Departures can be set up on a private basis for individuals, families, or groups, and we can organize to leave the trip open for more people to join. Trips that we have confirmed and are open to more guests will be listed below, but check back often to see if any new departures have been added. Please contact us if you would like to arrange your own departure and we will be happy to provide you with a quote based on your group's size and trip options.
Includes guides, Provincial Park fees, out-trip meals, group camping gear and local transfers.
Not included: Canmore accommodation, Gratuities & 5% Goods and Service Tax (GST).
Optional pre and post trip accommodation packages are available from $80 per person per night for shared room lodging ($160 for single occupancy). Purchase with booking. Subject to availability.
How difficult is it?
How fit and experienced need you be?
This trip is rated moderate to strenuous. Backpack weights are mostly moderate though participants will be carrying personal clothing and gear plus a fair share of food and group gear (tents, stoves etc) for the entire trip. By leaving a night's food at Forks campground we reduce our weight for the most challenging section on Day 3. As food and fuel are used on preceding days the backpacks become lighter by the day. By keeping personal gear light, pack weights need not exceed 18kg (40lbs) on the 1st day. Please read our Traveling Light & Making Backpacking More Fun for information and suggestions for clothing and equipment.
Prior hiking experience is not a prerequisite but is recommended. Participants must be in good physical condition and able to carry a backpack over hilly terrain for a succession of days.
The trails are mostly good though very rough on Day 3. We will hike a regular and steady pace that conserves energy but you must be in as good as possible hiking shape before you come. We cannot emphasize enough that training pays great dividends in enjoyment. We suggest you train by walking and/or cycling and/or hiking (ideally in hilly terrain).
Kananaskis Country, which was given protected status in 1977, is located in the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies immediately to the south of Banff National Park. It consists of over 4000 square km of foothills, valleys and mountains. In 1858, John Palliser named the area after a native Cree warrior called "Koominakoos".
Often referred to by locals as "K-Country", it is a region of tightly folded limestone peaks and alpine lakes. The grey of the mountains contrast sharply with the blue of their lakes and the conifer green of the forests cloaking the lower elevations.
The area offers a multitude of landscapes and trails. It is also home to a large variety of wildlife including wolves, grizzly and black bears, elk, moose, deer and big horn sheep.
This five-day trip across the South and North Kananaskis Passes offers varied scenery with lots of lakes, glaciers and spectacular canyons gouged through the rock.
Day 1: Kananaskis Lakes - Three Isle Lake
At 8:00am we meet at the Yamnuska Mountain Adventures office in Canmore. We'll go over the trip with you and check to see that you are properly outfitted. We then drive to the trailhead (1hour) along the spectacular Smith-Dorrien highway to the south of Canmore. The trail leads us first around the Upper Kananaskis Lake then into the forests following the Kananaskis River. After reaching "the Forks", we continue to hike up the Three Isle headwall to camp for the night at Three Isle Lake (2175m.). Distance 10km. Elevation gain 300m.
Day 2: Day hike to Northover Ridge
We are never far from tree line now and the scenery begins to expand exponentially as we rapidly gain height above the Lake carrying only light packs. The views are fantastic from Northover Ridge (2800m) and west into the Royal Group and beyond. We return to our basecamp at Three Isle Lake for an evening of fishing, stories, and relaxed company. Distance 10km. Elevation gain 600m, loss 600m.
Day 3: Three Isle - Turbine Canyon
Today is pass crossing day and the most challenging we face! After breakfast we make our way to the Continental Divide at South Kananaskis Pass (2306m) and cross into British Columbia. Passing Beatty Lake we contour into Leroy Creek on rough trails to re-cross the continental divide at North Kananaskis Pass (2368m) where we can stop to enjoy the views surrounding Maude Lake. Another 2km and we arrive at Turbine Canyon. Distance 14.2km. Elevation gain 730m, loss 650m.
