains are difficult and may deter some people, do not bring a dog up the chains Commentlove it here
Posted By: zohariel
- Tue May 27 02:13:24 UTC 2008
UpsideAbsolutely beautiful, close to home, (for me) DownsidePretty smelly "outhouse," it makes the bush that much more attractive. CommentAfter camping at the lake, it makes the ribbon falls trail look somewhat tame and ordinary. If you backtrack around the lake from the campground, there are some really stunning waterfalls that cascade into pools, perhaps all the better because they are off trail so very quiet. In some of the pools there are lots of fish, and wonderful views of the valley. The water tastes great from the creek!
Posted By: tradonald
- Thu May 24 05:22:33 UTC 2007
UpsideCampground was very quiet during the week teh first night we were the only group there. The Cliffs were an interesting element to the hike. Lower falls campground would be good for young family easy hike to this point for younger ones. DownsideVery busy with day hikers on weekends CommentThe Cliffs may be daunting for some hikers with heavy packs. I had to make 2 trips up the cliffs. onece with my pack and once with the pack of another member of our group.