Day 4: Turbine Canyon - Forks Campground
Turbine Canyon Camp (2200m) sits on a bench near tree line above the confluence of Maude Brook and the Upper Kananaskis River, it is named after the impressive and narrow canyon just downstream from the campsite. The views are tremendous and it's also a great place to do a side trip. After a leisurely morning spent exploring this fascinating area we hike across the meadows to Lawson Lake and then it's all downhill as we descend to the Upper Kananaskis River valley bottom and Forks campground. Distance 7.8km. Elevation loss 400m.
Day 5: Forks Campground to Kananaskis Lakes
After breakfast we pack up and start our return to civilization. From Forks Campground we follow the Upper Kananaskis River valley to the Upper Kananaskis Lake by early afternoon. Then we retrace our way back to Canmore for hot showers and a customary final dinner celebration. Distance 7km. Elevation loss 100m.
Meeting Place and Time
We will meet you at our Yamnuska Mountain Adventures office at 8:00 am the morning of Day 1.
Our office is located at 200, 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore. See this map for location.
For your greater convenience we offer a pre-meeting shuttle service within Canmore. Please let us know in advance where you will be staying if needing this service. Pickup will occur between 7:40 and 7:50am.
Please ensure that you have your hiking equipment with you.
Accommodation and Meals
On the trail you will be staying in modern, lightweight 2 and 3-person weather-proof tents.
Accommodation in Canmore is not included. For your convenience we can arrange hotel accommodations in Canmore for $160 per night. Double or single occupancy, the cost is the same. This accommodation can be booked with the trip online or by calling us. Subject to availability. Hostel accommodation is also available for $30 per night.
You can also make your own arrangements. Check our links page for a range of Canmore accommodations.
Excess luggage can be left at your hotel or our office.
We supply all meals and trail snacks from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 5. Groups generally go out for dinner in Canmore on the final evening (own cost).
Trail cuisine is constructed from lightweight ingredients including our Yamnuska custom-made dehydrated dinners. Please specify any special dietary requirements you have on booking so we can incorporate them into our menus. A dietary surcharge will apply.
Guides and Group Size
Yamnuska Mountain Adventure guides are certified through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. Our professional guides have extensive experience in the Canadian Rockies. Guides also have advanced wilderness first aid training and heritage interpretation accreditation. Guides carry emergency equipment including a first aid kit, bear spray and radio.
There will be a maximum of eight guests and a minimum of four.
Getting to Canmore and Transportation
Canmore is situated 100km (65miles) west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is well served by scheduled bus lines both from Calgary (airport and downtown), Banff (20km west) and points further west. Calgary International Airport is well connected to major cities throughout North America and Europe. Once in Canmore we will supply all transport needed for the trip.
Frequent shuttles connect Calgary International Airport and Canmore. Greyhound Bus Lines (1 800 661 8747) serves Canmore from points east and west along the Trans-Canada Highway. Call 403 609 8790, 403 609 0300, 403 609 1490 or 403 609 8505 for taxis in Canmore. We would be happy to organize an airport shuttle for you for $55 each way.
Clothing and Equipment
We supply group camping and cooking equipment plus a full emergency and first-aid kit. You will need to bring personal equipment (backpack, sleeping bag etc) and clothing. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures does have rental and retail equipment such as sleeping bags, mats, and backpacks. Rental Gear List. Contact us in advance to reserve.
Contact us if you have any questions or concerns or check out our latest video on how to pack your backpack
Both Three Isle and Maude Lakes contain cutthroat trout with Maude fishing particularly well. Participants are welcome to bring lightweight fishing gear. Alberta Provincial fishing license is required (purchase in Canmore). Fishing regulations apply.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. A deposit of %35 is required at time of booking. Final payment is due eight weeks before the start of the trip.
For detailed Booking Instructions and Conditions, click here.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travelers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
In Kananaskis Country there may be a charge for rescue if you need to be evacuated by professional services. We strongly recommend a travel and medical insurance that will cover you in the unlikely event of an emergency.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries and other unplanned events. For these eventualities the Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian and International Travelers. We highly recommend purchasing this insurance. For more information and to purchase a plan, visit the Simpson Group’s website.